Last week a young boy became a victim of the PNTL (National Police Timor-Leste). A PNTL officer shot the youth in the upper left chest during a party in Dili, Timor-Leste.
The youth was immediately hospitalised in Dili National Hospital and will be transfered to Indonesia for an urgent operation. The family of the youth are demanding an in depth investigation and want to see the case taken to court as soon as possible.
The PNTL, the leading law and order institution in Timor-Leste has broken the law on many occasion in the past, often with the misuse of their weapons. Investigations almost never result in police officers being penalised. The issue of the management of PNTL weapons has be raised by many people, including MPs, over and over again, but little appears to happen.
This PNTL action has angered FRETILIN Member of Parliament David Dias Ximenes. Ximenes has criticised the PNTL for being irresponsible with its weapons and has called for all rifles to be removed from PNTL, leaving them with side arms only, in addition to tear gas equipment. He further complained that PNTL is increasingly seeming like a army as opposed to a law and order institution.Despite 10 years of UNPOL assistance and the Political Security Crisis of 2006 PNTL continues to seek military style rather than a community police style. The wander around Dili and districts carrying all manner of semi-automatic assault paramilitary rifles including HK33s, Steyrs, and FNCs.
Recently according to Tempo Semanal source withing the Council of Ministers informed this Newspaper that the PNTL has recently sought to procure more weapons but the Government refused the request.
In 2008 a young boy was killed by his brother in an accident with their fathers PNTL issue weapon in the Audian area of Dili. Since then Fransisco Guterres the Secretary of State for Security has ordered that all police never take their weapons home, however PNTL does not obey orders and many continue to bring their weapons to their homes, to parties and to bars in Dili.