GANGS GO TO WAR WITH GUNS, MACHETES, SPEARS, SLIGHSHOTS AND BOWS AND ARROWS
AUSTRALIAN TROOPS FRUSTRATED BY HIT AND RUN TACTICS
50,000 EAST TIMORESE FLEE THE VIOLENCE
'REBEL' LEADER TELLS HIS MEN TO HOLD 'THE LINE' OUTSIDE DILI
Australian troops continue to try and restore order in Dili, as outbreaks of ethnic youth gang violence erupts across the city.
Australian troops have been shot at by gang members armed with assault rifles. The gangs are using hit-and-run tactics amongst the Australian foot patrols and are using mobile phones to tip each other off about where the Australian soldiers are and the directions they're heading in next.
There is no front line, and for the moment, the 'rebel' military force led by Major Alfredo Reinado has all but slipped from view.
Major Reinado had extensive, and very recent, military training in Australia.
He claims he has now ordered his 600-plus strong force of disgruntled soldiers and defected police to hold their position in the hills 25km to the south of Dili and not push forward.
"If I ordered them to push forward I could have been in Dili two days ago if I wanted to, but I'm not doing that, I'm not a criminal. So far no civilians there have been hit by any single bullets of my men.But there are already rumours rising that Reinado is doing the exact opposite, and that his troops are raiding villages on the outskirts of Dili, while Australian forces do nothing to to disrm the 'rebel' soldiers.
The road link between Dili and the airport, through which Australian forces are flooding into East Timor, has been locked down by literally hundreds of Australian soldiers, ensuring this key access point is kept open.
A UN official told the ABC the current fighting in and around Dili was "a communal dispute that's escalated....It's basically payback time between the different groups."
The fighting is now being described by some as a clash between East and West Timor - "It's east against west, soldiers against soldiers, police against soldiers, everyone against everyone..."
Australian soldiers, and undercover special forces, have been stripping people of guns, but gang members are stashing home made slingshots and bows and arrows as soon as foreigners come into view, and then retrieving them once the soldiers leave an area. And so the fighting between gangs continues.
Residents of some neighbourhoods have erected makeshift roadblocks in an attempt to protect their homes but houses and numerous cars are ablaze.
"Where am I supposed to go home tonight?" shouted a woman whose house was burnt down.
"Everything I have is up in smoke."
The UN, meanwhile, is pulling out the majority of its 300-400 staff.The East Timorese Prime Minister has claimed the violence is part of an attempted coup.
Gunmen are said to have attempted to enter the hospital to finish off the wounded cops.
The police station where at least nine unarmed cops were massacred on Friday has also been secured by Australian forces, as well as government buildings, the UN compound and the Australian embassy.
Through Saturday morning and early afternoon, men armed with guns, bows and arrows, rocks and machetes went rampaging through Dili, burning and looting houses the moment Australian forces left one street to secure another.
The attacks saw at least one young girl shot, another man was hit in the chest by an arrow and people were taken to the hospital with machete wounds.
The women and children of Dili are reported to be particularly vulnerable and have been the targets of focused attacks, resulting in hundreds of women and children fleeing into the mountains outside Dili, and hiding out in churches and schools.220 Malaysian Paratroopers And Commandos Now In East Timor
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