Army deserters leader “escapes”

E Timor rebel leader escapes jail

By Anne Barker

A man-hunt is under way in East Timor’s capital Dili for 56 men who have escaped from the local prison.

One of them is rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who is blamed for some of the violence in East Timor of recent months.

Reinado was in Dili’s Becora jail on charges of attempted murder and several firearms offences.

He was arrested with 20 other men last month over their role in the violence that erupted in and around Dili in April and May.

The United Nations says Reinado was one of 55 prisoners who broke out of the prison this afternoon.

None of the escapees has any firearms.

The UN says international police and troops are already hunting them down.

In late May, Reinado led a group of fellow military police into the mountains behind Dili, refusing to give up their weapons until the then prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, resigned from office.

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