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Dili Leaders Talk as Gangs Continue Violence


Violence continued in the East Timor capital Dili Tuesday as the fractured government entered a second day of talks on how to end days of fighting triggered by a split in the military.

Rival gangs continued to fight and torch buildings Tuesday. While sporadic looting broke out as residents searched for food, water and fuel. More people are fleeing Dili looking for safe shelter in neighboring villages. The United Nations estimates at least 70,000 people have been displaced.

Manuel de Silva is staying at one of many makeshift refugee camps that have sprung up all over the city since the daily violence began last week.

"The leaders should make a strong decision to stop all the violence that's happening in the country," he said.

Government leaders are meeting for a second day with pressure building for Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri to step down. He is blamed for mishandling a military mutiny over alleged discrimination that lead to the current communal violence dividing the country.

Some 40 percent of the armed forces were dismissed in March - leading the disgruntled soldiers to take to the streets in violent protests.

The situation erupted last week into broader civil unrest pitting those from the west of the country against those from the east.

Many easterners believe those from the west supported Indonesia's 24-year bloody rule of East Timor. The country gained its independence four years ago.

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