East Timor Legal New now on East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin

East Timor legal news continues on in the East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin. ETLJB covers the period from 2008 to the present. The archive and ETLB span almost a decade. It is by no means a comprehensive archive of legal news from East Timor but does cover many subjects and sources that have been of critical importance in the development of East Timor's legal culture since the catastrophic disintegration of the rule of law in 2006. Relates sources are East Timor Law Journal, East Timor Land Studies and United Nations Police in East Timor Security Reports for the period 2006-2008.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Timor-Leste Legal News March 2007 (Part 2)

Chronololgy - Flashpoints of political unrest in East Timor

March 6 (Reuters) - East Timor's capital was quiet but tense on Tuesday, a day after thousands of angry supporters of East Timor rebel leader Alfredo Reinado burnt tyres and threw stones to protest against a raid by international troops on the fugitive's hideout.

Here are some of the country's key milestones since independence in 2002:

- May 20, 2002: East Timor becomes an independent nation, after an historic 1999 vote ends Indonesia's post-1975 occupation. Ex-guerilla leader and independence hero Xanana Gusmao becomes President.
- Dec 4: Capital Dili is under curfew after rioting blamed on regrouping Indonesian-backed militiamen. Several people are shot dead in clashes and prime minister's house is burned down.
- May 19, 2003: United Nations extends mandate of 3,800-strong U.N. Mission in East Timor (UNMISET) for a year.
- March 9, 2005: Indonesia and East Timor launch joint truth commission to address 1999's bloody rampage which saw about 1,000 killed, mostly by pro-Jakarta militia.
- April 28: U.N. Security Council votes to keep scaled-back U.N. presence in East Timor for another year.
- Feb 8, 2006: Hundreds of soldiers, many of them former independence fighters, go on strike over pay
and alleged discrimination.
- March 16: Premier and military chief Mari Alkatiri sacks 600 of the country's 1,400-strong army on charges of desertion. The move inflames the country's east-west divide and unleashes months of chaos which see an estimated 100,000 people displaced and at least 20 killed.
- May 25: The first of 2,500 peacekeepers from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal arrive to quell violence.
- July 10: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta sworn in as Prime Minister, two weeks after Alkatiri steps down amid accusations he was responsible for the crisis.
- Aug. 30, 2006: Major Alfredo Reinado, one of the figureheads of the May revolt, walks out of a Dili jail with 50 other inmates, embarrassing security forces.
- March 4, 2007: Reinado escapes a raid by foreign troops on his hideout, but four people are killed in the ensuing gunbattle.
- March 5: Thousands of people take to the streets, burning tyres and blocking roads, to protest against the attempt to capture Reinado.
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East Timor's prime minister blames unrest on soft laws - LISBON, March 6 (AFP) -- East Timor's soft laws are making it difficult to quell unrest in the country, its Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said on Tuesday in an interview broadcast on Portuguese radio. "The problem is our laws, imposed by western advisors without taking into account the reality of East Timor, which require that anyone detained by police who hasn't been tried within three days be released," he told Radio Renascenca.

"Police carry out an operation, detain dozens of protesters and what do the courts do? Free them. The same people, who have been detained several times, know they will only be in jail for 72 hours," he added.

East Timor has been wracked by violent protests over an unsuccesful raid by Australian-led peacekeeping forces on the mountain base of renegade army Major Alfredo Reinado on Saturday in which four people were killed. Hundreds of supporters of Reinado, who was implicated in violence last year that left 37 people dead and caused 150,000 to flee, on Monday hurled stones, burnt tyres and blocked streets in Dili, the capital of East Timor.

The protesters, mostly youths, chanted support for Reinado but Ramos-Horta said they did not know the rebel leader and were only backing his cause as an excuse to cause trouble.

Last month Ramos-Horta, 57, announced he would run for president in an election scheduled for April 9. He became prime minister in July 2006 after Mari Alkatiri resigned amid allegations that he sparked unrest between civilian groups and security forces.

East Timor voted in a 1999 referendum for independence from Indonesia which had annexed it after Portugal ended centuries of colonial rule in 1975. The country became fully independent in 2002 after a period of United Nations administration.
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Reinado wants to talk, says comrade - The Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, March 7, 2007 Lindsay Murdoch in Dili THE fugitive East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado wants to "talk and not fight", one of the men who escaped with him said yesterday.

Amaro Da Costa, alias Susar, told the Herald by mobile telephone that Reinado does not blame Australian troops for an attack on his hilltop base early last Sunday that left five of his men dead and one wounded. "He blames the state, especially [Jose] Ramos-Horta," Da Costa said, referring to the Nobel laureate and interim Prime Minister.

Since the botched raid in the central mountain town of Same, violence has escalated in the capital, Dili, as Reinado's supporters roam the streets denouncing Australians and demanding that they leave East Timor.

In the first interview with any of those who escaped with Reinado, Da Costa dismissed rumours that Australian soldiers had wounded Reinado. "Major Alfredo is fine ... he's near me now," he said. Asked what message Reinado had for the Government in Dili, he said: "Alfredo wants to talk and not fight. He believes that fighting will not benefit the people." He said the Australian-trained Reinado had been ready for the attack, after the Australians had him surrounded for six days. "We heard the Australian helicopters go up and then Australian soldiers suddenly appeared at our position firing their weapons ... They shot one of our men who was on lookout. "We realised that we had weak power compared to the Australians so we decided to flee. Our group is only small," he said. Reinado had "devised a secret escape route. We decided it was better to use this way to escape because if we didn't we would have been killed," Da Costa said.

The Australian Defence Force has refused to provide information about the attack or current efforts to capture Reinado. Mal Rerden, the commander of Australia's 800-strong contingent in East Timor, said yesterday that a fifth member of Reinado's group had been killed and one had been wounded. Brigadier Rerden said the man had been shot and fell down a cliff during the battle. He was not noticed until a helicopter was flying overhead yesterday. The body was flown to Dili, where an autopsy would be conducted.

The wounded man was in a stable condition under guard in a military clinic, an Australian Army spokesman in Dili said.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, said the security situation had worsened: "Reinado and his followers are a threat to the peaceful situation and the stability of the country." The Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, said the Government had recommended that Australians leave.

Sporadic violence continued in Dili yesterday, including the torching of houses. United Nations police and Australian and New Zealand soldiers are ready for a feared fresh outbreak of violence today, when a court in Dili announces its verdict in the trial of the former interior minister Rogerio Lobato. Lobato has pleaded not guilty to charges that include conspiring to commit murder and providing weapons to civilians, in a highly charged hearing relating to a hit squad allegedly set up to eliminate rivals of the former prime minister Mari Alkatiri.

Australian Associated Press reports that Reinado supporters have threatened to murder President Xanana Gusmao's family as punishment for him asking Australian troops to hunt down the renegade major. The homes of two of Mr Gusmao's sisters have been attacked, one of the women said.
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Timor gangs promise mayhem on East Timor's streets - By Rob Taylor CANBERRA March 6 (Reuters) - With names like "Cold Blooded Killers", "Provoke me and I'll Smash You" and "Beaten Black and Blue", East Timor's youth gangs promise mayhem on streets which not so long ago offered hope. The groups hurling stones and setting roadblocks in Dili's volatile outskirts borrow names from Indonesian rock bands or Hollywood action films, and their bravado swings between hit-and-run attacks to just playing guitars and drinking.

But as East Timor's streets convulsed again this week after a failed bid by international troops to capture rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, an Australian report on East Timor's gangs reveals the deep-seated problems facing the young nation. "The one common thread is the involvement of large numbers of young, marginalised males," said the recent report on East Timor's myriad gangs and youth groups by Australia's aid agency AusAID and obtained by Reuters.

From bases in burnt and abandoned houses in the bairos, or neighbourhoods, the gangs' roots lie in long-standing ethnic tensions over control of trade and markets, post-independence property disputes and rivalries within the fledgling security forces set up after separation from Indonesia in 1999, said the report. Those roots find fertile soil in chronic unemployment, lack of access to education and political instability blamed on opposition parties. Even under former Portuguese colonial rule, prior to Indonesia's 1975 invasion, gangs or "moradores" were tools of repression, said the reporting citing 2001 battles between martial arts groups in Olobai and Boramatan villages. "For much of the past six years gangs have also made parts of the eastern city of Baucau a virtual no-go zone after dark, setting up barricades and extorting motorists," the report said.

