Monthly Archives: February 2008

Interview Mari Alkatiri: Reinado Did Not Shoot Horta – Tempo Magazine No. 25/VIII/February 19-25,

ne day after the shooting of Ramos-Horta, a
number of publications in Dili pointed at
Alkatiri, charging his political party of being
behind Reinado’s activities. Alkatiri denied the
charges. Last Tuesday, he held a press conference to refute all charges.

In the middle of the emergency situation in Timor
Leste, Alkatiri spoke with Tempo correspondent in
Dili, Jose Sarito Amaral, in an exclusive
interview, which took place at his residence,
last Friday. Alkatiri provided additional
information to Tempo reporters Widiarsi Agustina
and Faisal Assegaf by telephone. Excerpts:

What is your view on the shootings of President
Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana?

It is all still very mysterious and I don’t want
to speculate on the incident. Clearly, the death
of Reinado poses many questions, particularly
since he died before President Horta was shot.
That is to say, Reinado actually did not kill
Horta because he died first. This is what confuses me.

So, who was actually responsible for the two attacks?

Once again it is difficult to determine who the
mastermind is. I just know that it was not
Reinado who shot President Horta. Strangely
enough, one hour after the shooting, Prime
Minister Xanana Gusmao was attacked. All this
requires an immediate and thorough investigation.
I suggest that a professional international team investigate the incidents.

Who do you think should be suspected?

I don’t want to accuse anyone, because that needs
evidence and a thorough investigation. Such as,
why were Reinado’s military attacks done
simultaneously but so unprofessionally? This is
strange. In my view, the shooting of Horta was executed by an organized group.

Do you have any idea who might have plotted this with Reinado?

I am not able to say much at this time. Clearly,
the assassination attempts are linked. I am not
an investigator, but I am attempting to seek some
information and trying to analyze who is behind
Reinado. Why did he die before Horta was shot?

According to some reports, the attack was linked
to a meeting President Horta held with a number
of politicians, a week before the shooting.

I think they are connected. Indeed, there was a
meeting of politicians at Horta’s residence a
week before the shootings. Attending the meeting
were members of the Timorese Reconstruction
National Party (CNRT) led by Xanana Gusmao, the
Social Democrat Party, the Timor Social Democrat
Party Association (ASDT) and the Fretilin Party.

What was discussed at that meeting?

President Horta welcomed the proposal of the
Fretilin Party to the UN Secretary-General.
Essentially it united all parties under the
Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP) with the
Fretilin, and forming an inclusive government, a
national unity government. Fretilin itself
refused to join in the national unity government
like this one. The initiative was taken to
resolve the problem of Alfredo Reinado, deserters
led by Salsinha Gastao and also the refugees.

Do you think any of the party elites were involved?

I will just say that the person behind Horta’s
shooting perhaps disagreed with the President’s
initiative to form a new government and hold another election.

As the opposition, your party must be seen as a
possible instigator of the attempted coup.

We want another election, not a coup,
particularly since President Horta already
approved it. But suddenly the Reinado group took
the road to rebel against the state.

We want to ask whether you are involved or not in this attempted coup.

Well, I’ve been getting a lot of hate mail
accusing me of being behind all this. They don’t
want me to be prime minister again. They say they
are willing to do anything as long as Alkatiri
does not return as prime minister. Everyone seems
to hate me. I already explained: if Horta had not
been shot, the agreement on the formation of an
inclusive government and a repeat election would
have taken place. And that was the recommendation
of my party. So why should I kill anyone or pull a coup d’etat?

According to some reports it was you and Fretilin
who were behind Reinado’s actions.

It has become the tradition in Timor Leste that
if there is a problem, everyone blames it on Mari
Alkatiri. But that’s all right. That’s why I
called for the establishment of an international
investigation. The United Nations mission and
international peacekeeping forces in Timor Leste
must also clarify their weaknesses in the
country. Why weren’t they able to detect the attack? They were quite close by.

In your view, how credible is the government of
Xanana and Horta in the eyes of the public?

