unday, May 27, 2007. 6:05pm (AEST)
An East Timorese police officer has reportedly been shot and wounded in an ambush south-east of the capital, Dili.
The officer was attacked in Alas, an area where police believe fugitive rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado and his men are hiding.
He was airlifted to a hospital in the capital, where a nurse says he is in a stable condition.
The nurse says several men with guns attacked the officer and his colleague on Saturday.
“Several men with rifles and hand guns fired at them. He has three bullets in him,” she said.
Reinado has been on the run since he fled jail in a mass break-out in Dili in September.
Australian-led troops hunting him down attacked his mountain hide-out in March, killing five of his armed supporters in the failed offensive.
The fugitive has previously been blamed in part for last year’s unrest after he and others led 600 soldiers to desert the Army over claims of discrimination.
The soldiers were sacked, sparking fire fights between factions of the military and police that degenerated into gang violence.
At least 37 people were killed, another 150,000 displaced and Australian-led foreign peacekeepers were dispatched to restore security.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta, elected President earlier this month, has pledged to restore security and unite the troubled nation.