INFILTRATION
The infiltration into security forces of martial arts groups counting 20,000 members worsened the situation and helped fuel clashes last May in which the "western" army killed 12 "eastern" police as ethnic gangs took to Dili's streets, it said.

The report said many gangs were led by former resistance figures with long-standing grudges, including some disgruntled because they missed jobs in the new army or police force. There were several broad gang types, including young men disillusioned by the ruling political party, those who were members of martial arts gangs and others who belonged to "kakalok" mystical groups identified by body scars. Not all were dangerous, the report said, with many gangs performing social work in their impoverished communities and carrying out welfare work the government was incapable of. The report said jobs were the key to ending gang violence among bored young men, but also called for the construction of youth centres in each village to foster a sense of community.

Small scale business ideas such as motorcycle maintenance should also receive start-up funding, while in the medium term East Timor needed a Youth Fund to support projects by young people in local areas. "If given the support now to fulfill their fairly modest objectives and aspirations, these groups could play a vital unifying role," the report said.
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UN ENVOY IN TIMOR-LESTE SAYS TIMORESE FUGITIVE RESPONSIBLE FOR VIOLENCE, CALLS FOR CALM New York, Mar 5 2007 4:00PM UN New Service The United Nations envoy in Timor-Leste has said fugitive Timorese Major Alfredo Reinado and his followers, who are accused of involvement in last year’s deadly violence that rocked the tiny nation, bear ultimate responsibility for the weekend military operation launched against them by the International Security Forces (ISF) because they rejected the Government’s terms of surrender.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General Atul Khare, head of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), has also repeated his call for calm after gangs burnt tyres and fought UN Police on Sunday in the capital Dili, while two vehicles were set on fire in a ministry compound in Gleno-Ermera.

Timorese President Xanana Gusmão had asked for the ISF operation against Maj. Reinado after he ransacked several border police posts late last month, stealing weapons and other equipment, and because he had shown “very clearly that he does not respect the State or its institutions”. “UNMIT regrets that the efforts to ensure a peaceful judicial path have not been successful, and would like to stress that it is Reinado’s disregard for the laws of Timor-Leste and the wellbeing of its population that have brought us to this point,” Mr. Khare told reporters yesterday, referring to the ISF operations in Same, south of Dili.

“I would like to once more appeal to the people of Timor-Leste to cooperate with the police and the ISF to maintain peace and calm. At the same time, UN Police, along with the PNTL (National Police of Timor-Leste) and assisted as required by the ISF, will continue to take strong actions against all those who indulge in violence or otherwise flout the laws of this country.”

Late last year the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste, set up to look into the deadly violence that erupted in May and April, found amongst other things that Maj. Reinado and his group were reasonably suspected of committing crimes against life and person during the fighting. The crisis, attributed to differences between eastern and western regions, erupted in late April with the firing of 600 striking soldiers, a third of the armed forces. Ensuing violence claimed at least 37 lives and drove 155,000 people, 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes.

The Security Council created UNMIT in August 2006 to help restore order after the violence, especially in the run-up to this year’s elections, the first round of which is schedule for 9 April. These will be the first polls held in the tiny nation since it gained independence from Indonesia in 2002. 2007-03-05 00:00:00.000
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SAS SWOOP All-out effort to capture Reinado Jungle trackers join hunt for Timor fugitive - IAN McPHEDRAN, DEFENCE WRITER The Advertiser (Australia) March 6, 2007 AUSTRALIAN troops are employing specialist trackers and jungle fighting skills dating from the Vietnam War to hunt Australian trained fugitive East Timorese Major Alfredo Reinado. Security authorities have also used radio and newspapers to appeal to residents of the sparsely populated region around Same, 100km south of Dili, to dob in the man regarded as either a hero or a menace. Strong links were forged between Australian special forces troops from the Special Air Service Regiment and Falintil fighters during the 1999 independence crisis.

Contacts are being rekindled in a bid to capture the major after a failed raid by Australian troops at the weekend left four rebels dead. That brought to six the number of locals killed by the Diggers in the past few weeks and signals a much more aggressive stance from the 1000 troops based in the troubled country and their commander Brigadier Mal Rerden. The Diggers barely fired a shot in anger during the major uprising in Dili last year. Major Reinado has threatened on several occasions to fight to the death if cornered by the troops. The capital Dili was quiet yesterday as authorities moved to quell growing discontent.

Law and order remains a crucial issue and several police vehicles have been destroyed by rioting local gangs. A United Nations spokeswoman described the situation as ''volatile''. In addition to the 1000 Australian and New Zealand troops, there are about 1500 UN police in the country. They will soon be joined by 140 from the feared Portuguese GNR riot squad.

Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer yesterday urged the mutinous Major Reinado to surrender. Mr Howard also ruled out sending any more troops into East Timor ahead of presidential elections due on April 9. ''We have adequate people there at the present time,'' Mr Howard said. ''There has been some addition to those forces, but I don't want to go into details of that.''

It is understood the extra forces include special troops trained to operate in the harsh environment around Same. Fretilin guerillas held out for 25 years against Indonesian forces in the rugged mountains around the major's home town. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer denied he had suggested the fugitive would be taken ''dead or alive''. ''I don't think he should be killed, I think he should be caught,'' Mr Downer said.
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Pro-rebel mob in East Timor ransacks homes of Xanana's family - DILI (AP): Mobs in East Timor ransacked the homes of the president's family, some yelling death threats after he ordered Australian troops to raid a fugitive rebel leader's hideout, witnesses said Tuesday. Canberra advised its citizens to leave the fledging nation, saying they could be targeted.

"President Xanana Gusmao is a traitor," said Quintiliano Nakrakat, 26, standing near one of the pillaged houses as tensions escalated following days of street fights and looting. "If Xanana has no bodyguards, we will kill him."

East Timor, one of the world's newest and poorest nations, was plunged into crisis a year ago when factional fighting broke out between police and army forces, leaving dozens dead and sendingtens of thousands fleeing from their homes. The arrival of 2,700 foreign peacekeepers helped restore order, but tensions have flared in recent weeks, raising fears presidential elections next month could be violent.

Attacks Monday and Tuesday on homes belonging to two sisters of Xanana - regarded as a national hero for leading East Timor's 1999 break for independence - signaled a potential shift in the political landscape. Gangs threw rocks at windows and looted belongings from the houses, but no one was injured. Anger has mounted since Xanana instructed Australian troops to raid rebel leader Reinado Alfredo's mountainous base in Same, south of Dili early Sunday. Four rebels were killed, but Reinadoescaped with an unknown number of followers.

Australian soldiers also killed two Timorese men in a clash last month, further straining relations with foreign troops.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said while visiting Indonesian that his citizens had been advised to leave East Timor and that some embassy staff and their families were being evacuated. "We think that Australians could be targeted by protesters and sympathizers of Maj. Reinado and we don't want them to get into harm's way," he told reporters. "We are concerned about the situation and we are doing our best to calm it down." The United States advised against travel to volatile areas of East Timor and New Zealand warned that the situation could quickly deteriorate.

Reinado, who deserted the army early last year, escaped from jail in August. He threatened to launch a campaign against the government after Sunday's raid, according to one of his aides, Gastao Salsinha. Though not a major player in East Timor politics, the rebel leader recently seems to have gained some popular support because of his resistance. (**)
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 6 March 2007

State Will Use Force To Stop Violence: President Gusmão - President Xanana Gusmão said Timor-Leste would use national defence force to stop the violence in the country. In his Presidential statement on Monday 5th March, the President stressed that the State is no longer tolerating anyone destroying properties or taken somebody else's life, noting that the violence has been long affecting the capital Dili. Gusmão lamented that the country is heading a little it towards anarchism and there is no goodwill from some people of the community to contribute to peace. He said that some protests, rather than bringing people together to resolve the problems, are contributing to distancing the people in a time when the nation needs to recuperate to become an environment of tolerance and acceptance. He also said it is important to create conditions for all citizens to freely participate in the upcoming elections and that it is the State's obligation to safeguard the stability of the country, the people and their properties and to stop criminalities and to ensure that the smooth functioning of State institutions and the existence of freedom for all citizens. The President also appealed to the national and international authorities to use legal means to ensure that the law of the country is obeyed and that any demonstrations must follow the rules. He said that the international forces should take strong action against anyone creating public disorder. Gusmão stated to the nation that if the decision to reduce criminality is not sufficient, the State will take harsher measures.

