UN police start transfer of authority to East Timor counterparts
Dili (ANTARA News) - The UN Police in East Timor began Monday transferring authority to East Timor's national police with the handover of three posts in the capital, the United Nations mission here said.
International peacekeepers and UN security forces were deployed to the tiny half-island nation after unrest rocked Dili's streets in April and May 2006, leaving at least 37 dead and forcing more than 150,000 to flee their homes.
"The transfer of authority is intended to provide greater operational space and an opportunity for the PNTL (East Timorese police) to operate more independently, under the supervision and continued mentoring of international police," the UN mission was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement.
The mission is mandated to support the training, development and strengthening of the impoverished but oil-rich nation's police.
The mission did not give a timetable for other posts to be handed over but said the three relinquished posts would be monitored and the experience would form the basis for greater responsibility being given back to local police.
Think-tank the International Crisis Group warned last month that East Timor risked erupting in violence again if its security forces failed to be quickly reformed, with police suffering from low status and political interference. (*) END