E. Timor leaders want to set up communist military junta: rebel
Christine T. Tjandraningsih
JAKARTA, May 25 (Kyodo News)– Renegade Army Maj. Alfredo Reinado, currently being hunted by Australia-led international troops, has accused East Timor’s leaders of trying to misuse the military to set up a military junta and impose the communism ideology in the tiny country.
Reinado, a leader of 600 soldiers who broke away from the main East Timorese army in March 2006, claiming discrimination, made the accusations during an interview program of the Jakarta-based private television network Metro TV late Thursday.
”I have been seen as a stumbling block for them to change the system in the government to be a military junta and to impose the ideology of communism. I have been seen as their nightmare,” he told the television.
According to him, newly-elected President Jose Ramos-Horta, his predecessor Xanana Gusmao and former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri have set up a conspiracy to reach the goal.
”They are communists. They are criminals,” he said.
Ramos-Horta, who received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1996, sharing it with fellow countryman Bishop Belo, founded the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor or Fretilin in 1974 as a pro-independence group but left it in 1988 to become an independent politician.
But the relationship between Ramos-Horta and Fretilin has not been good in recent times, particularly since he replaced Alkatiri, Fretilin secretary general, as prime minister in June last year.
Alkatiri was forced to resign following violence that erupted when his administration sacked 600 rebellious soldiers and the ensuing chaos left at least 37 people dead.
Order was restored only after international troops and police were redeployed to the half-island country that shares a land border with Indonesia’s West Timor.
Reinado said, however, the relationship between Ramos-Horta and Alkatiri is not like what the public has seen on the surface.
”Even after Alkatiri resigned, almost every night, after midnight, Ramos-Horta had meetings with Alkatiri,” Reinado said, adding he had evidence to support his accusations.
He said he had delivered several letters of resignation from the army either to the president or the parliament, but his resignation was rejected.
”I wanted to quit because I had known what would happen in East Timor that the military would be used as a political vehicle of Fretilin. I know that because I had attended (their) meetings several times,” Reinado said. Reinado escaped from a Dili prison last September after having been jailed the previous month on charges of possessing weapons.
He was accused of having a role in sparking the violence among rival security forces and ethnic-based street gangs in and around Dili in April and May last year.
In February this year, then President Gusmao authorized the international forces to hunt down Reinado and his group of rebels.
In the television interview, where the location and date were not mentioned, Reinado said he is willing to surrender.
”It’s not a problem, but it must be done under the existing law,” he said, calling for the permanent halt of the military operation against him and his supporters and the holding of a dialogue.
”And then, I’m ready to face justice,” he added.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1974 and annexed it the following year after it had been under Portuguese colonial rule for about 400 years. It officially gained independence in 2002 after two-and-a-half years under U.N. administration following a vote for independence in 1999.
Joyo Indonesia News Service