According to Timor Post, the State had ordered the security forces to use force to stop the violence by issuing a decree law, which authorizes the International Forces to search houses around Dili without a court warrant. President Xanana Gusmão officially introduced the law yesterday (05/03) at Palacio das Cinzas, Dili. (DN,TP)

UIR Prepared To Stop Violence - Commander of Unidade Intervenção Rapida (UIR) Inocencio da Silva, reportedly told the media Monday following a meeting with Prime Minister Horta that the police is prepared to attend to the violence in the country as the higher superiorities gives the go ahead. On the same occasion, Prime Minister Ramos-Horta asked UIR members to focus on their work seriously. He said that the State had requested F-FDTL to provide security to State buildings due to the workload UNPOL and PNTL are facing. The Head of the Government said the recent burning and looting of computers from the Ministry of Education was done by a group of criminals and the computers were taken not to study but to sell to their militia friends in Kupang and Atambua and therefore, F-FDTL is willing to protect buildings indicated by the State. Ramos-Horta said the reason the President issued a decree law, which has the support of the Parliament and the UN, is to give more power to the international forces in their operations to make decisions that will help stop disturbances. He said that some groups really want to destabilize the country by terrorizing and pushing the population away from their homes in order for them to steal. (DN)

Over 200 IDPs In UIR Compound - The Commander in Chief of Unidade Intervesaun Rapida (UIR), Inocencio Araujo da Silva informed that the violence of burning houses and attacking each other by the youth groups has forced 114 families, mostly children and elderly people in Suco Fatuhada and Hudi Laran to seek refuge in UIR compound for protection and security. Furthermore, Inocencio stated that most of the refugees who have lost their houses have been staying at the compound for the last two weeks. The refugees are still not receiving sufficient humanitarian assistance yet. Meantime Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta who was at the PNTL UIR compound, presented his gratitude to Inocencio and his men for their kindness in giving protection and security to the refugees and pledged that the government will help members of the unit who are facing problems with food. He said the government will provide rice to the whole unit for them to effectively perform their duties. The rice will be distributed by the Ministry of Labour and Community Reinsertion. (TP)

Dialogue To Surrender Will Stop Capture - Prime Minister Ramos-Horta reportedly said that although the international forces continue the search to apprehend Reinado, if Alfredo sends a SMS or approaches the church to re-seek dialogue and follow the justice process, the operation to capture him will immediately cease. He said that there are possibilities for dialogue and that the point of the operation is not to kill him. He said the International Forces have orders not to fire first, noting that in Same, Alfredo's group fired first at the ISF helicopters which resulted in the death of four people. The Prime Minister said in the months that have passed President Xanana tried to persuade Alfredo to follow the justice system by holding many dialogues with him, which led to the President being accused of trying to hide Alfredo from the International Forces. He also said that rather than follow the advice from many including Bishop Belo, Alfredo decided to take more guns from the border posts, an act which cannot be accepted by the State, the President of the Republic and the Parliament. (DN)

MUNJ Gives Deadline To President Gusmão - Coordinator of Movimentu Unidade Nacional ba Justisa (MUNJ) Agusto Trindade Junior has given a 24 hour deadline to the President of the Republic to withdraw his order on the capture of Major Alfredo. Trindade Junior said if the demands are not met he will mobilize youth from all the districts to hold a protest in Dili against the ISF.

UNPOL Appeals For Public Support (TP) - United Nation Police (UNPOL) and PNTL appealed to all citizens to provide information about the suspect of Sergio Castro de Jesus knows as Sergio Ninja. Sergio Ninja escaped from the Becora prison on 17 February 2007 while he was awaiting trial for his attack and sexual abuses. Sergio Ninja is the fifth prisoner which police have not yet captured

UNPOL and PNTL officers said that since he escaped from the Becora Prison, Sergio has been seen around various parts of Dili. The police are seeking public assistance to localize and to arrest Sergio.

JSMP Demands Better Justice in TL - Justice System Monitoring Program (JSMP) appeals to the United Nations in Timor Leste UNMIT to improve the justice in Timor Leste. According to JSMP justice sectors in the Districts of Baucau, Oecussi, Suai and Dili still are not functioning properly due to political interference.
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 03- 05 March 2007

FSI Shot Four During Operation - The operation in Same early Sunday morning left four armed people dead. According to Brigadier General Rerden no member of ISF were injured or killed. Salsinha Gastão, the petitioners' spokesperson, who is currently in the area of Manufahi, affirmed that he does not know the whereabouts of Alfredo as they have escaped separately.

In a separate article, Salsinha reportedly told Timor Post, via mobile interview soon after the ISF operation that the State no longer has the capacity to resolve the military problem, which has been almost a year and is now resorting to the international forces for help. He stresses that the International Forces are here to protect the population and not to kill as they are doing to people who are defending the rights and the dignity of the people who have not found justice. He blames the State for ordering the International Forces operation which killed four people, stressing that since the international forces have separated the group, the path to surrender and hand in the guns would have to be requested from the population. On the operation on Sunday morning Gastão said the ISF fired first, not enabling them to retaliate and all they did was try to escape. The petitioners' spokesperson said the group is waiting for the ISF to catch them as they are not willing to surrender. Salsinha recalls that the group had dinner together before the attack and around 1am the ISF black hawk airplane started flying on top of their residence and their focus was on the plane. In the meantime, the ISF had moved by land and got close to them when one of the Alfredo's members, a military police called Deolindo Barros, told the ISF members to move back but they ignored his plea and starting running zig zag and fired straight at Deolindo. Salsinha Gastão said he doesn't know whether Deolindo is dead or alive.

According to STL correspondent in Same, two of Alfredo's members are now receiving medical treatment from the nuns in Same as a result of the operation. They are a UIR member called Neckson from Ermera District and Deolindo. According to sources from Same, a member of the ISF was also targeted but it is unknown whether the person was injured or killed. (STL, TP)

President Maintains Decision to Capture - President Xanana Gusmão has maintained the decision for the Australian Forces to apprehend Alfredo adding that there is no other way for Alfredo but to surrender and hand in all the weapons. SRSG Atul Khare has reportedly said that the position of UNMIT is consistent with the government of Timor-Leste to capture Reinado. (STL)

Sympathizers Run Amuck Following Operations - Sympathizers of Alfredo Reinado have protested against the International Forces for failing killing the people. The supporters also appealed to the leaders of Timor-Leste and the International Forces to withdraw ISF troops, stressing that they are prepared to die in support of Alfredo. They rejected President Xanana's appeal which stated that efforts are continuing to apprehend Alfredo. (TP)

Prosecutor General Met Alfredo - Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro met with Major Alfredo in Same last Friday in the capacity as State messenger. According to STL, the area occupied by Alfredo was surrounded by Australian troops and Reinado remained calm while discussing his surrender. The operation by ISF took place Sunday following Alfredo's decision not to accept the State proposal to surrender. STL reported that Australian troops were equipped with armoured tanks and Black Hawk helicopters (STL, TP)

F-FDTL Will Be Stationed At Border: Vice MI Agosto Sequeira - Vice-Minister of Interior Agostinho Sequeira Somoco reportedly said that F-FDTL would be stationed at the borders because Indonesia has their troops, the Indonesian National Military, TNI also at the border. Somoco said heavy sanctions will apply against BPU officers who have cooperated with Alfredo but the decision is pending on the investigation, adding that the situation in Tunu Bibi is now under control. (STL)

Xanana Must Be Ashamed In Relation Statement: Lu-Olo - President of Fretilin, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo said President Xanana Gusmão should be ashamed of himself for the statement he made on Monday 26/2 stating that guns remain in the hands of some Fretilin members in Ermera. He said there is no strong evidence to support the statement just as there was no evidence to support allegations against the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. (TP)
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Gangs on anti-Australian rampage in Dili - The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday, March 6, 2007Lindsay Murdoch in Dili and agencies GANGS of youths armed with sticks and rocks were roaming Dili last night chanting "Down with Australians". About 20 youths attacked the Dili Club, a restaurant-bar owned by an Australian and popular with foreigners, roughing up patrons before United Nations police arrived. No one was seriously injured.

