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Looting as Timor crisis intensifies

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Looting as Timor crisis intensifies


East Timor remains gripped by conflict and political crisis. Crowds broke into a UN warehouse and made off with sacks of rice. Australian troops eventually drove them back.

The former Portuguese colony has been in crisis since a rebellion by former soldiers broke out last month. It began as a protest against the sacking of security forces by the government,but violence and lawlessness has spread across the tiny state. Several countries, led by Australia, have sent troops to try to restore order. It is the worst violence the tiny state has seen since it won independence from Indonesia in 1999. The government has held an emergency meeting in the capital Dili amid speculation that President Xanana Gusmao could order changes at the top. It is thought he has been pushing for the army and police to be returned to barracks. Foreign troops would then take control until a full investigation into the rebellion has been completed. It is reported to have erupted over allegations of discrimination against soldiers from the east of the country.
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