Concern raised by threatened terrorist attack on Timor Lesté bishop


Police in Timor Lesté have issued warnings about potential attacks by Islamic extremists on churches and even on Dili’s bishop Virgilio do Carma da Silva.

Last week there was a heavy police presence around churches, at the bishop’s palace and Sunday Masses.

Both uniformed and plain-clothed officers armed with machine guns were in evidence

“I got an order from my commander in relation to a terrorist threat, so I went to Dili’s Cathedral and some other churches in Dili to observe the situation surrounding Bishop Dili’s residence,” Dili’s deputy police commander Euclides Belo said.

“I have told the security members to inform the National Police immediately if they see strange people near the bishop’s residence,” he said.

The concern about a terrorist attack emerged ahead of the dismissal by the country’s top court of a petition by Fretilin, the political party which lost power in the May 12 general election, to have the votes in four districts recounted.

This has paved the way for the court to officially declare the result that saw the Alliance of Change and Progress (AMP), led by the revolutionary hero, Xanana Gusmão, win a majority with 34 seats in the 65 seat legislature allowing it to govern in its own right.

The election result remains unofficial until it is published in the country’s national gazette, the Jornal da República and, once it is, parliament has 15 days to have its first sitting.

National TV network TVTL has announced that the sitting will take place on 12 June.

Gusmão is a former president and prime minister of Timor Lesté .

AMP, a coalition made up of three parties, has yet to reveal who will lead the country once the court signs off on the result, but sources close to three party group have indicated that Gusmao will serve a third term as prime minister.


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