FRETILIN: Who is stopping Salsinha’s surrender?



March 17, 2008


FRETILIN demands naming and action against alleged impeders of
Salsinha group surrender

The FRETILIN leader in the Timor-Leste National Parliament demanded
today that Timor-Leste’s Prosecutor General and interim President of
the Republic name and commence criminal action against persons they
have publicly stated are suspected of actively impeding the surrender
to authorities of former army Lieutenant Salsinha and his armed group.

Francisco Branco, reacting to media reports of statements by both the
interim President Fernando de Araujo Lasama, and Prosecutor General
Monteiro Longhuinos, that they suspected that a third party or parties
had been actively interfering to prevent Salsinha and his armed group
from surrendering since the violent incidents of 11th February, said
that it was in the “national interest that they do so instead of
opening up speculation, rumour mongering and confusion in our
community by making vague and unsubstantiated remarks in the press.

“If there are people who are suspected of engaging in such unlawful
conduct, then they should be charged and publicly named and brought
before the courts. That is how it works in a state under the rule of
law,” added Branco.

“The whole of the FRETILIN leadership and its parliamentarians
continue to give their full support to the joint F-FDTL/PNTL operation
and reiterate their appeal to all Timorese, including FRETILIN members
and supporters, to cooperate and assist the joint operation in every
way they can to ensure the operation succeeds.

“FRETILIN also repeats its appeal to Mr. Salsinha and his armed Group
to surrender forthwith to the security forces, who are presently
undertaking operations against them. Only by avoiding further violence
and bloodshed will they be able to contribute to the process of
seeking truth and justice in our country,” Branco concluded.

Mr. Branco’s calls were echoed by the Bishop of the Diocese of Baucau,
Basilio do Nascimento. In local media today, the Bishop said that the
Prosecutor General’s public statement that third parties had been
impeding Salsinha and his group from surrendering had opened the door
to needless public speculation and rumour.

For further comment: Nilva Gimaraes, Media Officer, FRETILIN
Parliamentary Group +670 734 0389

Jose Teixeira MP in Dili +670 728 7080


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