Security alerts sent to foreigners in the East Timorese capital yesterday warned that gangs were roaming the streets looking for Australians. Embassies last night issued warnings that foreigners were likely to be targeted and that their citizens should not leave their homes after nightfall. UN police arrested 15 people in 24 hours for violent offences. They also dispersed 500 people trying to protest outside the fortified Australian embassy.

In an attempt to stop the sharply escalating violence, the East Timorese President, Xanana Gusmao, last night increased the powers of
security forces. In a televised address to the nation, Mr Gusmao announced that Australian and New Zealand soldiers and UN police now had sweeping additional powers, including stopping and searching anyone and entering homes.

The sudden increase in security powers came after the former prime minister Mari Alkatiri blamed Australian soldiers for failing to capture the rebel leader Alfredo Reinado because they did not ask local people for help.

Mr Alkatiri said he had advised the Australians when they surrounded Reinado and up to 150 heavily armed men in the mountain town of Same last week that they would need the support of locals to capture him. "Timorese know the terrain much better than the Australians," Mr Alkatiri said. "But they did not ask for co-operation from the locals."

The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, said in Jakarta yesterday that the Government was planning to evacuate Australian embassy staff and their families who wanted to leave. Mr Downer said he had authorised the voluntary departure for non-emergency staff from the embassy.

"The deteriorating security situation in East Timor is a matter of serious concern to the Australian Government," Mr Downer said. "The security situation is volatile and there is a high risk of violent civil unrest. There is an increasing likelihood that Australians could be specifically targeted."

After the failed attack by Australian soldiers on Sunday, Reinado fled further into the central mountains. In a 90-minute gun battle, Australian troops killed four of his men. The Australian troops used night vision equipment and were backed by helicopters and armoured carriers. Since leading a mass escape last August from Dili's main jail, where he was being held on murder and rebellion charges, Reinado, a former major in the Timorese army, has used the media to taunt and mock the Australian and other security forces trying to capture him. But he has not contacted any journalists since the attack.

The commander of Australia's 800-strong contingent in Timor, Mal Rerden, declined to comment yesterday on what he referred to on Sunday as an "ongoing operation" to capture Reinado. Mr Downer said he did not want East Timor's most wanted man killed - just caught. "That is the challenge for us, not to kill him," he said.
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East Timor's president invokes emergency powers to quell unrest in capital - By GUIDO GOULART Associated Press Writer DILI, East Timor, March 5 (AP) - East Timor's president invoked emergency powers on Monday to quell unrest after hundreds of young men blockaded roads with burning tires and concrete blocks, demanding that foreign troops pull out. Australia said it would evacuate nonessential government workers and the U.S. issued a travel warning.

Security in the tiny Asian nation deteriorated after international forces backed by helicopters launched a pre-dawn raid Sunday on the mountain hide-out of fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, killing four of his followers and sending others fleeing into the jungle.

Reinado, heavily armed and wanted on murder charges, was among those who escaped.

"The state will use all legal means, including force, to stop violence and prevent destruction of property and killing, and to restore law and order," President Xanana Gusmao said in a national address, giving peacekeepers and police the right to carry out arrests and searches without warrants. He also granted them special powers to break up public gatherings.

East Timor, which broke from Indonesia in 1999 after 24 years of occupation, was plunged into crisis a year ago when factional fighting broke out between police and army forces. The clashes spilled into the streets, where looting, arson and gang warfare left at least 37 dead and sent 155,000 people fleeing their homes.

Relative calm was restored with the arrival of more than 2,700 foreign peacekeepers and the installation of a new government headed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta, but dozens of people have been killed in recent months primarily in fighting between rival gangs. There also has been an increase in looting, robbery, arson, assault and attacks on vehicles, raising concerns that a presidential election scheduled for next month could turn violent. Much of the recent anger has been directed at Australian troops, who killed two Timorese men in a clash last month and led the deadly raid against Reinado. Rock-hurling protesters demanded Monday that international forces go home.

Hundreds blocked roads across the capital in support of the rebel leader, one holding a banner that said, "We, the young people, are prepared to die alongside Alfredo." "The situation in Dili is tense," said U.N. police spokeswoman Monica Rodrigues. "There are many groups, the majority of them youths, demonstrating in support of Alfredo."

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said nonessential government staff would be evacuated and that Australians were at a greater risk of being attacked after last month's shooting. "The security situation is volatile and there is a high risk of violent civil unrest," he said in a statement. Downer renewed calls for Reinado to surrender, saying that Australian forces would otherwise capture him.

The United States has advised its citizens to avoid the town of Same, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Dili, where the raid was conducted.

Reinado, who deserted the army with around 600 other soldiers early last year, escaped from jail in August. He threatened to launch a campaign against the government after Sunday's raid, according to one of his aides, Gastao Salsinha. "This attack shows that the government has no capacity to solve our problem," said Salsinha, who is also on the run after surviving the assault. "Now it's ordering international troops to attack and kill our members." Associated Press reporter Anthony Deutsch in Jakarta contributed to this article.
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Gusmao may impose state of emergency in E Timor By Mark Willacy ABC News Service March 5, 2007. 10:28pm (AEDT) - East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao has threatened to impose a state of emergency to stop an outbreak of civil unrest.

Alfredo Reinado slipped through a ring of Australian soldiers who surrounded his compound in the town of Same, south of Dili, on the weekend. The former East Timorese army officer is now on the run in rugged mountain country. His exploits have helped to spark renewed unrest in the capital, with protesters chanting slogans in support of Reinado outside the Australian embassy in Dili and youths throwing rocks at UN cars.

Fearing an outbreak of violence, President Gusmao has vowed to use all legal means to pursue the rebel leader. He is also threatening to announce a state of emergency if violence intensifies and if criminal gangs continue to harass people.

The Defence Force Association says it is too early to tell if public support for Australian peacekeepers in East Timor will dissipate after the weekend's raid. The executive director of the Defence Force Association, Neil James, says it will make the job of the force harder, but he says they would not have taken the step unless absolutely necessary. "You can't solve this problem by military force, there has to be a political and constitutional solution within the Timorese people," he said. "You can't impose a solution from outside because then you very much become part of the problem."

Evacuations - Meanwhile staff at the Australian Embassy in East Timor are being allowed to evacuate amid the worsening security situation. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has authorised the voluntary departure of family and non-emergency staff from the embassy. Australians in general are being urged to consider leaving the country and tourists are being told not to travel there.

National Movement for Justice - Meanwhile the National Movement for Justice say East Timor's Prime Minister cancelled a trip to Same planned by its delegates that was approved by Mr Gusmao.Members of the movement met with Mr Gusmao on Saturday to talk about an alternative approach to capturing Reinado. The group says East Timor's Prime Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, cancelled their flight into Same with the Australian Army after the meeting had occurred. One its members, Augusto Junior Trendada, says the group wants peace in the country and is not affiliated with any political party. "All are youth, academic, chairs, Muslim, Protestant, all people involved in Timor Leste involved in the National Unity Movement,' he said. "But not one political. All Timorese who want to stabilise the justice in Timor Leste."
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Australia evacuates East Timor embassy - 05 Mar 2007 11:01:41 GMT Reuters SYDNEY, March 5 (Reuters) - Australia announced on Monday it would evacuate non-emergency staff and families from its East Timor embassy due to deteriorating security after thousands of angry supporters of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado staged protests. "The deteriorating security situation in East Timor is a matter of serious concern to the Australian government," Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in a statement on Monday.

"I have today authorised the voluntary departure of dependants and non-emergency staff from the Australian embassy in East Timor," Downer said.