The coup and the shootings indicate the public’s
faith in the Xanana Gusmao government has fallen.
If it was not able to control its security forces
and protect President Horta, I can say that this is an inadequate government.

Did Fretilin want this to happen?

Fretilin did not want this. We do not want the
crisis to be worse. Fretilin defends this nation
so it is stable. The Fretilin chief and I called
Xanana. We told him that the shooting of Horta
was an act of rebellion against the state, not against Xanana or Horta.

What do you think was the intention of the Reinado group?

Fretilin never used Reinado for its political
objectives. I never separated from him because I
was never together with him in the first place.
They united to bring down my government, but now
they are split. In your opinion, who is behind all this?

So, you don’t approve of Reinado’s movement?

It’s not a matter of supporting Reinado’s
movement or not. I just regret that it happened at all.

Is it true that a few days before the shooting
Reinado met with a number of parliamentarians?

Three members of parliament met with Reinado
three days before the shootings. They were from
PSD/ASDT and PD. If Fretilin parliamentarians had
met with Reinado that day, imagine what people
would be saying now. Their meeting was secret and
the international forces actually saw them. That
is why the Attorney General must investigate
them. I don’t want to accuse anyone of the
shooting right now. But on the other hand, there
must be an investigation to seek the truth.

What about political support towards the government?

I think that politically, AMP is beginning to be
destabilized. Perhaps it will soon fall. From the
political viewpoint, they are already weak, they
are unable to solve the Reinado problem, the
deserters under Gastao and the refugees. This is
making the supporters of AMP very unhappy. From
the security viewpoint, President Horta could not
be protected. He was shot. From the economic
point of view, everyone knows that there is a
rice crisis currently going on. Prices of
commodities have gone up and the government has
not been able to control this. This is what will
bring down the AMP government, unless there is
another election or an inclusive government is formed.

How strong are the Xanana supporters on the ground?

There are none at all because they were incapable
of providing security for President Horta. If the
people really want it, this cowboy government can
prevail. Otherwise, I don’t know any other
solution. Pending the President’s return to
health, we must continue with preparing for repeat elections.

On security, what about the UN forces and the Australian troops?

The government is in a better position to answer
that question. Personally, I question their
professionalism in Timor Leste. They were very
close to where it happened, yet they were not
able to see the Reinado group. I don’t want make
accusations, but this quite clear.

It seems there has been continuous violence in
Timor Leste since independence. Why is this?

This is because there is a group which uses
violence for their political ends. Actually, we
should really learn from this experience to
better understand what the people want.

What about efforts at reconciliation so far?

There has been no attempt at reconciliation.
Before and after last year’s election, all the
parties wanted to get rid of Fretilin. They did
not want to unite, they wanted to be separate.
And during the elections, Fretilin was accused of
many things to damage its reputation.

What if Horta dies?

I am sure he will recover. But if he does pass
away, there must be a new presidential election in six weeks’ time.

The impact of Alfredo Reinado’s death on IDPs’ repatriation

Dili – The death of Alfredo Reinado has brought an impact to the life of most Timorese people, to his families, friends and relatives, but most importantly its impact on the life of IDPs around Dili.

Monday morning, Feb 11 (06.15 am), Timor Leste was shocked by a tragic incident carried out by Alfredo Reinado and his men at the residence of President Ramos Horta in Meti-Aut that left the president injured, while Alfredo and one of his men died at the scene.

Not only the supporters of Alfredo feel sorry for him but also people in IPDs camps around Dili.

The dislocated people are concerned and aware of the future security situation after Reinado’s death. They are aware because, the incident may affect the repatriation process that has been set by government. Another reason is related to security issue, they are worried because it may cause another problem. Why? Because previously, when the ISF (International Stabilization Forces) led by Australia attacked Reinado along with his men in Same due to the warrant to capture him, at the same time, the people in IDPs camps became the target of Alfredo Reinado’s supporters in Dili. His supporters threw stones into IDPs camps, blazing up tires on the streets and many kinds of violent activities undertaken by them.

