The PNTL General Loves His Long Arms. (pictured in Indonesia, with alot of people, who can source alot of guns).
The United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste likes to tell everyone how great their "police project" is in Timor - and the handover is underway.
In private the UN, but not UNPOL, admit that it is a total mess.
The Centre for International Cooperation in New York asserts it is a dud.
Handing over what, and to whom?
Several days ago, TVTL carried footage of PNTL training in Atabae, Bobonaro. The training consisted of 150-200 PNTL (Battlhao Ordre Publiku), formerly UIR and URP officers. The training was lead by Jendral Longuinos (earlier noted on this blog here, here and here).
Not only was the training notable for it being lead by the Commander of Police personally (featuring camoflage painted face), but that it consisted of military training tactics using long arms designed to kill opponents, as opposed to arresting suspected criminals.
They like to train with rifles in central Dili as well.
Is UNPOL really in charge of anything at all when it comes to policing in Timor-Leste? Ask the Treeplanter.....
The TV footage was so alarming that many people in Dili are concerned, and the gossip mill has started. Member of Parliament Fernanda Borges even raised the matter in Parliament.
Police weapons are historically not very well controlled either. PNTL officers themselves often lose or loan them and cannot seem to get them back when they want to.
The FALINTIL-FDTL (the defence force are annoyed in the extreme).
Additionally, PNTL has announced plans to increase the force by 10% or another 300 officers.
Finally, and most alarmingly it is reported that Jendral Longuinos went on a shopping trip in java - Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bandung and Solo. There he checked out uniforms and weapons. While nothing final yet - the Jendral is looking around for more guns.... Remember the same of company named SITREX based in Solo, Java.
Is this not how 2006 started? With HK33 Rifles in 2004?
Civil society is worried, members of parliament are concerned, F-FDTL is annoyed, does the head of the UN in Dili have an opinion? Probably not, he did not even raise a peep when Maternus Bere was released, leaving it to Ban Ki-Moon to make a statement. Then again he was here when PNTL bought HK33s, Steyrs, in the first place.