Viewing cable 06DILI325
Title: UPDATE FROM AFP ON INTERNATIONAL POLICING IN DILI

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06DILI3252006-06-22 07:07:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Dili
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OO RUEHCHI RUEHNH RUEHPB
DE RUEHDT #0325/01 1730707
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O P 220707Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2718
INFO RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 2043
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0551
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHXX/GENEVA IO MISSIONS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0624
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 0542
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0386
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0405
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0481
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0275
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DILI 000325 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EAP/MTS 
NSC FOR HOLLY MORROW 
USUN FOR GORDON OLSON AND RICHARD MCCURRY 
USPACOM FOR JOC AND POLAD 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  6/20/2016 
TAGS: MOPS ASEC PHUM AU PO NZ TT
SUBJECT: UPDATE FROM AFP ON INTERNATIONAL POLICING IN DILI 
 
REF: (A) DILI 301; (B) DILI 316 
 
DILI 00000325  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Elizabeth S. Wharton, Political Officer, Embassy 
Dili, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (b) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary: Emboff met yesterday with Australian Federal 
Police (AFP) Commander Steve Lancaster to review the current 
status of international policing in Dili.  Lancaster reported 
that the international police have not yet reached full 
capacity, primarily due to a delay in the arrival of the 
Malaysian contingent, and are therefore continuing to take a low 
profile in joint patrols with international military forces. 
The AFP assesses the security situation in Dili as steadily 
improving and notes the arrest on Sunday of a former police 
commander implicated in a number of gang attacks as progress on 
this front.  However, Lancaster expressed concerns about a 
possible spike in violence if the President moves to dismiss the 
Prime Minister, a development expected tomorrow (see septels). 
He reported that the AFP has now established a liaison function 
to review security arrangements for Dili's multiple internally 
displaced persons (IDP) camps.  Lancaster provided an overview 
of the AFP's investigations into recent high-profile incidents 
including the May 25 police massacre.  Finally, he discussed AFP 
concerns about working with the national police (PNTL) and 
worries that the PNTL might be brought back into action too 
early.  End summary. 
 
Coordination and planning of international policing 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
¶2. (SBU) In a meeting with Emboff on June 19, AFP Commander 
Steve Lancaster provided an update of the current status of 
international policing in Dili.  He reported that current 
international police presence in Dili remains at approximately 
180 AFP and 120 Portuguese Republican National Guard (GNR).  The 
Australian police presence will increase within the week to 
approximately 200 where it will remain.  The arrival of 250 
Malaysian police is still expected, although it has been 
delayed, probably until next week.  Although New Zealand had 
expressed interest in providing some policing support, there has 
been to date no explicit political commitment and Lancaster is 
now skeptical that a New Zealand policing contribution will come 
through. 
 
¶3. (C) The AFP is continuing to implement the five-phase 
approach to establishing international policing described in Ref 
¶A.  At present, they remain in between phases II and III, with 
the military still out front.  Under this arrangement, 
international police are still operating on the city sector 
system whereby AFP officers are conducting joint patrols with 
the Australian, Malaysian, and New Zealand military forces in 
their respective zones, while the GNR continue to operate in 
their own zone with no military counterparts.  Lancaster reports 
that this sector approach will be abolished once all the 
international police are in country and they move fully to phase 
III of the policing plan in which police will supplant military 
forces in taking primary responsibility for security.  At that 
point he expects all police to operate city-wide with 
responsibilities broken down by function rather than geography. 
 
¶4. (SBU) Lancaster reported that coordination among the 
different police contingents is going well.  He expects the 
Malaysians to be smoothly integrated into the joint operation 
and continues to be highly complementary of the GNR's 
coordination with AFP despite the earlier concerns regarding 
Portugal's refusal to integrate the GNR into the Australian 
command. 
 
Dili security assessment 
------------------------ 
 
¶5. (C) Lancaster reported the AFP's assessment that the security 
situation in Dili is steadily improving.  However, he expressed 
concern that the next 7 to 14 days could produce a new spike in 
 
DILI 00000325  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
security incidents if the President goes ahead with plans to 
dismiss the Prime Minister, as is now expected to take place 
tomorrow.  See Ref B.  Meanwhile, resource constraints have 
prevented the AFP from moving forward with identification and 
apprehension of leaders of gang violence.  Investigations into 
the gangs currently remain in the hands of the ADF, who have 
produced a list of "persons of interest" for further 
investigation.  Although the ADF has been unable to pin down 
precisely the leadership of gangs involved in recent violence, 
they believe they have significantly disrupted their operations. 
 