Actually, the government has planned to repatriate all dislocated people to their homes, but the incident has ruined the will of dislocated people to go home, because they feel much safer to stay under the tents then to stay together with people that might be angry or frustrated.
Now what? Alfredo Reinado was shot dead. Will more violence happen? Or more killings, shootings and gang fights? So, how is our repatriation?

This is a doubt in the hearts of most dislocated people recently, and we hope the government to take a serious care of the issue and to find an appropriate solution for the problem…!

from Ze-Xoroth’s blog at 6:05 PM

Xanana tries to starve the internally displaced out

International Herald Tribune

February 15, 2008

East Timor Trying To Close Refugee Camps

By Donald Greenlees

DILI, East Timor: When the rain-laden clouds open up, as they frequently do this time of year, the tarpaulin over Alicia Pinto’s bed leaks and the pathway outside her tent home becomes a quagmire.

Still, a crowded tent in a camp for internally displaced people on the eastern fringes of Dili is better than going back to where she came from.

The house where Pinto lived with her family in Baucau, 120 kilometers, about 75 miles, to the east of the capital, was burned down in riots in April 2006, which forced a large part of the population to flee.

“We are afraid to go back,” Pinto, 21, said Friday, as a wood fire filled the entrance to her tent with acrid smoke. “The neighbors won’t accept us.”

Pinto’s family is among an estimated 100,000 East Timorese – about a tenth of the population – to have been ejected from their homes and communities by violence in recent years.

The camps are dotted around Dili, sitting alongside the city’s best hotels where in the afternoon foreign workers and better-off East Timorese sip coffee and eat cake. The United Nations integrated mission in East Timor, brought in to help restore order in 2006, counts 58 camps in Dili, occupied by about 35,000 people.

But two years after the camps were set up, the UN mission and the East Timorese government are anxious to see them closed before they become a permanent fixture. Officials express concern over signs of growing aid dependency among some displaced people and the role the camps have played as focal points of unrest in the past.

This month, under instructions from the government of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, the monthly food ration supplied by the World Food Program to camp residents has been cut in half. In the latest food deliveries each individual has been allocated 4 kilograms, or 8.8 pounds, of rice and three-quarters of a liter, or 1.6 pints, of cooking oil. Starting next month, food deliveries by the Rome-based World Food Program will cease altogether.

The United Nations and the government hope that the cuts to food supplies will provide incentives for many displaced people either to return home or to settle elsewhere. The decision to reduce and then end food aid to camps is in part driven by a World Food Program survey last year that concluded that half the occupants of the camps did not need assistance and might have been encouraged to stay on in the camps to receive free food.

“If we do not discontinue this we basically support a policy of creating a nation of beggars and people who live on handouts,” said Finn Reske-Nielsen, who coordinates all the United Nations’ humanitarian operations in East Timor.

The United Nations and the government aim to replace general food aid with a distribution program that focuses on the most vulnerable people in and outside the camps, including the elderly, the sick and those widowed or orphaned in conflict.

But the goal of some in the United Nations and government to close the camps by the end of the year could prove difficult to achieve.

The World Food Program reported in September that almost 87 percent of people in the camps were there because their homes had been destroyed or damaged.

Most of that destruction took place in 2006, when a confrontation between the government and elements of the army spilled over into wider unrest in Dili and various parts of the countryside. During the violence tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes and 37 people were killed.

At the heart of the dispute was a complaint by soldiers from the western districts of the country that they were discriminated against in promotions and conditions. Many communities across the country divided along regional lines, neighbor suddenly pitted against neighbor.

The events of that year also gave rise to the rebellion of Alfredo Reinado, a former military police officer who led the shooting attacks this week on Gusmão, who was unharmed, and President José Ramos-Horta, who is being treated for his wounds in Australia. Reinado was killed.

In returning home, camp inhabitants face not only the problems of rebuilding but of settling a complex array of communal issues. In about 6 percent of cases, according to the World Food Program, the homes of displaced are occupied illegally by others.

The East Timorese have in the past shown a considerable ability to reconcile conflicts and rebuild communities.

