- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Don’t quite know what to make of the mysterious gang of ninjas that East Timor’s government claims is terrorizing the population:
The latest whispers of ninjas to transfix the nation emerged after the murders of a 15-year-old girl in the western district of Bobonaro on December 22 and a baby boy in Covalima, also in the west, on January 19.
Police chief Longuinhos Monteiro donned full military gear to lead the operation, telling reporters that "any ninjas who want to take us on, your final stop will be Santa Cruz cemetery".
As Ketta Haluha at Global voices points out, "these are not the ninja of Japanese lore." The term was used to describe the Indonesian death squads blamed for a series of disappearances and kidnappings during East Timor’s war for independence.
Even that explanation might be bogus as some observers believe that the two murders are just ordinary crimes that the government is blaming on ninjas to discredit the political opposition. Indeed, 22 members of of one dissident group were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of "ninja activities."