Reinado, who led a revolt last year that plunged the fledgling nation into chaos, escaped a raid on his Same base on Saturday by Australian-led international peacekeeping forces in which four people were killed. Reinado's supporters gathered in the heart of Dili on Monday, shouting "Long Live Alfredo". They denounced President Xanana Gusmao, who ordered security forces to arrest Reinado following accusations the former army major led a raid on a police post and made off with 25 automatic weapons and ammunition last month.

His supporters burnt tyres and threw stones to protest against the raid. Armed peacekeepers dispersed the crowds with Reinado's supporters replying with threats to continue protesting until Gusmao withdrew his arrest order.

Downer said his foreign affairs department was advising against all travel to East Timor and advised Australians in East Timor who are concerned for their safety to consider departing. "The security situation is volatile and there is a high risk of violent civil unrest. There is an increasing likelihood that Australians could be specifically targeted," Downer said. He said he was particularly concerned for the safety of Australians, including journalists, who might be considering travel to the town of Same, where the International Security Forces were searching for Reinado. "The situation in this area is particularly dangerous and Australians should not travel there. I urge all Australians to heed the travel advice," he said.

The standoff between Reinado and the troops has raised fears of violence ahead of a presidential election next month.

East Timor voted in a 1999 referendum for independence from Indonesia, which had annexed it after Portugal ended its colonial rule in 1975. The country became fully independent in 2002 after a period of U.N. administration. But an east-west divide in the nation erupted into chaos and gang violence last May following the sacking of 600 soldiers.
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Protests in East Timor after raid on army rebel - DILI, March 5 (Reuters) - Thousands of angry supporters of East Timor rebel leader Alfredo Reinado burnt tyres and threw stones in the capital on Monday to protest against a raid by international troops on the fugitive's hideout. Reinado, who led a revolt that plunged the fledgling nation into chaos last year, escaped Saturday's raid on his Same base by an Australian-led international peacekeeping forces in which four people were killed.

Supporters gathered in the heart of Dili, shouting "Long Live Alfredo", and denounced President Xanana Gusmao, who ordered security forces to arrest Reinado following accusations the former army major led a raid on a police post and made off with 25 automatic weapons and ammunition last month.

Armed peacekeepers patrolled the streets and tried to disperse the crowds, but Reinado's supporters said they would not call off their protest until Gusmao withdrew his arrest order.

"You better go back to your country instead of making people suffer," said one of Reinado's angry supporters, pointing to Australian peackeeping troops.

Streets emptied as international police moved to secure the city and protesters blocked roads with wrecked cars, preventing government officials from going to work, a Reuters witness said.

"It's nothing that hasn't been anticipated and it's certainly nothing that can't be responded to," Alison Cooper, a spokeswoman for the U.N. mission in East Timor, told Australian radio.

Troops are still searching for Reinado, who has been on the run since he escaped from jail in East Timor's capital Dili in August along with 50 other inmates. He has denied any of his men were killed in the raid.

After Saturday's raid, Gusmao urged Reinado to surrender, saying the government would treat him with respect. But Reinado has said he will not surrender to international troops.

"NO SURRENDER"

"I will only surrender to the law, not to any international power," Reinado told Reuters on Saturday. "I will not surrender for the president and prime minister's interest. I will surrender only for the peoples' interest."

Australia, which has 800 troops in East Timor, said Reinado was a threat East Timor's security and should surrender. "It is preferable that that threat be neutralised. But the objective obviously is to take him into custody," Prime Minister John Howard told Australian television.

Reinado has made several public appearances since the escape, including a meeting with the country's military chief. Security forces did not make any attempt to arrest him. The standoff between Reinado and the troops has raised fears of violence ahead of a presidential election next month.

Indonesia has temporarily closed its border with East Timor to prevent Reinado and his group sneaking into Indonesian territory at the request of East Timor's government.

Australia has warned of increased violence ahead of the poll after clashes between its peacekeepers and East Timorese refugees left two civilians dead last month. East Timor voted in a 1999 referendum for independence from Indonesia, which annexed it after Portugal ended its colonial rule in 1975. The country became fully independent in 2002 after a period of U.N. administration. But an east-west divide in the impoverished nation erupted into chaos and gang violence in May following the sacking of 600 soldiers. High youth unemployment also plagues the country, where more than 100,000 people are displaced. (Additional reporting by Rob Taylor in Canberra)
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Timor erupts as rebel flees deadly raid Sydney Morning Herald Lindsay Murdoch and Mark Forbes in East Timor March 5, 2007 SECURITY forces in East Timor were bracing last night for escalating violence after Australian soldiers killed four Timorese men in a botched raid to capture the rebel leader Alfredo Reinado. After Reinado humiliated the Australians early yesterday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, who is in Indonesia, warned that the soldiers would capture the rebel dead or alive. "Every effort will be made to capture him alive, but I think the best advice I can give Major Reinado is to surrender. He can hide in the jungle for only so long," he said.

The United Nations yesterday ordered police in East Timor's provincial towns to the capital, Dili, to reinforce the more than 1000 UN police already deployed there.

As dusk fell last night, Reinado's supporters were again gathering across the city, after riots earlier in the day. People enraged by the raid had also rioted in the towns of Gleno and Ermera. The rebel leader humiliated the soldiers when he and some of his men escaped from a hilltop base during a 90-minute gun battle. Australian personnel were last night hunting Reinado on foot in East Timor's rugged central mountains. He fled the base in the town of Same as dozens of soldiers, backed by two Black Hawk helicopters and three armoured personnel carriers, launched an attack in darkness early yesterday. But the Australian-trained rebel knew they were coming and had sent at least six phone messages to journalists and diplomats. "We are on alert to take any kind of attack," he said shortly before the assault. Reinado and an unknown number of his men managed to escape even though the Australians were more heavily armed, had the benefit of night-vision equipment and had blockaded the base for six days.

Gastao Salsinha, the commander of 700 soldiers sacked from East Timor's army last year, told the Herald from a village where he was hiding yesterday that after his escape he and his men had now "dedicated our lives" to fight for the rights of East Timor's 1 million people. "How can the Australians come here and create instability?" he asked. Salsinha said he escaped with two bodyguards and seven youths as the Australians stormed the base firing automatic weapons, but did not say how. He said he did not know what had happened to Reinado, but would not be surprised if he had been wounded in the fierce battle.

The rebel leader's escape emboldened his supporters, who chanted "long live Reinado" as they fought running battles with UN police on the streets of Dili.

Rioters trashed cars and two government buildings in Dili and Gleno, a small town in East Timor's coffee-growing western mountains where Reinado grew up. His escape will also boost the popularity of the former head of East Timor's military police, already a cult-hero figure throughout the country. Banners and placards declaring him a hero were put up yesterday in many of Dili's suburbs.

The Howard Government, fearing widespread violence, possibly even civil war, flew a 100-strong contingent of SAS troops to East Timor less than 24 hours before the attack, which had the approval of the Timorese Government. Australia already had 800 soldiers in the country, serving with 120 New Zealanders in what is called the International Security Force. The force's commander, Mal Rerden, said in Dili that soldiers killed the four Timorese men because they were armed and "posed an unpredictable threat."

"We don't have him," a grim Brigadier Rerden told journalists, referring to Reinado. "We are continuing the operation to capture him."

Brigadier Rerden denied the operation had been botched, but declined to give details. "Any operation is a series of phases - this operation is ongoing and it will succeed," he said. Brigadier Rerden said his troops had cleared Reinado's base and captured some prisoners. He declined to say how many.

Since Tuesday Reinado had been mocking the Australian soldiers dug in at the edge of Same, saying he had a comfortable bed and could watch television while they were sitting in the bush getting bitten by mosquitoes.

In telephone conversations with the Herald, Reinado repeatedly warned that East Timor would plunge into civil war if the Australian troops attacked him. He told the Timorese Prosecutor-General, Longuinhos Monteiro, on Saturday that he would surrender on the condition that he would be able to take care of his own security in Dili while waiting to testify at a specially convened tribunal about his role in violent upheaval last year.

