Attacks were coup attempt, Ramos-Horta says

Posted 4 hours 43 minutes ago

Rebels who attacked the East Timorese leadership in February were trying to seize control of the country, President Jose Ramos-Horta says.

It is the first time the president, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds and required life-saving surgery in Darwin, has commented publicly on the suspected motives of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao was also targeted in the coordinated attacks on February 11, but escaped unhurt.

“I believe that Mr Alfredo Reinado was actually led to believe by certain people that killing me and Xanana would give him power and make him the strongman of the country,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.

“He was irrational enough, incredibly vain and stupid enough to actually believe that people can get away with it and become the de facto leader of the country.

“The guy shot me with a high-powered rifle at close range. Surely he wasn’t planning to tickle me, so he intended to kill me.”

Reinado was killed leading the attack on Dr Ramos-Horta at the Nobel laureate’s Dili residence.

Asked who had made Reinado think the coup plot would work, Dr Ramos-Horta said he was hoping to learn more when the rebel’s girlfriend, Angelita Pires, testified in court.

“I hope that his lover, Ms Angie Pires, can shed light on this when she is brought to court to testify. She is manipulator number one, a fake,” he said.

Ms Pires was the first person arrested over the attacks. She remains in custody but has not been charged and denies any involvement in the attacks.

– AFP

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