They have no shortage of experience after the country was torn by civil war in 1975 following the abrupt end of colonial rule by Portugal and virtually razed in 1999, when the people voted in a UN-sponsored referendum to end 24 years of occupation by Indonesia, prompting an angry backlash from the losers. East Timor gained formal independence in 2002.

But many of the victims of the most recent troubles say that even after two years the wounds are still raw. They complain that progress toward reconciliation has been slow.

In the Becora camp in the eastern outskirts of Dili – home to about 362 displaced people – Annabella Fatima da Cruz occupies a tent only a short walk from her old home. Eight months pregnant with her first child, da Cruz says she would like to have a permanent home in time for the birth.

She said she would like to go back to her old neighborhood, but that is not an option.

“The situation is not safe,” she said. “There was a dialogue, but it has not produced anything yet.” She added: “I have no idea how long I will live here. It depends on the government.”

The UN mission, which oversees policing in East Timor, and the government say there has been a steady decline in security problems across the country. UN officials are nonetheless sympathetic to the concerns.

“The security situation is improving going by crime statistics,” said Atul Khare, the chief of the UN mission, in an interview. “But the actual security situation and fear of insecurity are two different concepts. You can have a great fear of insecurity without any crime at all.”

Finn, the UN humanitarian coordinator, is concerned that the camps themselves will serve to perpetuate security problems if they are not shut soon.

“Clearly if we are not careful and we don’t solve this problem as soon as possible we run the risk of creating a whole generation of traumatized youngsters who can become a source of societal instability in the longer run,” he said.

Indeed, the camps are not necessarily a haven. Humanitarian workers say there are reports that in some camps residents are preyed upon by organized gangs.

Last week, the leaders of a large camp near Dili airport ordered residents to reject food deliveries as a protest against the decision to cut the ration in half.

Luiz Vieira, the head of the International Office of Migration in East Timor, said there was also evidence of aid being diverted and sold.

“Many people who want to accept the half ration have not because they have been threatened either implicitly or explicitly,” he said.

A very strange “coup attempt” in East Timor

Not sure aboiut the following but it’s clear Reinardo’s usfullness to Xanana, Horta and the Australians was at an end.

Dave Tyneside East Timor Solidarity

By Peter Symonds
13 February 2008

Nothing is clear about Monday’s events in the East Timorese capital of Dili, in which rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado was shot dead and the country’s president Jose Ramos-Horta was seriously injured, with gunshot wounds to his chest and stomach. The least likely explanation, however, is the official one by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who immediately claimed that an attempted coup had been thwarted. He then called for Australian military and political support and imposed a state of emergency and curfew.

Gusmao insists that he and the president were the targets of an assassination plot. Reinado and several of his armed supporters arrived at the president’s residence early Monday morning. But if this were an assassination attempt, Reinado, a former army major who trained in Australia, had not done his homework. Ramos-Horta was out for his regular morning walk with two of his bodyguards. Rather than preparing to assassinate him, it is quite possible that Reinado was merely seeking to talk to the president, as he had during the previous period.

There are several versions of what happened next. By some accounts, Reinado and his men disarmed the guards and stormed into the house looking for the president. But yesterday’s Australian indicated that it was in fact the guards themselves who opened fire: “Neighbours and Ramos-Horta’s house staff told the Australian that Reinado did not fire the first shot. Instead, they said he had appeared at the gate asking for the president and was almost immediately shot through the eye.”

Ramos-Horta, who was returning from his walk, was caught in the crossfire. He was hit at least twice, but managed somehow to get to his residence. Sometime later, Australian military doctors managed to stem the loss of blood and stabilise him. The president was flown to the northern Australian city of Darwin for further treatment and is reportedly in a serious but stable condition.

Who was trying to assassinate whom has not been established. With speculation rife in Dili, Gusmao felt compelled to issue a statement declaring: “To put to rest the rumour that the president called Alfredo to kill him, I would like to reiterate that I was also ambushed and targetted. This shows that it was a planned operation from Alfredo.” He concluded with a thinly veiled threat to the media “not to speculate on issues that have not been confirmed”.

