Horta may allow ‘petitioners’ back into army


East Timor is considering measures to resolve a long-running dispute with rebel soldiers that triggered the violence in 2006.

President Jose Ramos-Horta has been in lengthy talks with disgruntled officers who deserted the army two years ago, including the rebel leaders blamed for the attempt on his life in February.

Nearly 600 soldiers left their barracks in protest against perceived discrimination in the defence forces in 2006, sparking civil unrest.

Dr Ramos-Horta says there may be a compromise solution to allow the so-called “petitioners” back into the army.

“Those petitioners who wish to return to the armed forces, must reapply, go through a recruitment process, to be screened,” he said.

“Those who do not wish to return, they will get something equivalent to three years’ salary.”


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