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U.N. pledges security in Timor-Leste

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The U.N. envoy to Timor-Leste said international forces working with national police officers will improve security following increased gang violence.

"I am convinced that the people of Timor-Leste deserve better and the United Nations in conjunction with national policing authorities and the International Security Forces are working to provide that," Atul Khare, head of the U.N. integrated mission in Timor-Leste said Tuesday.

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Over the weekend, a total of 32 people were arrested in the country formerly known as East Timor on charges including assault, group fighting, arson, public disturbance and property damage. Separately five people escaped from Becora Prison in the capital Dili Saturday.

On Tuesday, U.N. officers responded to fighting and arson in the Kampung Alor area of Dili, however one person was killed before they arrived, UNMIT said, adding the fire brigade was sent but it was unable to contain a blaze that burned six houses.

Khare, along with the Minister of the Interior Alcino Barris, visited the area and spoke with residents, expressing condolences to the family of the victim and his sympathy to those affected by the violence.

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Last week, Khare briefed the Security Council on Timor-Leste, and backed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's call for more international police during this year's elections, as well as for an extension of UNMIT's mandate, set to expire Feb. 25.

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