Monthly Archives: February 2008

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

ISF retreats after warning shots from Reinardo

Reinado’s rebels fire on ISF: Rebels under the leadership of Major Alfredo Reinado have fired warning shots near a patrol of Australian troops south-west of the capital, Dili. Reinado has been on the run since he was arrested on charges of illegal weapons’ distribution, desertion and attempted murder after widespread violence in 2006.

The International Stabilisation Force (ISF) Spokesperson Brigadier General James Baker said that five to eight warning shots were fired, but the Australian troops did not return fire. “What we’ve seen today is a reckless act by Reinado. If the ISF soldiers had not acted with professionalism and discipline, then an escalation of the incident could have occurred,” he said. “The ISF did not return fire, but immediately withdrew to Gleno [the home base],” he added. “There were no casualties from this incident.”

Brigadier General Baker said that the ISF is not engaged in any operation against Reinado. “Reinado is a fugitive of the Timorese criminal justice system, he has threatened the safety of Australian troops,” he said. (TP, DN and STL)

UN Meets FRETILIN to discuss reform of the Security Sector

Dili, February 5, 2008 – The senior leadership of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) have met FRETILIN’s leadership to discuss the reform of the security sector.

Today’s meeting follows upon FRETILIN’s expression of willingness to become engaged in issues of national importance, such as security sector reform, to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when he visited Timor-Leste in December.

Those representing FRETILIN today included the party’s Secretary-General, Dr. Mari Alkatiri, Vice-President Arsenio Bano, two Deputy Secretary-Generals and a number of parliamentarians and members of the Fretilin Central Committee.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, convened this meeting to inform Fretilin and seek their views on UNMIT’s role in the review and reform of key security institutions.  

Mr Khare told the meeting that security sector reform is a priority area and its success will be critical in ensuring sustainability for the new nation.

“Any review on how to reform the security sector must look at the restructuring of the national police and an assessment of the F-FDTL, the private security sector, customs and other institutional areas such as the courts and correctional facilities.

The review must be comprehensive, holistic, ensure broad representation of all stakeholders and it must be owned by the Timorese people,” Mr Khare added.

Mr Khare stated that the objective of UN support was to assist in the creation of a security sector that is effective, accountable, transparent, non-partisan and sustainable, operating under civilian control, within a framework of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

It was agreed that such meetings would be held on an ongoing basis, every two weeks.  

What the Aussies are really doing in Timor (ADF)

Looks like the Aussies are enjoying themselves, not sure they’re doing much
about making people feel secure – especially if you’re a FRETILIN supporter.
No change from when I was in Timor Leste in 2006 then!


Better for PNTL and UNPOL to Arrest Alfredo

So! That’s what they are doing here! Having concerts and going to the beach?

But more seriously, what “right or power” did they have to mount
operations against IDP camps and shoot dead two Timorese young men
from Lorosae?

What right or power did they have to mount the operation in Same which
resulted in five dead?

What right did they have to mount checkpoints with search and seize
consequences, prinicpally against FRETILIN convoys, during the
prsidential and parliamentary elections of 2007?

They have no legal right to do any of these things because their
presence is illegal because the bilateral agreement that purports to
allow to remain in Timor-Leste has not been ratified by the National

Their actions are all therefor illegal. Brig Hutcheson seems to be
verifying that now. In fact their soldiers have no immunity because
only parliament can grant such immunities under the constitution, and
the agreement has not been taken to the parliament.

When will someone bring legal action to test this in the Timor-Leste
courts? Why is the current government not keen to bring the agreement
to the parliament for ratification despite even people when their own
AMP group in parliament is saying it would be better to end the

Because they know that bringing it now to the parliament would uncover
the error in Prime Minister Ramos Horta not bringing it before the
parliament and now the Gusmao government compounding the error.
Alkatiri had already resigned in June 2006.

There is another theory, and that is that the only thing that the ISF
are here for is to be a bullwark to any possible coup by the F-FDTL
against this Timor-Leste President and government.

That is highly unlikely because of the discipline and loyalty nthe
F-FDTL command has shwon to the rule of law and the constitution, but
Australia needed to protect its allies Ramos Horta and Gusmao.

But do they still feel the same? This is confirmed by comments by the
former Australian Ambassador, Margaret Twoomey to the UN Security
Council delegation late last year during a meeting with the Dili
diplomatic corps: “We (the ADF/ISF) are here to make sure that
FRETILIN does not do to this government what they did to FRETILIN in

We know now perhaps they are not here just for concerts and the booze
and the beaches. They are here to keep an eye on their traditional
enemy (Falintil) from the time the ADF and the TNI were on the same
side sharing counter guerilla warfare startegies in places like
Cunungra, Queensland, Australia and Solor, Java.

When Koppassus and the SAS together mounted a live round guerrilla
warfare exercise using captured Falintil soldiers like the Falintil
hero Mau Hodu (deceased believed killed by Indonesian army in 1999).

Falintil’s historic legacy is this: they defeated the TNI, and the
TNI’s mentors: The Australian and US Defence establishments.

Memories die hard with old soldiers who mistrust the Falintil. Nothing
has really changed.

Are you up to changing this mindset Mr Rudd?

Better for PNTL and UNPOL to Arrest Alfredo

Jornal Diario Nacional, 31/1/08
Dili, Timor-Leste

The Commander of the International Stabilsation Forces (ISF) John
Hutcheson stated that the ISF does not have the right to arrest
Alfredo and his group, but if the court wants to arrest him it will be
better to send the Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL) and UNPOL who
have that function in Timor-Leste to arrest people.

The ISF Commander John Hutcheson said this to journalists following
having participated in a farewell ceremony with the new ISF Commander
James Baker at the ISF General Headquarters, Caicoli, Dili (28/1).

The ISF Commander explained further that it is the police who are able
to undertake the arrest of Alfredo because according to the law in
place it is the police who are able to arrest persons who have
committed crimes, but the military cannot undertake such arrests.

“The relationship between the ISF and the Timor-Leste judiciary are
good. But we do not have the right to capture or arrest anyone,
especially those who commit crimes or other violations,” said the ISF

Regarding the order that the ISF received recently from the court to
capture Major Alfredo, the ISF Commander explained that only the court
will be able to explain to the public the fundamental reason why the
ISF cannot capture Major Alfredo in accordance with the letter sent by
the court to the ISF.

“Regarding our not capturing Alfredo, only the court will be able to
respond to this question,” recounted the ISF Commander.

When asked about the ISF action in Same some time ago, the ISF
Commander explained that it was part of the ISF’s role to guarantee
security to enable the people to go about their activities in peace.