The Salon II

Friday, March 17, 2006

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | E Timor sacks one third of army

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | E Timor sacks one third of army: "East Timor has sacked more than a third of its army after soldiers went absent without leave to protest against poor conditions and rules of promotion.

The soldiers said they wanted an end to 'nepotism and injustice' in the force.

They refused to end the month-long stand-off despite an offer by President Xanana Gusmao of a government inquiry.

The dismissal of nearly 600 soldiers is a serious blow to the 1,400-strong force, set up after East Timor gained independence from Indonesia in 1999.

Most of the servicemen involved in the protest were said to be former insurgents whose 25-year fight for independence from Indonesia finally came to an end with the 1999 UN-organised referendum.

'Breeding resentment'

The soldiers have had trouble adapting to peace-time conditions and many feel they have not been given the recognition they deserve for their past sacrifices."

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