Reinado on TV as hunt went awry

The Age

Lindsay Murdoch, Darwin

March 26, 2008

ALFREDO Reinado, the rebel leader who led last month’s attacks in Dili, turned up at a television studio in Jakarta while Australian soldiers were hunting him in East Timor’s mountains.

Confirmation of Reinado’s ability to travel to Jakarta while he was East Timor’s most wanted fugitive will fuel speculation that unidentified figures in Indonesia were behind the February 11 attacks.

The Age has confirmed Reinado, wearing an army uniform, was interviewed in the Jakarta studio of Metro TV for a program that aired on May 21 last year.

It has also been confirmed that Reinado arrived at the station in Jakarta with at least one armed bodyguard.

Australian Federal Police in Jakarta later went to the station, but Reinado had already recorded the interview and was long gone.

In the interview, the Australian-trained Reinado spoke about his life on the run in East Timor, where he was wanted for several murders and armed rebellion.

Reinado spoke about his frustration in trying to negotiate a deal for his surrender with East Timor leaders Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos Horta. They were playing political games, he said.

Mr Gusmao, who is now Prime Minister, and Mr Ramos Horta, who is President, were the targets of the attacks by two groups of Reinado’s men on February 11. Mr Ramos Horta was seriously wounded and has been recovering in Darwin and Mr Gusmao was unhurt.

The investigation into the attacks has focused on the rebels’ motive and who paid them large sums of money, some of which was found on Reinado’s body after he was shot dead at Mr Ramos Horta’s house.

Investigators have traced some of the money to a bank account in Dili.

A visit to Dili in late January by Jakarta gangster Hercules Rozario Marcal prompted calls in Dili for the terms of reference for an international commission of inquiry into the attacks to be widened.

Timorese-born Hercules, described by the Indonesian press as “king of gangsters”, was on the same Metro TV program as Reinado last year.

Hercules has denied any involvement in the attacks.

Hercules and Reinado as teenagers had served as porters for the Indonesian army.

By the early 1990s, Hercules was living in the Jakarta house of Zacky Anwar Makarim, an army major-general indicted by a 2003 UN war crimes panel for allegedly orchestrating a campaign to undermine the independence referendum in East Timor in which 1500 people were killed.

Jakarta has refused to put him on trial or extradite him.

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