Fundasaun Mahein (FM), 22 December 2014
Recollecting Weapons and Bullets from Perpetrators of the 2006 Crisis
In a 2011 report concerning the investigation of weapons within the F-FDTL and PNTL, Fundasaun Mahein presented recommendations with regards to missing weapons. These recommendations were clearly presented to the Ministry of Defense and Security, and the these recommendations requested a comprehensive strategy for the recollection of weapons still in the possession of former F-FDTL and PNTL personnel. These weapons may also been in the hands of active members of the PNTL and even some civilians. Given the unknown status of many weapons used in the 2006 Crisis, it seemed that security authorities should conduct a comprehensive investigation.
Fundasaun Mahein’s monitoring from 2012 to the present noted that security authorities have made efforts to recollect illegal weapons from both communities and security personnel. To complement this initiative, the government has issued a resolution that establishes an official effort to recollect illicit weapons, bullets, explosives and uniforms. However, many citizens remain concerned with the spread of illegal weapons within communities.
On 22 August 2014, the Council of Ministry issued Resolution No.24/2014. This resolution established a grace period from 1st September 2014 to 31st October 2014, in which citizens and security personnel could hand over weapons, bullets, explosives, and uniforms still in their possession. This resolution asked these entities to continue collaborating in the name of political and social stability.
However, the time period mentioned in the resolution has officially ended. FM’s monitoring noted that security personnel, communities, and authorities identified by the resolution did not make sufficient efforts to complete this initiative, and these groups did not show cooperation.
FM’s monitoring has brought to light some troubling and complicated aspects of this initiative. Indeed, some members of the PNTL are keeping bullets and the military uniforms of the F-FDTL in their houses, despite the fact that the PNTL is institution responsible for conducting this operation. These individuals held onto the contraband items, despite the promise by the PNTL to not issue punishment to those who voluntarily handed over weapons, bullets, explosives, and uniforms voluntarily before October 31st, 2104.
A similar case took place on 6 December 2014, when security authorities recollected 500 pistol bullets, 986 rounds of AK-33 ammunition, Stayer weapons, and F-FDTL uniforms at the home of a police sergeant (V. de A. M) in Lahane Osidental, Dili. This police sergeant is an active member of the PNTL and was recently assigned to duty at the Uniform Logistics Department of the PNTL General Quarter.
Despite the evidence collected on-site, this police sergeant continues to testify that the materials mentioned above did not belong to him. However, the fact of the matter is that the man continued hiding those materials in his home, despite the government resolution mandating the handing over of these materials.
Bullets, military uniforms, and other missing security materials relating to 2006 crisis continue to surface. Meanwhile, Abilio Mesquita, one of the main instigators of the crisis, has received criticism by an independent investigative report conducted by the UN in 2006. Mesquita also faces allegations in the coming years.
Weapons, bullets, explosives, and the military uniforms remain missing. This can be attributed to insufficient socialization of the resolution, as well as poor implementation by investigative officials and security actors on the ground.
These shortcomings have not deterred people from hiding their weapons. This FM report discusses the problematic reality: Citizens and even PNTL personnel continue to hide their weapons, even though these items are illegal and demanded for recollection by the state.
1. The Ministry of Defense and Security, the F-FDTL, and the PNTL should investigate former petitioners, members of FALINTIL, and civilians known to have been in possession of weapons during the 2006 crisis. These investigations should also examine active members of the PNTL and F-FDTL, institutions that had close access to weapons and bullets during the crisis. Finally, these searches should examine Abilio Mesquita as well as former members of FALINTIL, the PNTL, and the F-FDTL.
2. The Ministry of Defense and Security and the F-FDTL should investigate the police sergeant, ‘V. de A.M.,’ who was harboring weapons and uniforms at his residence.
3. The PNTL General Command should investigate and prosecute the aforementioned police sergeant, ‘V. de A. M’, according to the law and institutional rules.
To learn more about this issue please see the following:
FM Executive Director
Telephone (+670) 7737-4222 or (+670) 77561184