While the events at Ramos-Horta’s residence are sketchy, details of the assassination attempt on Gusmao are virtually non-existent. The prime minister claims that his convoy was ambushed by a second group of rebel soldiers headed by Gastao Salsinha, leader of the so-called “petitioners” who were sacked from the army in 2006 for protesting in support of better conditions. Gusmao’s vehicle was sprayed with bullets, but no one was injured and the attackers managed to escape without a trace. Speaking to an Australian reporter, Salsinha denied any involvement in the attack and did not know why Reinado had appeared at the presidential residence.

No adequate explanation has been offered regarding Reinado’s motive for trying to kill the president and prime minister. The Australian media, which feted Reinado in 2006 as one of the leaders of the anti-Fretilin rebels, have generally dismissed him as “a bold, foolish rebel” or a Rambo with delusions of grandeur. While the dead major was no doubt somewhat unstable psychologically, he certainly had a firm grasp of military matters. Two botched “assassination attempts” and “a coup” that included no plans for seizing key centres or dealing with hundreds of Australian and foreign troops and police is an unlikely scenario.

Who benefits?

A useful rule of thumb in such cases is to ask: who benefits? In this case, the question is: who has something to gain from the death of Reinado? At the top of the list is Gusmao—along with his Australian backers.

Just last month, Reinado accused Gusmao of being directly responsible for the army mutiny and violence that preceded the Australian military intervention in 2006. A message circulated by video, but ignored in the Australian media, declared in part: “I give my testimony as a witness, that Xanana is the main author of this crisis, he cannot lie or deny about this… He calls us bad people, but it’s him that created us, turned us to be like this—he is author of the petition… It’s with his support that the petition exists in the first place, it’s his irresponsible speeches to the media that made people to be fighting and killing each other until this moment and he knows many more things—we will talk about this.”

Reinado’s threat to “talk” had far-reaching political implications for Gusmao and for Canberra. In May 2006, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard claimed that the dispatch of troops to East Timor was needed to halt spiralling violence, because the local army was divided and the police force had disintegrated. Gusmao, then president, was calling for Australian troops to intervene and denouncing Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and his Fretilin government for creating the crisis by sacking the 600 “petitioners”. The Australian media were braying for the “Marxist” Alkatiri to resign over his mishandling of the situation.

Alkatiri is certainly no Marxist, but his government had refused to tamely accept Canberra’s demands for the lion’s share of oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea. The Howard government, which had deployed troops to East Timor in 1999, had expected that Australia would assume the dominant role in the tiny statelet eventually created in 2001. However, the Alkatiri government had attempted to preserve a modicum of independence by establishing relations with other countries, including the former colonial power Portugal, as well as China, Cuba and Brazil. The dispatch of Australian troops in May 2006 was not to help the East Timorese, but was part of the Howard government’s agenda to oust Alkatiri and install political figures more amenable to Australian demands—notably Gusmao and Ramos-Horta.

Major Reinado, who trained in Canberra in 2005, was a key figure in the events leading up to the military intervention. He had joined the “petitioners” and bitterly denounced the Fretilin government for using violence against the protesting soldiers. He was part of a right-wing chorus gathered around Gusmao, including church leaders, former pro-Indonesian militiamen and businessmen, who were hostile to the very modest reforms being carried out by Alkatiri. They created anti-government youth gangs by exploiting widespread discontent over poverty and unemployment.

Reinado was directly involved in fomenting the mayhem. On the eve of Australian troops landing, his men, accompanied by an Australian camera crew, clashed with government troops, adding to the atmosphere of chaos and breakdown. Gusmao has always insisted that he had no hand in these events. But a growing body of evidence points to his involvement with anti-Fretilin plotters and his links to Reinado.

On the surface, Canberra and its political allies in Dili have achieved everything they wanted since May 2006. Within two months of the military intervention, Alkatiri had capitulated to Canberra’s pressure to resign and was replaced by Ramos-Horta as interim prime minister. He and Gusmao, with the Australian government’s tacit backing, teamed up to contest last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Ramos-Horta won the presidency, while Gusmao became the prime minister in bitterly-fought elections marred by violence and allegations of ballot rigging.

