Monthly Archives: January 2007

PEACEKEEPERS HERE TO RELAX SAYS PARLIAMENT SPEAKER

Dili, 24 Jan. (AKI) – The president of the East Timor National
Parliament Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres said that he is starting to
question the presence of the international forces and the UN Police
(UNPOL) officers in East Timor, as they seem more concerned about
holidaying than responding to the crisis situation. In an interview
with Adnkronos International (AKI), he stated that maybe the local
police should take over.

“People told us [the Parliament] that security in Dili is at a
minimum because the international forces and UNPOL spend their time
at the beach, rather than performing their duties,” Guterres told
Adnkronos International on Wednesday. “If the situation does not
change, maybe it is better for them [the international forces] to
hand the security responsibilities to the national police,’ he added.

Guterres said that the international forces should take a strong
stand against the martial arts gangs, which are seen at the core of
the latest violence.

“After the political and military crisis of last year, it is now the
members of the martial art groups that make our people suffer,” he said.

An outbreak of violence in Dili in May 2006 saw 37 killed when
clashes between security force factions degenerated into street
violence and forced former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri to resign. He
was replaced in July by Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Moreover, the unrest prompted the former Portuguese colony to seek
the deployment of foreign peacekeepers and UN police.

However, sporadic violence has continued in a changed scenario that
has seen, more and more often, street gangs and rival martial art
schools pitted against each other. More people have been killed in
Dili, the country’s capital, and surrounding districts, in the last
few months, including four more deaths since Sunday.

(Fsc/Ner/Aki)

East Timor rebels obtain rocket launcher

(ETAN, Sat Jan 13 15:10:13 2007)
Sydney Morning Herald

East Timor rebels obtain rocket launcher

Tom Hyland

January 14, 2007

EAST Timor’s fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, wanted for
attempted murder and armed rebellion, has been photographed with a
rocket launcher of the same type as those stolen from the Australian Army.

The picture was taken late last year, about the time Reinado attended
a seminar in the presence of Australian troops, who have close and
cordial relations with him, despite his fugitive status.

The launcher on Reinado’s shoulder is a light anti-armour weapon
(LAW), of the same type issued to Australian troops in East Timor.

The weapons have been at the centre of a security scare in Australia,
where stolen rockets are alleged to have fallen into the hands of terrorists.

The news that Reinado, who escaped from a Dili jail in August, has a
missile capable of disabling a tank or bringing down a helicopter has
raised alarm.

A security expert said it was possible the missile had been obtained
from criminal sources in Australia.

If Reinado had more than one of the rockets, there would be serious
issues for Australian forces if they tried to move against him, the
expert said.

A spokesman for Defence Minister Brendan Nelson denied Australian
troops in contact with Reinado had let him pose with an Australian LAW.

Nor had the Australian Defence Force supplied such weapons to the
East Timorese Defence Force, from which Reinado deserted in May as
East Timor’s security forces disintegrated and the country descended
into political chaos.

The spokesman said all LAWs issued to Australian troops in Timor were
accounted for.

This month a Sydney man was charged with possessing stolen rockets.
Police said the weapons were in the hands of a terrorist group that
planned to use them to attack targets in Sydney, including the Lucas
Heights nuclear reactor.

The Reinado photo was taken in late November, when the rebel leader
spoke at a seminar in the town of Suai, also attended by government
and church leaders and aimed at promoting reconciliation.

In interviews at the time, Reinado boasted he had no intention of
surrendering himself or his weapons.

Australian officers also defended their decision not to arrest him,
saying they were acting on the advice of the Dili Government, which
hopes to entice the former major to surrender and avoid more bloodshed.

Speculation abounds as to where Reinado obtained the weapon.

It was unclear from the photo whether the launcher was armed. LAWs
are a one-shot weapon, and the one in Reinado’s hands could have been
fired and now useless.

But if the weapon was armed, “it’s pretty serious”, the expert said.

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John M. Miller         Internet: fbp@igc.org
National Coordinator
East Timor & Indonesia Action Network (ETAN)
PO Box 21873, Brooklyn, NY 11202-1873 USA
Phone: (718)596-7668      Fax: (718)222-4097
Mobile phone: (917)690-4391  Skype: john.m.miller
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