Some involved in attack fled to Australia: Timor president

By Karen Michelmore, South East Asia Correspondent

JAKARTA, April 23 AAP – East Timor’s President Jose Ramos Horta today said some people involved in the attempt on his life had fled to Australia.

He said “elements” outside East Timor had provided support to rebel leader Alfredo Reinado for at least a year leading up to the February attacks, including money, communications equipment and clothing.

Others had fled East Timor to Australia and Indonesia after the attacks, which also targeted Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, he said.

“Straight after the attack on myself and the prime minister, certain Timorese with Australian nationality fled to Australia,” Ramos Horta said in a speech to parliament today.

“Other elements outside of the country are implicated in these hideous crimes.”

Indonesian authorities arrested three former East Timor soldiers who escaped to the neighbouring country after the assassination attempts.

Ramos Horta has repeatedly demanded Australia’s urgent assistance in tracing dozens of telephone calls made to Reinado before and after the attacks.

Reinado was killed in the attack on the president’s home. Ramos Horta was critically injured, but Gusmao escaped unharmed.

Ramos Horta had threatened to lodge a complaint with the United Nations Security Council unless Australia immediately releases details of a $A1 million Darwin bank account held by Reinado and Timorese-born Australian Angelita Pires.

The president has claimed Pires was Reinado’s lover and held great influence over him.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith yesterday said the information would be provided as soon as East Timor made a request through the proper channels.

Despite his warning to Australia, Ramos Horta today said he had “total confidence” that authorities there and in Indonesia would get to the bottom of what had happened.

He also announced he would pardon 80 criminals on next month’s anniversary of independence, including jailed former government minister Rogerio Lobato.

Lobato has served just five months of a seven-year sentence for arming hit squads during the violence that destabilised the nation in 2006.

The decision means not one single person is in jail over the 2006 violence, which killed 37 people and forced 150,000 to flee their homes.

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Joyo Indonesia News Service

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