Yesterday was one of those days. Got off to a flier when there was trouble at the airport at 8:50am and one person was shot and killed by ADF (OZ Defence Force). The SMS waves were thick with warnings for a while and it was bunker down until a few more details emerged. The mobile phone system was swamped and unusable for voice calls by mid-morning.
By lunchtime, the security forces claimed things were back to normal, but not before civilians had ramped up all sorts of precautionary measures. Most expats probably get to the airport quite regularly, either coming or going, or to meet and greet, or to farewell. It was my turn at lunchtime. There were a couple of FPUs (formed police units which to us novices, look like riot police) in their special riot vehicles and in the background, about 40 AFP soldiers, who were called away around 1pm. Otherwise, business as usual.
I guess a complete story will come out in due course, but in the meantime we are stuck with the official story from the ADF and the rumour mill. The reality is that there are groups that seize on these sorts of incidents and use a bit of truth flexing to fire people up in opposition to the foreign security force presence.
Personally, I don’t believe that OZ defence forces just wade into conflict situations (like an IDP camp) and do stuff without provocation. But nevertheless, the guy who fired off the fatal rounds is probably going to need counselling for a few weeks as he comes under the hammer.
This followed reports of F-FDTL soldiers firing weapons into the kampongs near Hotel Esplanada on the previous day. Courtesy of that reliable source of information (the bar) I was told they responded to having their vehicle stoned.
All this comes after a bit of trouble at rice warehouses and subsequent targeting of UN vehicles, which seems to have extended to any foreigner. A few car windscreens (ie windshields for you northerners) have copped a pounding and any foreigner without shatterproof film on their cars has probably put it on the shopping list by now.
Again courtesy of “the bar”, locals who work at the airport and tend to know a bit of what’s going on down there, have told expats that the funeral is this morning and to expect trouble after the funeral. The UN police will know this, so things may or may not happen.
A good day to start learning macrame.