 
¶6. (C) Lancaster reported one success in pursuing the 
instigators of violence in Dili with the arrest last night of 
Abilio Mesquita, the former deputy district police commander in 
Liquica.  Mesquita is alleged to have played a leading role in 
much of the violence that has plagued Dili in recent weeks.  The 
arrest was preceded on Saturday by a search of his house in 
Liquica during which a half dozen long-barreled firearms were 
seized and three other persons arrested.  Although Mesquita is 
currently being held only on charges of illegal firearms 
possession, Lancaster said he believes investigations into his 
recent activities will uncover further offenses and that his 
removal from the scene is a positive development for Dili's 
security. 
 
IDP camp security liaison established 
------------------------------------- 
 
¶7. (U) Lancaster reported that the AFP, in coordination with 
ADF, recently established a liaison officer for IDP camp 
security issues.  The liaison officer is attending all UNHCR 
coordination meetings and will be visiting each major IDP camp 
at least once each week to talk to camp residents and to assess 
security issues and needs. 
 
Investigations into April 28 and May 25 incidents 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
¶8. (C) Lancaster reported that the AFP is moving forward with 
investigative work but is facing some challenges in doing so. 
The three high priority investigations on which they are 
focusing most of their resources include: allegations of 
multiple extra-judicial killings during the FDTL response to 
rioting on April 28; the case of the family of six killed inside 
their house when it was burned on May 25, and the massacre of 
ten unarmed Timorese police officers under UN escort on May 25. 
 
¶9. (C) Lancaster reported that the investigation into the 
massacre of ten unarmed police by FDTL members on May 25 is 
currently stalled due to the AFP investigator's lack of the 
proper authorization to interview witnesses.  UN witnesses were 
to be interviewed only once permission was received from the UN 
in New York.  However, this permission is apparently contingent 
on the reception of a request from the GOET to allow the AFP to 
conduct the investigation.  Foreign and Defense Minister Jose 
Ramos Horta had indicated that he would relay this request 
formally to the UN, but Lancaster reports that the letter has 
not yet been sent.  Meanwhile, the interview of East Timorese 
witnesses is held up because it requires the authorization of 
the Prosecutor General's office, which Lancaster says has also 
not been forthcoming.  He expressed his concern that the GOET 
may be reluctant to smooth the way for this investigation 
despite earlier expressions by Ramos-Horta of support of the AFP 
investigation.  Moreover, he expressed his fear that there may 
be an inclination to pin responsibility on the individual 
shooters while avoiding an examination of culpability further up 
the command chain. 
 
¶10. (SBU) The investigation into the death of a family of six 
found in a house that was burned down on May 25 was briefly held 
up when the bodies disappeared from the morgue before forensics 
could be conducted.  However, this was discovered to be an 
innocent miscommunication as relatives had retrieved the bodies 
 
DILI 00000325  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
for burial and morgue officials failed to coordinate this with 
the forensics team.  Arrangements were then made to return the 
bodies to Dili for forensic investigation. The forensic team 
concluded that all deaths were caused by smoke inhalation as no 
other injuries or causes of death were identified. 
 
¶11. (SBU) The third major investigation being carried out by the 
AFP is into the allegations of up to 60 deaths during the FDTL 
response to the April 28 riots in Tasi Tolu.  Lancaster reported 
that the AFP is not encountering any bureaucratic challenges 
with proceeding with this investigation.  However, he says it 
has been difficult to track down any "credible" witnesses, so 
that to date the investigation "doesn't have much flesh on its 
bones." 
 
¶12. (C) During a previous meeting with Emboffs Lancaster had 
also reported that the AFP would be investigating the claims of 
the "Fretilin Secret Security" force in Liquica district who 
claim that they were armed by former Minister of Interior 
Rogerio Lobato on orders from Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. 
However, during today's conversation Lancaster indicated a 
reluctance on the part of the AFP to get involved in cases that 
have a heavy political component and implied that the AFP would 
probably not be pursuing this investigation.  (Note: The 
Prosecutor General's issuance today of a warrant for the arrest 
of former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato in connection with 
this case will no doubt result in re-engagement of the AFP in 
investigating this case.  Septel with further information to 
follow shortly.  End note.) 
 
Relations with the Ministry of Interior and PNTL 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
¶13. (C) Lancaster expressed his concern that new Minister of 
Interior Alcino Barris is trying to push the PNTL back into 
action too quickly.  In Lancaster's view, many issues need to be 
addressed before the PNTL can start to be reintegrated into 
policing work in Dili.  Most important, he noted, is the need to 
address the fragmentation of the police force before its members 
begin working together again.  In addition, the question of 
leadership of the PNTL remains outstanding.  The AFP believes 
that Paulo Martins, the current National Police Commissioner, 
will not be a player in the future of the PNTL but cannot name 
anyone they consider capable of filling the commissioner 
position.  In a separate conversation, international advisors to 
Minister Barris stated to Emboff that the AFP's concerns may be 
based on miscommunication with the Minister.  According to the 
advisors, the Minister will not be pushing for early 
reintegration of PNTL into Dili policing duties, but has been 
frustrated with what he regards as a lack of coordination by AFP. 
REES