The government in Dili rejected the condition. Wanted on charges of murder and rebellion, Reinado has been on the run since he led a mass escape from Dili's main jail last year. Only hours after yesterday's attack, East Timor's President, Xanana Gusmao, appealed for calm in a televised address to the nation, saying "the interests of the state are bigger than any one person or group".

Mr Gusmao asked Brigadier Rerden to mount an operation to capture Reinado after he had led a raid on police border posts last weekend and seized 25 high-powered weapons and other military equipment. He promised Reinado that if he and his men surrendered "the state will look after their dignity". "But there is no other way … the only way is to hand over their weapons and surrender."

Brigadier Rerden also made a new appeal for Reinado to hand over his weapons and surrender. He said if Reinado did not surrender the consequences would be his responsibility.

Mr Downer denied the failure to capture Reinado and increased unrest on the streets of Dili threatened plans to hold elections next month for a new Timorese president. "You can't have a situation in the face of the strongly expressed preference of the Prime Minister, President and president of the parliament, where a renegade former military officer is able to raid police stations, take weapons from police stations, which they have done, and basically build an armed compound," Mr Downer said.

Speaking on his arrival in Indonesia yesterday for a counter-terrorism summit, Mr Downer said a written request for Australian troops to apprehend Reinado had come signed by Mr Gusmao and the Timorese Prime Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta.
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Anger festering under the surface like a boil ready to burst - Alex Dalley in Dili March 5, 2007 GUNSHOTS in the distance woke us at 2.30am. My partner Megan was persistently shaking me, and when I heard the slow repetitive gunfire I was wide awake. It was coming from several directions at once, some faint and far off, some much louder and nearby.

Our suburb in Dili is the leafy old establishment neighbourhood of Kuluhun. Our house is on a slight rise, so the sounds at night are always clear. People do not stray far from their home turf in East Timor, particularly at the moment, and the local kids sit on the corner. Their songs and yelling often rouse me in the night, so I am used to hearing loud bangs in my sleep and dozing off quickly.

Gunfire is different. The adrenaline kicks in once you realise what it is. During last year's soccer World Cup I heard gunfire and jumped out of bed. I was up packing a backpack yelling "This is it, it's time to go" before I realised that Italy had won the trophy and the noise was fireworks.

After hearing real gunfire, deep sleep is impossible, so there was plenty of time for reflection as Megan and I tried to get back to sleep. I kept thinking about getting more information.

Most of the foreigners in East Timor are on a network called the "security tree". This is a list of mobile phones that circulate messages with updates from sources such as the United Nations police, World Bank Australian volunteer co-ordinators and various embassies. Some of this information is correct and timely but much of it is vague and late.

At 3am I received a message from UN police saying there was heavy fighting in three suburbs closer to the government and business centre. It was a relief to hear that it was quite a distance away, but much more concerning was that the fighting was between international forces and armed Timorese. This was a first.

One of the young men I work with explained it best. We were talking about the trial of the former interior minister Rogerio Lobato, and how people were feeling about the process. He said there was anger throughout East Timor. He described his anger as a giant boil that was festering under the surface, still building but not yet ready to burst.

As I write this, children still play outside my house. The never ending sweeping of the street continues. But in the distance I can hear bangs or gunfire and I worry that the boil is ready to burst.

Alex Dalley is an Australian agriculturalist who has been working in East Timor since March 2004.
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Reinado can't hide indefinitely: Downer - By Geoff Thompson ABC News Online Monday, March 5, 2007. 9:07am (AEDT) The United Nations (UN) mission in East Timor says its police are bracing for trouble after yesterday's deadly assault on supporters of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado.Australian troops killed four supporters when they attempted to capture the rebel leader, south of the capital Dili. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says that the time for negotiation with Major Reinado is over. But he insists Australian troops have no desire to kill the rebel leader. Mr Downer has urged Major Reinado to surrender as soon as possible, saying cannot hide out in the jungle indefinitely. Mr Downer also says Major Reinado's recent raids on police stations forced international security forces and the East Timorese Government to act. "The fact that he and his cohorts managed to obtain quite a large number of weapons and high powered weapons - so in that sort of an environment, where they started raiding police stations, well action had to be taken," he said. Alison Cooper, a spokeswoman for the UN mission in East Timor, says the UN's police are well prepared for trouble in the capital. "It's nothing that hasn't been anticipated and it's certainly nothing that can't be responded to," she said. Hundreds of Major Reinado's supporters protested near the Australian Embassy yesterday.
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GLW: Protests after Australian troops kill East Timorese youths - Vannessa Hearman 2 March 2007 Australian soldiers fired on three youths in Dili on February 23. One youth died at the scene ­ a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) near Dili Airport. The others were injured; one later died in hospital. An Australian Defence Department statement claimed that the soldiers had fired in self-defence on two occasions, which occurred when they “responded to a disturbance” at the IDP camp. The youths allegedly fired at the soldiers with steel arrows, which were “potentially lethal weapons”, the ADF statement said.

Brigadier Mal Rerden, Commander of the Joint Forces in East Timor, has claimed that “attacks against international forces” were orchestrated to try to destabilise the country. On February 24, the Australian newspaper reported Rerden said, “We are aware that some elements do think that the future of East Timor is better served by not having international elements who are neutral and impartial operating in the country.”

On February 25, a funeral convoy of a few hundred people took place in Dili for the two slain youths. The route took them past the Australian embassy and cars and trucks were adorned with banners, some of them reading, “Australian Army, get out”.

UN police have been arresting people for organising what they term “illegal demonstrations”. The UN News Service reported that two protesters were arrested on February 20 “for organizing an unauthorized demonstration, while UNPOL [UN police] is on alert for another demonstration planned for the capital on February [21]”. It is unclear which demonstrations are being targeted by the police.

Pre-election rallies by Fretilin have been occurring in many parts of East Timor, such as in Baucau, Gleno (Ermera District), Oecussi and Same. In Oecussi, more than 10,000 people rallied in support of Fretilin, whose presidential candidate is Francisco Guterres (Lu’Olo), the parliamentary speaker. Fretilin has complained that these rallies are being attacked or threatened by provocateurs.

President Xanana Gusmao’s go-ahead for Australian soldiers to arrest Major Alfredo Reinado, who deserted the Timorese Defence Force last year during the country’s crisis, shifted attention from the killings of the youths to the Australian Defence Force operations against the rebel soldier and his supporters.

Reinado and his supporters had been allowed to remain “holed up” in various places, including Ermera and Same, following their escape from Becora Prison last year. Gusmao’s decision came after February 25 raids on police stations in Maliana and Suai districts in which police weapons were stolen.

The IDP camp killings came amid increased crackdowns on gang activities in Dili. During February, more than 100 arrests were made. On January 31 alone, 47 people were arrested in one night. Weapon searches were also conducted by UN Police and Australian troops. On February 20, six houses were burned and one person killed following a dispute in Kampung Alor, Dili. In response to the recent increase in unrest, 5000 people have left their homes and four more IDP camps have been created to cater for the increased numbers of the internally displaced.

Some of the increased unrest has been blamed on shortages of rice. On February 20, the UN announced that UNPOL was investigating the theft of 700 bags of rice from a World Food Program warehouse. Following the theft, the WFP suspended the rice distribution program.

To ease the rice shortages, the Timorese government began selling rice “lent” to them by the WFP on February 23. Estanislau da Silva, the agricultural minister and deputy prime minister, rejected allegations from anti-Fretilin Catholic priest Domingos Soares that the government was hoarding rice supplies and providing it only to Fretilin supporters. Da Silva said rice shortages were due to the timing of harvests in Thailand and Vietnam and that the country had sufficient potato and maize supplies to avoid starvation.

On February 22 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1745, extending the mandate of the UN mission in East Timor for a further 12 months and boosting UN police by 140 during the period before and after the April 9 presidential election. The “United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste” was created in August last year following the country’s crisis. Its mandate will now expire on February 26, 2008.

Confirmed presidential candidates so far are Lu’Olo; current prime minister Jose Ramos Horta; lawyer Lucia Lobato; MP Joao Carrascalao of the Timorese Democratic Union party; Fernando de Araujo, an MP from the Democratic Party; Manuel Tilman, an MP from Association of Timorese Heroes (KOTA) party; and Avelino Coelho da Silva from the Socialist Party of Timor.

