Apart from confronting the outskirts of a rock fight last week, I have seen little of the riotous behaviour that has almost become the nightly norm.
The rock fights appear to be gangs targetting selective IDP camps. The chosen weapon is the rock, but there are a few slingshots and lately, the bow and arrow. So from a security point of view, as long as you are 50+ metres from the action, you are unlikely to be involved.
I believe the foreign police have adopted a slightly different strategy now. Rather than hoe in and try to stop it, they are tending to let it run its course until ammunition is exhausted before moving in. I think this is proving a more effective approach for them.
The locations for these fracas is usually IDP camps which include the one across from the Hotel Timor near the port, the one across the road from the Obrigado Barracks, the one at the airport, near the main hospital and near the catholic church in Balide. The fracas 2 nights ago was near the Presidential Palace which I presume is one not that far from the Obrigado Barracks. (If it is indeed the President’s office, then the word palace gives an entirely incorrect impression.)
The point is that one is highly unlikely to come across one of these fights and in general, it will be ringed by foreign police. However, it has slowed the desire to go out at night-time somewhat and the streets are pretty much deserted after dark. And the streets are dark !
So yes, it is probably a good idea that someone has suggested re-instating street lighting as a security measure.
Over the last week, the security forces seem to have put a lid on the nightly fights. Things were deteriorating around a month ago but have improved again over the last week.
At night, the tell-tale sounds of the Blackhawk helicopters are a sure sign of trouble somewhere. They were out for the last 2 nights so I am expecting to found out what was the story for last night.
But as for how to determine whether it is a good time to be going out at night, its pretty much lick your finger, point it upwards and test the air.