It appears that this week has seen an increase in gang related violence, particularly in the Bairo Pite area. The official figure for the number of dead is 5 since Thursday last week. I know that a large number of injuries have also been treated. When things are quiet, there is very little helicopter activity. A tell-tale sign of trouble is helicopters circling over trouble spots.
This helicopter activity has been noticeable over the last few days, but I don’t know of any particular incidents. I had heard that about 100 Timorese attempted to get into the OZ military controlled heliport area, seeking a safe place but I don’t know much more than that.
I had heard there was fighting near the tennis courts in Bebonuk yesterday, but again I don’t know any detail. A UN policeman told me there is stuff going on all of the time. He commented about the stupid expats who move around as if nothing is happening. Well, when I look at the UN Security Briefings, I learn next to nothing. How else is one to find out but rely on word of mouth.
On a related matter, while travelling out east, something came to my attention that I had not really ever considered before, but once it got onto my radar screen, I deemed it worthy to note. But outside of Dili, there is no re-broadcasting of Dili radio or television. And no ready access to Dili’s newspapers. Each of the districts appears to have a RTTL (Radio Television Timor Leste) broadcasting antennae (and a Timor Telecom microwave antennae) but the RTTL antennae and associated broadcasting equipment has not been functioning for a couple of years (I recall someone said 3 or 4 years). Many districts have some form of local community radio but I don’t know to what extent it fills up the information vacuum.
What you do see is a smattering of IndoVision satellite dishes. Even in some pretty remote places, you might see this, even if electricity is available for only 3 hours a day. So you can be right up to date with what is happening in the world but be a bit behind on what is really happening here … like a forthcoming election.