On February 8, Suara Timor Lorosae reported that Coelho’s key policies include “defending the economy for the people, as it is the main factor for social injustice in the country”. He promised that if he won, he would pressure the government and the parliament “to define the investment policies and become partner in the investment process with the population”.

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #<http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2007/701>701 7 March 2007. http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/701/36378
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ALP: Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs on ET  - JOURNALIST: Now just moving onto another topic now East Timor and the situation where Australian troops have apparently surrounded the rebel leader Major Renado. Have you been briefed on what is happening up here?

McCLELLAND: In fairness to the Minister for Defence as a matter of courtesy he let me know the other day that this was likely to occur and we have no issues with the courtesy that Brendan Nelson has extended there. It is dangerous all round obviously for our troops but also for Renado. I think it is fair to say our troops would like to apprehend him without any casualties obviously, but the events either way could have repercussions throughout throughout East Timor and that is still concerning that that place is so brittle in terms of domestic security.

JOURNALIST: But it is fair to say that something has to happen with that rebel leader one way or the other something has to happen before the elections are to be held next month?

McCLELLAND: Unquestionably. The actions of the Australians in agreeing to the request is something that we think is appropriate. There is no question that he is the subject of allegations of criminal conduct of course and to have someone in those circumstances at large, heavily armed and developing, if you like, their own centre of power challenging the Eat Timorese security forces is only potentially dangerous and clearly that situation has to be put to an end.

http://www.alp.org.au/media/0307/tvifa020.php <http://www.alp.org.au/people/nsw/mcclelland_robert.php> Robert McClelland - Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs TV Interview Sky News 2nd March 2007 [Timor excerpt only]
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ADF unable to confirm SAS report - Australian Associated Press Saturday, March 3, 2007 The Australian Defence Force (ADF) today said it could not confirm a report it had sent SAS soldiers to East Timor. The Sydney Morning Herald reported today the federal government had deployed a contingent of about 100 Special Air Service troops following a national security committee meeting in Canberra. The report from Dili said the move came in response to growing fears that violence will again erupt in East Timor, with Australians targeted. But an ADF spokesman today said there had been no announcement of an SAS deployment. "I'm unaware that there are SAS soldiers over there at the moment," the spokesman said. "(ADF) public affairs hasn't been informed of it. He said the ADF would always announce such a deployment of the SAS. The spokesman said there was a normal rotation of regular troops late last week which had not increased the Australian military presence in East Timor. About 800 Australian soldiers are in the troubled South-East Asian nation once occupied by Indonesia.
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Elite Australian troops arrive in East Timor: reports - Agence France-Presse Saturday, March 3, 2007 Up to 100 elite Australian troops have arrived in East Timor amid fears a tense stand-off between international forces and a wanted rebel leader could spark fresh violence, media reported Saturday. Four Australian Defence Force aircraft transported the contingent of Special Air Service (SAS) troops to the capital, Dili, following a national security committee meeting in Canberra, Fairfax newspapers reported.

The crack troops touched down as Australia raised its security alert to the highest level for hundreds of Australians in the country, and as Australian-led forces surrounded the hideout of rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado. East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao has accused Reinado of stealing 25 firearms on Sunday from police posts on the border with Indonesia and gave the international force the green light to capture the rebel.

Australian and United Nations security officials in Dili fear the breakout of widespread violence, possibly even civil war, if Australian soldiers kill or injure Reinado. Brigadier Mal Rerden, Commander of the Australian troops in East Timor, insisted the latest deployment was just part of a normal rotation to replace troops going home. "We're just at the start of a normal rotation period," he told Sky News.

Reinado was jailed over his role in the unrest that led to an Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) being called in last year, but escaped in a mass breakout from a Dili prison in August. Holed up in Same, 50 kilometres south of the capital, Dili, the rebel leader on Friday refused to negotiate with a senior government official by telephone, demanding face-to-face talks.

The rebel led a band of breakaway soldiers last April and May when battles between security factions degenerated into rampant gang violence. Around 37 people were killed and more than 150,000 fled their homes. The government then asked for international help and Australian-led peacekeepers were dispatched.
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SMH: Troops back up top security alert  - Sydney Morning Herald March 3, 2007 Lindsay Murdoch in Dili The Federal Government has sent a contingent of crack SAS soldiers to East Timor amid growing fears that violence will again erupt, and target Australians. Four Australian Defence Force aircraft landed in Dili carrying about 100 soldiers, deployed following a national security committee meeting in Canberra.

The arrival of the additional troops, who will back 800 Australian and 120 New Zealand troops already here, came as Australia lifted its security alert to five, the highest level, for hundreds of Australians in East Timor. Australian and United Nations security officials in Dili fear that widespread violence, possibly even civil war, could break out if Australian soldiers kill or injure the rebel leader, Alfredo Reinado, trapped with about 150 heavily armed men in a town in the central coffee-growing mountains.

Reinado, who has become a cult hero, said yesterday that if anything happens to him "people will violently rise up in their thousands". He claims to command 700 mutineering soldiers whose sacking last year sparked violent upheaval that left dozens of people dead and forced 100,000 people from their homes. Several hundred of his youth supporters around the country were also waiting for his orders, he said.

"People will start killing each other if anything happens to me," Reinado said by telephone from the town of Same, which is blockaded by dozens of Australian soldiers. "There will be civil war."

Reinado, the Australian-trained former head of East Timor's military police, said his supporters were not ready to fight because of his popularity but because "of what I am fighting for". Reinado, wanted for murder and rebellion, claims the East Timorese Government is corrupt and the presence in the

country of Australian and New Zealand troops is an illegal invasion.

A new attempt by East Timor's leaders to convince Reinado to surrender failed yesterday when Australian soldiers refused to allow the country's Prosecutor-General, Longuinhos Monteiro, to enter Same. Reiando became angry when Mr Monteiro phoned him and said he wanted to meet to pass on a message from the Government urging him to surrender, but that he did not have the authority to negotiate a deal. "I didn't want to speak with a postman, I wanted to speak with the Prosecutor-General," Reinado said. "They are all trying to manipulate me."

The commander of Australian troops in East Timor, Mal Rerden, declined to comment yesterday about additional SAS troops in Dili. Brigadier-General Rerden repeated his earlier demand for Reinado to hand over his weapons and present himself to East Timor's judicial system.

But he said his troops are "supporting the Government … in every possible way to find a peaceful resolution to the situation." General Rerden described the lifting of Australia's security alert as a "prudent measure". It was justified by the actions of Reinado who had broken off negotiations with the government and led raids on police border posts last weekend, seizing 25 high powered weapons, he said. "His acts were deliberate and quite significant and that naturally creates concern," General Rerden said.
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UNMIT Daily Media Review 2 March 2007

Labadain Accused of Defamation - Marcus Piedade, also known as Labadain has been summoned by the Prosecutor General's office to give information about a letter allegedly signed by him accusing Minister of Justice Domingos Sarmento of illegal possession of two guns during the crisis. Labadain said he is not aware of such a letter. He said that he did see the Minister in Railako during the crisis with his armed close protection guards but he did not say anything due to the Minister's high level post. In the meantime, the Minister Domingos Sarmento said the truth will be dealt with when they meet in court. (TP)

Candidates Cannot Use State Facilities - The spokesperson of National Electoral Commission/Conselho Nacional Eleitoral (CNE), Fr. Martinho Gusmão asks the people contesting the presidential elections not to use State facilities or their campaign and not to insult each to avoid anarchism sentiment and unexpected crisis. He said the election campaign process is still a learning process for the population in terms of political aspects and that the candidates at a point would be required to suspend their duties to be able to be involved in their campaign. He said that candidates should avoid using the State facilities for their private campaign and should not use UNPOL police officers. The CNE spokesperson said if security is allocated, it should be for all the candidates. (STL)

Lu-Olo and Ramos-Horta Continue to Work - The President of the Court of Appeal, Claudio Ximenes, reportedly said he has made the decision for presidential candidates such as Prime Minister Ramos-Horta and President of the Parliament, Francisco Guterres, to continue function in their current capacities during the election process. Ximenes said the decision was based on the decree law noting that work cannot be stopped. (STL)
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RTTL News Headlines Thursday, 01 March 2007

High Ranking F-FDTL Officials Meets President Gusmão - High-ranking F-FDTL commander met with President Gusmão today [Thursday] to discuss the sincere dialogue with the petitioners following the release of Notables Commission investigation report. President Gusmão said it was also decided during the meeting that two dialogues should take place. One would be between F-FDTL and the petitioners and the second would be within F-FDTL.

