Monthly Archives: February 2007

Rebel soldiers raid police station in East Timor, officials say

02/26/2007 05:13:18 AM EST
AP WorldStream English

DILI, East Timor_Rebel East Timorese soldiers raided a police post and seized a large haul of automatic weapons, the United Nations and local officials said Monday, raising fresh security concerns in the tiny nation ahead of elections in April.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties in the raid on Sunday led by rebel commander Maj. Alfredo Reinado in Maliana district, which is close to the border with Indonesia, said U.N. spokeswoman Alison Cooper.

Reinado and an unknown number of other men stole 23 automatic weapons, said Antonio da Crus of the country’s border police, which joined foreign troops in searching for the attackers.

Reinado deserted East Timor’s army last May with hundreds of other troops, triggering violence between rival security force factions that saw international troops arrive in East Timor and led to the downfall of then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.

He escaped from jail last year after being arrested by Australian soldiers.

Since then, authorities have tried to persuade him to give himself up.

Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, who on Sunday announced he would run for president in April, said the raid “was a serious crime and there could now be no more dialogue” with Reinado.

Some fear the April elections could exacerbate tensions in the country, which remains wracked by political divisions and gang violence.

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FRETILIN proceeds with Gleno rally despite security concerns

From correspondents in Timor Leste

DILI, 19 February 2007

Amidst security concerns, FRETILIN staged a
pre-election rally on 17 February 2007 in the
football stadium in the town of Gleno in the
Ermera district west of Dili. The rally was
attended by around 3000 FRETILIN supporters, with
security provided by members of the elite
Portuguese Republican National Guard and
Australian forces. The Gleno rally follows
similar pre-election rallies held recently in
Baucau and Same and is another example of
FRETILIN’s continuing strong support throughout Timor-Leste.

FRETILIN supporters stoned and abused

Credible sources from FRETILIN have informed
TimorTruth that some members of the
“petitioners”, the term loosely used to describe
army soldiers who deserted their

barracks in early 2006, and their supporters,
physically attacked and verbally abused FRETILIN
supporters throughout the course of the day. Some
of the petitioners involved in these incidents
were believed to have been armed with steyr
rifles and grenades, although none of these weapons were used.

The attacks by some of the petitioners and their
supporters included a stoning attack at Atabae on
a convoy of 37 vehicles transporting FRETILIN
supporters from the district of Bobonaro to
Gleno. The resulting injuries to four people and
the safety concerns forced the convoy of
supporters to return home without having attended
the Gleno rally. Supporters were also attacked
as they made their way from Liquiçá to the rally
and another group was attacked at Fatubesi as
they made their way home. Two people were injured in these attacks.

At the rally itself, a small group of people
continuously provoked FRETILIN members and its
supporters in an attempt to disrupt
proceedings. As with previous confrontations
between FRETILIN and anti-FRETILIN forces, it was
left to FRETILIN to refrain from retaliating and
escalating the situation, despite the extreme provocation.

Security situation at Gleno

Security at the Gleno rally was always going to
be a concern for FRETILN members and its
leaders. Ermera district, which does have a
strong FRETILIN presence, has over the last year
witnessed various anti-FRETILIN and
anti-government activities. In early May 2006, a
police officer was killed in Gleno when
supporters of the army petitioners clashed with
members of the Rapid Intervention Unit which were
protecting the Secretary of State for Region III
on an official visit to Gleno. Last week, local
FRETILIN member and caretaker of the party
headquarters in the district, Valente Soares was
killed. Soares, an orphan, was only 24 years
old. A suspect has been identified in relation to
Soares’ death but has yet to be detained.

Ermera was also, until recently, the cantonment
area of rebel leader and key player in the May
2006 crisis, Major Alfredo Reinado and his group
of heavily armed men. Reinado and his group were
meant to be under strict surveillance by the
Australian forces during their cantonment in
Aifu, Ermera. However, TimorTruth understands
that Reinado and his group disappeared from the
cantonment area on 2 February 2007 and the
whereabouts of the group have since been unknown to the general public.

Independent observers continue to ask why the
Australian media still fails to point out that
opponents of FRETILIN who have resorted to
violence, including Major Reinado, continue to
escape capture, while FRETILIN leaders accused of
any wrongdoing have agreed to subject themselves to the judicial system.

East Timor opposes rebel’s deal on charges

Lindsay Murdoch, Darwin

February 5, 2007

East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has agreed to surrender
and face charges, including attempted murder, but a deal he secretly
negotiated from his mountain hide-out faces almost certain collapse.

The ruling Fretilin party has declared its opposition to the deal for
Major Reinado, the country’s most wanted man, to face charges in a
court in Gleno, a small town in the coffee-growing western mountains
where he has wide support.

Fretilin leader Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres, president of the
country’s parliament, said the deal negotiated by Dili’s Office of
Prosecutor-General is unconstitutional and reveals discrimination in
the judicial system.

“All citizens must be treated equally,” Mr Guterres told Timorese journalists.

Major Reinado’s Dili-based lawyer, Paulo Dos Remedios, told The Age
yesterday that Prosecutor-General Longuinhos Monteiro had reached a
verbal surrender agreement with Major Reinado, who is accused of
ordering the first shooting in bloody violence that erupted in Dili
in April last year.

Mr Remedios said he believed Australian military officers played a
key role in negotiating the deal with Major Reinado, who last week
threatened to kill Australian soldiers if they tried to capture him
and his heavily armed squad of soldiers. Australian soldiers have set
up roadblocks around his base camp four hours’ drive from Dili.

Mr Remedios admitted that any deal to hold a court sitting in Gleno
would require approval of the Fretilin-dominated parliament because
the town did not have a legislated court of record.

Mr Remedios said Major Reinado’s key demand was that he be tried as a
military officer and not as a civilian.