Peacekeeper from Philippines injured in East Timor clash

May. 28, 2007

MANILA The Philippine Mission to the United Nations announced that a female Filipino police officer serving with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Timor Leste was reported injured in a civil disturbance in the capital Dili on 20 May 2007.

In his report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Hilario G. Davide Jr., identified the injured peacekeeper as Jimeli Valera Acuna, 32, of Taytay, Rizal, and a member of the Philippine police contingent serving with the UN Integrated Mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT).

Ambassador Davide said the Philippine Mission learned about the incident from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), which reported on 24 May 2007 that Acuna suffered bruises in the shoulder after she was hit by a rock from a crowd of displaced Timorese who attacked UN peacekeepers in Dili on Sunday, 20 May.

Ambassador Davide said the incident took place shortly after UN peacekeepers responded to reports of fighting and stone throwing between two local groups near the former Chinese Embassy in Dili before 3:00 p.m.

Acuna and another Filipino peacekeeper, Joel Doria, the acting police district commander of Dili, were among the first to respond to the scene and tried to control the crowd. However, one of the groups turned against the UN police officers and began attacking them with rocks.

Quoting the DPKO report, Ambassador Davide said four UN police officers, including Acuna were injured while four UN vehicles were damaged as a result of the incident. He said one civilian died from a head injury, another was hurt, while 50 were arrested.

This is the second violent incident that resulted in an injury to a Filipino peacekeeper serving in Timor Leste. A year ago, Filipino police officer Edgar Layon was wounded when UN peacekeepers were caught in the middle of a gun battle between East Timorese factions also in Dili.

There are 155 Filipino police peacekeepers serving in UNMIT, making it the biggest UN peacekeeping mission where the Philippines is involved. UNMITs police component is also led by a Filipino, retired General Rodolfo Tor, who sits as UN police commissioner. END

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