East Timor: PM wants to unite security forces

Jose Ramos-Horta made the appeal at police headquarters, where soldiers in May killed 10 unarmed officers in an attack that forced the government to appeal for international peacekeepers.

East Timor exploded into violence in May after then-Prime Minister Maria Alkatiri dismissed just under half of the country's military, who had complained of discrimination.

The move triggered fighting between those soldiers and loyalist police and army units along regional lines, with the bloodiest incident at police headquarters. The fighting gave way to gang violence, and at least 30 people were killed.

Alkatiri resigned for failing to stop the bloodshed, the country's worst crisis since it broke from Indonesian rule in 1999. Ramos-Horta replaced Alkatiri on Monday.

All police and military units have been confined to their bases since the violence, with security duties taken over by a 2,700-strong foreign peacekeeping mission headed by Australia, the AP reports.

About 200 officers from the country's east refused to attend Thursday's ceremony. Since May, they have been sheltering at an army academy with other eastern commanders, fearing attacks if they leave.

Ramos-Horta, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent campaign against Indonesian rule, visited the officers later Thursday to urge them to talk with their feuding colleagues.

But one officer, the police's deputy general commander Lino Saldanha, demanded those behind the violence be charged with murder and illegal weapons possession.