Portal:Australia/2006 East Timor crisis

This article contains an overview of Wikinews Australia coverage for a particular issue. For other issues, see in-depth coverage.

Australian peacekeeping forces withdrew from East Timor in January 2005.

The 2006 East Timor crisis began in May, 2006 as a conflict between the military and 600 ex-members of the military who had been sacked after protesting against discrimination. The conflict expanded to general violence throughout the country, centred in the capital Dili, and prompted a military intervention by Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Portugal.

In mid-June the rebels began disarming. On June 26 the Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, resigned after coming under pressure from President Xanana Gusmão.

Wikinews Coverage


May 24, 2006

On Tuesday Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer (Division of Mayo, Liberal) told parliament that the government has received fresh reports of violence in East Timor. Mr. Downer told the Australian House of Representatives that he has received fresh reports of violence erupting in parts of the East Timorese capital, Dili, as well as other parts of the nation.
After the breakdown of law and order in the world's newest nation, East Timor's Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos Horta has requested military assistance from Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia. The force would "disarm renegade troops and police rebelling against the state" and "...Australia and New Zealand will come soon" Mr Horta said to reporters.

May 25, 2006

Ahead of the deployment of 1000-1300 Australian troops in the next couple of days, fighting between renegade East Timorese military forces and government security forces has continued in East Timor's capital, Dili, from which at least 21,000 people have fled. The 600 renegade military personnel were fired from East Timor's 1400 strong army after striking over poor pay and conditions, including ethnic discrimination. Based in the Aileu mountains, the rebel force is making small attacks around the southern, eastern and western sides of Dili, but reports of gunfire in the city centre are developing.

May 26, 2006

After approximately 150 Australian troops from 4 Royal Australian Regiment (Commandos) secured Comoro airport in Dili yesterday, the total number of Australian troops in East Timor has risen to 600, with a further 1200 in transit or directly supporting Operation Astute. Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal have also begun their deployments.

May 27, 2006

Gang violence continued in East Timor today, despite patrols by foreign soldiers being stepped up. There are presently 600 troops from Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia in the East Timorese capital of Dili, with that number expected to rise to 1,300 by the end of the weekend.
East Timorese youths are forming gangs and allying with groups of feuding police and military personnel. There have been reports of youths patrolling neighborhoods carrying machetes, swords and knives near government buildings. They said they were protecting the areas against "rogue army elements".
The Australian presence in East Timor so far has been characterised by vigorous patrolling into the capital Dili, with the main goal being to lock down the city in order to separate and concentrate the various conflicting forces in East Timor. Despite the Australian military being provided strong rules of engagement by the East Timorese government, so far no soldiers have fired their weapons or been fired upon, although they might have been fired over by gangs earlier today.

May 30, 2006

President Xanana Gusmão has taken special security powers in a bid to quell the violence raging in East Timor. The period of emergency rule, which would last 30 days, was to "prevent violence and avoid further fatalities" and lead to "rapid reestablishment of public order." Gusamo, a popular former guerilla leader, will take sole control of the army and police and also the management of the 1,300 strong Australian-led peacekeeping force on the troubled island.

June 4, 2006

120 soldiers of the Portuguese Republican National Guard (GNR) landed this Sunday morning in Baucau, the second-largest city in East Timor, after their departure to East Timor had been delayed twice due to difficulties in arranging adequate air transportation. The soldiers were received by the Portuguese ambassador to East Timor, local representatives and hundreds of locals.

June 8, 2006

The international forces in East Timor have reached an agreement about the coordination of the military and police forces in the field. Representatives of the four countries reached the agreement during an urgent meeting after an incident between Australian and Portuguese soldiers yesterday.

June 16, 2006

East Timorese rebels begun disarming Friday, when the rebel leader, Lt. Cmdr. Alfredo Reinado, and his men handed over ammunition and more than a dozen weapons to Australian peacekeepers. The disarming started after a official request of President Xanana Gusmão this week.

June 26, 2006

The East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has resigned from his position. He cited the growing violence and the threat by President Xanana Gusmão to resign if he did not.

July 11, 2006

25 New Zealand police officers have left for three months in East Timor. The force will carry pepper spray and pistols.

August 30, 2006

East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and other 56 inmates escaped last night from Dili's mail jail.