None of the underlying issues has been resolved. Fretilin, which won a plurality of seats in the parliamentary elections, continues to challenge the current government’s legitimacy. Gusmao is dependent on an unstable coalition that is facing rising anger over its failure to keep its promises. Having campaigned on pro-poor policies, the government has proposed a budget for 2008 that slashes rice rations for an estimated 100,000 refugees, mainly Fretilin supporters, displaced by the 2006 violence. It will also cut pensions for former Fretilin veterans while providing tax benefits and other financial incentives for business.

Dili remains a nest of political intrigue. Australia, Portugal and Malaysia all have security forces in the tiny country to promote their interests within the government and state apparatus. China and Brazil are providing economic aid to extend their influence. The police and army remain deeply factionalised and there is growing hostility to the continued presence of Australian troops, who remain outside UN control and were widely accused of being partisan in last year’s elections.

For the past 20 months, Reinado has been something of a loose cannon. Though he faced charges of murder and possession of illegal weapons, the major led a charmed life. He was detained on weapons charges in 2006, but literally walked out of the main Dili jail, even though it was guarded by Australian and New Zealand troops. He evaded recapture and was always available for media interviews in his various hideouts. In the lead up to the second presidential round, Ramos-Horta, to secure the support of the right-wing Democratic Party which won 19 percent in the first round, officially called off the hunt for Reinado.

In the midst of the continuing crisis, Reinado’s threat last month to expose Gusmao’s role in 2006 was a political bombshell with the potential to further undermine the East Timorese government and weaken Australian influence. Alkatiri immediately demanded that Gusmao resign and called for fresh elections. Ramos-Horta met Reinado at his base in Maubisse three weeks ago, no doubt to try to allay the major’s frustration that his demand for the dropping of charges had not been met. Last week, Australian troops were involved in a menacing standoff with Reinado as he was meeting with three government parliamentarians. A week later he is dead.

Not only is a troublesome rebel now out of the way, but the governments in Dili and Canberra have immediately exploited the “coup attempt” to strengthen their respective positions. Gusmao imposed a 48-hour state of emergency and curfew and warned that he was going to strengthen security measures to “guarantee that Timor Leste does not become a failed state”.

In an extraordinary flurry of activity, the new Australian Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke to Gusmao twice on Monday morning, convened a top level cabinet security committee and within hours had announced the dispatch of an extra 190 troops and federal police who arrived in East Timor yesterday afternoon. Together with naval personnel, Australia now has a security force of 1,000 to stamp its influence over the island. The editorials in yesterday’s Australian press all declared that the new Labor government had passed his first test with flying colours.

Reinado’s death is certainly convenient for Gusmao. Whether there was a conspiracy to kill the major remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: to immediately proclaim Monday’s events as an attempted assassination and coup, as the Australian and international media have universally done, is to seek to block any serious investigation into this thoroughly murky affair.

See Also:
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao accused of instigating 2006 political crisis in East Timor
[22 January 2008]
Australian troops carry out provocations against East Timor’s Fretilin
[27 August 2007]
Australian government’s role in ousting East Timor’s prime minister Alkatiri
[20 September 2006]
How Australia orchestrated “regime change” in East Timor
[27 July 2006]
East Timor’s “independence”: illusion and reality
[18 May 2002]

nternational troops under fire for Timor crisis

Wednesday, 13 February, SBS

East Timor’s military chief has lashed out at international security forces in the country for failing to protect President Jose Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

Rebel soldiers attacked the leaders’ homes in the early hours of Monday morning, critically wounding Mr Ramos-Horta, who was airlifted to Australia for treatment and remains in an induced coma. Mr Gusmao was unhurt.

Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak said his troops were only responsible for what went on within the perimeters of the president’s home, and that wider security was the remit of national and UN police.

“Given the big number of international forces present in Timor-Leste, in particular in Dili, how is it possible that vehicles transporting armed people have entered the city and executed an approach to the residences of the president and prime minister without having been detected?

