Airport shut after East Timor shooting

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The Independent Online

East Timor's international airport was closed today after a man was shot dead during clashes between rival gangs.

The shooting was part of escalating violence in recent days in which four people have been killed and 47 wounded, according to Antonio Caleres, director of the Dili National Hospital.

The unrest began on Sunday following the release last week of a United Nations report into violence that wracked the tiny nation earlier this year.

A special commission largely blamed the government of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri for a wave of killings and arson in April and May that left 33 dead and forced 155,000 people into overcrowded displacement camps.

UN spokesman Adrian Edwards said UN police had mediated to halt battles between youths near one of dozens of displacement camps around the capital, Dili, and that the situation was "more or less under control."

He said he would not characterise the situation as an escalation and that the airport would hopefully reopen after a few hours.

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