Blast rocks Australian troop base

An explosion has shaken an Australian troop base in East Timor, one
day after rebel fugitive Alfredo Reinado and his followers fired
shots near International Stabilisation Force (ISF) troops.

The explosion occurred at Camp Phoenix, in central Dili, shortly
after 8pm local time Thursday.

Camp Phoenix houses elements of the ISF, which includes Australian
and New Zealand defence personnel.

The ISF said there were no injuries to ISF personnel within the base
from the blast.

ISF commander Brigadier James Baker said United Nations Police (UN
POL) and the ISF were investigating the explosion.

“Any threats to security within East Timor are a great concern and
the ISF will continue to work with the government of East Timor and
UNPOL to ensure that threats to peace and stability in this country
are dealt with,” he said.

Authorities have not said whether the incident is linked to the
shooting in Ermera district on Wednesday.

ISF troops encountered Reinado and a group of his armed followers who
fired about five shots in the presence of the international troops.

Security forces have previously failed to apprehend Reinado, a key
figure in the 2006 unrest who escaped from jail in August that year.

Factional fighting left at least 37 people dead in the April and May
2006 rebellion, and forced international peacekeepers to be
despatched to restore calm.

Reinado is wanted on eight counts of murder.

East Timor’s leaders are pursuing dialogue with Reinado and his
followers, and hope to have the issue resolved by May.


Friday February 8, 06:01 AM


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