‘No security request’

“There has been a lack of capacity shown by the international forces, who have the primary responsibility for security within Timor-Leste, to foresee, react and prevent these events,” he said, calling for a “complete international investigation” into the attacks.

But the head of the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) has defended his team’s actions, saying Mr Ramos-Horta preferred to use local personnel for his personal protection.

“It is the mission of the ISF to to support the government of Timor-Leste and the UN police. If they have made requests to us in the past, we have always been responsive,” said Brigadier General James Baker.

“Members of the ISF were not invited to provide security for the president at any time.”

Arrest warrants

East Timor’s prosecutor-general is expected to issue arrest warrants for those wanted in connection with the raids shortly, after police investigators concluded their initial inquiry.

Some 340 additional Australian troops and police arrived in East Timor on Tuesday.

Mr Ramos-Horta, who was shot three times in the shoulder and stomach, is in a serious but stable condition in hospital in Darwin.

Meanwhile, media reports suggest the Perth-based widow and children of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who was killed in the shoot-out at Mr Ramos-Horta’s home, want to stay in Australia.

The family – Maria ‘Netty’ Reinado and her four children – has been refused asylum and are due to be sent back to East Timor, unless Immigration Minister Chris Evans intervenes.

E Timor police expect to make arrests soon

Posted 4 hours 44 minutes ago ABC
Updated 3 hours 8 minutes ago

Police in East Timor are hoping the first suspects will soon be arrested over Monday’s attacks on the President and Prime Minister.

The names of the first suspects involved in the shooting of President Jose Ramos-Horta will be handed to prosecutors today by United Nations police.

They have interviewed 11 people since the attack and have prepared a report for the Prosecutor General that could lead to the first arrests.

United Nations police believe the assailants went to Mr Ramos-Horta’s home on Monday morning, waiting to ambush him as he returned from his morning walk.

The assailants ambushed Mr Ramos-Horta near his home, shooting him two or three times in the upper torso.

Their leader Alfredo Reinado was killed in the attack.

East Timor’s capital Dili has been exceptionally calm this week, partly thanks to a 48-hour nightly curfew and bans on public meetings.

An extra 200 Australian soldiers have also begun arriving in the country to boost security.

Meanwhile Mr Ramos-Horta remains in a serious but stable condition in Royal Darwin Hospital.

Mr Horta is expected to remain in intensive care, on a ventilator, until at least Thursday.

East Timor president shot at home

Jose Ramos-Horta
Ramos-Horta won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996
The President of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, is undergoing emergency surgery after his house in the capital Dili came under attack.

A renegade soldier, Alfredo Reinado, was shot dead by the president’s guards. The president was shot in the stomach during the shoot-out.

Last November, Reinado had threatened to use force against the government.

He had been indicted for his alleged role in fighting between rebel troops and police in 2006.

The attack happened at around 0700 on Monday (2200GMT Sunday), when two cars drove past the president’s house and shooting began, army spokesman Major Domingos de Camara said.

One soldier was also reported to be seriously wounded.

The president was taken to a hospital run by the Australian military in Dili, and is now undergoing surgery, a presidential advisor said.

Local media carried unconfirmed reports that the house of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao was also attacked, but that no one was hurt in that incident.

Unrest fear

Alfredo Reinado
Reinado has been indicted over the 2006 unrest in East Timor

The UN has been in charge of security in the capital for the past two years, since unrest which began when then Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, dismissed a third of the armed forces for desertion, prompting the clashes between the police and the military.

Reinado was allegedly involved in fighting which followed and left 37 people dead. More than 150,000 were forced to flee their homes.

Last month the International Crisis Group warned that there was a risk of more civil unrest, unless the police and military were reformed.

Australian troops form the bulk of the international peacekeeping force in the country.

Nobel winner

Jose Ramos-Horta was prominent in the campaign against Indonesia rule, after the Portuguese withdrew from their former colony in 1975.

In 1996, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo.

East Timor gained independence in 2002.

From BBC website