Prosecutor General to Meet Alfredo on State Request - Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro said he is awaiting the response from Alfredo to meet him as the State negotiator and not as Prosecutor General. Following a meeting with ISF commander Brigadier Malcolm Rerden, Prime Minister Ramos-Horta and President Xanana Gusmão at the Palacio das Cinzas, Monteiro said the negotiation would be on the surrender of Alfredo or the hand over of guns.

No Negotiations with Alfredo - ISF Commander Rerden said there is no longer negotiation with Alfredo and if he cares about the population he should give himself up and the weapons. Rerden said a deadline has not been determined for Alfredo's surrender adding that it is at the government's request to limit the movement of the citizens in Same.
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EAST TIMOR: Rebel standoff continues - Connect Asia East Timor has officially asked Australian-led international troops to arrest rebel leader Alfredo Reinado. International force commander, Brigadier Mal Rerden, says Major Renaido should prove his leadership through a peaceful outcome.

Presenter - Sen Lam, Speaker - Brigadier Mal Rerden, commander, International Stabilisation Forces

RERDEN: The situation on the ground is in control. We have contained the situation. We have a sizeable force in location to make sure that he stays where he is.

LAM: Well, you told a media conference yesterday, that you had only one message to Renaido, and that is all he has to do is surrender, that he should give up his weapons, and to submit himself to the justice process of Timor Leste. So there is no room for negotiation then?

RERDEN: Eh, the president of Timor Leste in a public statement on Monday night here in Timor Leste, made it very clear that Reinado's actions on the weekend had clearly crossed the line and that he had no option as the president to call on Reinado to give up his weapons and to surrender completely, that there was no room for negotiations any longer. And the prime minister, the government of Timor Leste has been making every possible effort over the last three or four months through formal negotiations with Reinado to resolve the situation.

LAM: And yet the crisis seemed to have escalated certainly a couple of days ago, when Reinado was saying that he was ready to die with his men. Now he seems to be a little bit more conciliatory and saying that he would like to talk. So you're saying that there is no room for talking now, that it's too late?

RERDEN: Oh I'm saying that the government of Timor Leste has a very clear position and there is always room for Alfredo Renaido to indicate his preparedness to put down his weapons. There's always room for him to hand himself in to the authorities and for him to put himself before the justice process. But if he doesn't do that, that is his decision and he must accept the consequences of that decision.

LAM: How long do you expect this stand off to continue? Is the force ready to move in soon?

RERDEN: Well, I'm not able to go into operational matters. Obviouslyt hat's very sensitive and those sorts of details can't bediscussed.

LAM: Well, I'm only asking you that, because Renaido yesterday said that he's ready to shoot at anyone who tries to capture him. So do you think the bloodshed might be unavoidable then, given the circumstances, because he's not coming out?

RERDEN: Our mission in East Timor is to support the government of Timor Leste and the United Nations in providing a stable and secure environment for the people of East Timor to resolve their differences peacefully. And in every security situation, every incident that we encounter on the ground here, we look for a peaceful outcome as our prime objective. And we will do the same in this situation. But there is a point at which sometimes every effort can be made with and not necessarily achieve that outcome.

LAM: And Brigadier, what can you tell us about the fate of civilians inthe Same area? We've had reports that at least 100 civilians had fled tothe bush. What can you tell us about the situation there?

RERDEN: Yeah, no the situation is calm. The civilians inside Same have had the opportunity to leave if they so wish. We have in fact over the last two days facilitated the movement of over 50 civilians, both international and national who had wanted to leave the town and we've allowed that to happen and help them move out of the town.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/s1861366.htm
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UNMIT: Police Request Assistance from Timorese Public to Apprehend Prison Escapee 02 March 2007, Dili--United Nations Police (UNPol) and PNTL are requesting Timorese citizens to supply any known information about the whereabouts of the escaped suspect Sergio Castro de Jesus, also known as Sergio Ninja. De Jesus escaped from Becora Prison on 17th February 2007 while awaiting trial for a number of rape and assault cases. UNPOL and PNTL officers are aware that since his escape, de Jesus remains in the Dili area and has been seen in a number of locations including Vila Verde, Bairo Pite, Motael and Kampung Baru. UNPOL and PNTL officers from the Dili District Investigation Unit are seeking assistance from the general public to help them locate and apprehend de Jesus. Anyone with information is requested to contact Dili Investigators at the Dili Police Station in Caicoli at 7230365. Alternatively, information can be passed to UNPOL via any police station, patrol unit or by calling the 112 emergency number. For additional information, please contact: Allison Cooper, Spokesperson at 723 0453
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Tragedy in the making - The Bulletin Thursday, March 1, 2007 Australian troops have been sent to arrest a folk hero in East Timor. The renegade army officer is now threatening to kill any Australian soldiers who come near him. Paul Toohey reports.

Reinado is tense and very angry. It is Wednesday morning and he is holed up in Same, on the south side of East Timor. He is furious that
Australian SAS troops have surrounded him and says he will "take down any Australian in my line of fire". Major Alfredo Reinado is walking a delicate line between hero and renegade. As the leader of East Timor's military police, he deserted last year with a small band in disgust after East Timorese soldiers in the F-FDTL - the army - had fired upon unarmed protesting civilians.

Reinado spoke for the people and won widespread sympathy for his argument that the army was there to protect, not shoot, civilians. But when he started engaging in firefights with the F-FDTL, he was eventually arrested for murder. Reinado and others escaped from Dili's Becora prison in August, last year, although the situation was farcical. Australian peacekeepers stayed in touch with him and there appeared to be a loose agreement to let him wander, so long as he did not use his weapons.

Then, on Sunday, it was claimed Reinado and his men robbed two police compounds, stealing weapons. President Xanana Gusmao lost patience and ordered the Australians to bring him in. And that is where The Bulletin found him on Wednesday, in Same, talking - or, to be precise, yelling - down the line as Australians surrounded him.

"I'm still alive," says Reinado. "The Australian troops want to take my life, maybe today, maybe later. There's a special force, surrounding me. There are helicopters landing in the cornfields, women and children are leaving their houses. "Why are they doing this? People very hungry, there's not enough food, and the helicopter lands and destroys all the food in the cornfield? Is that good? Are they going to save us from this communist government of East Timor? I'm very sad, my friend, at the moment I'm very sad."

Reinado was trained in part by the Australian military and is regarded as a highly capable soldier. But he came to despise deposed East Timorese prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, and has come to see his successor, Jose Ramos Horta, as no better. "Ramos Horta and Mari Alkatiri are the founders of the Fretilin communist government," he says. "They have been communists since 1975, but they wear a democratic mask. The East Timorese government is supporting communism -- it still continues to this day. Ramos Horta makes this crisis more and more worse.

"They didn't care about the life of the people, the constitution of the nation, and your government allows troops to come here and support this communist government. It's for the oil and gas - that's why they [Australia] are here. "East Timorese and Australians, once you could never separate them. Now they are separated. My situation is I'm surrounded by Australian troops. I have a message for Australian people: we still like you in our hearts. "I don't want my country to be dirtied by the blood of any of your Australian soldiers. But you can't intervene in our judicial system. That's not what you're here for. Respect our sovereignty and our judicial system.

"I'm no enemy of Australia. But tell the Australian people I will take down any Australian in my line of fire. It is my right to defend myself for the dignity and the rights of the people. Don't blame me. I'm very shameful. I will defend against communism, I'm doing a favour for Australia. I never hurt any Australian citizen, my friend. Please think twice." Will you consider surrender? "Why I have to surrender? What I do wrong? I didn't do any crime. Why do they want to arrest me? I did not do anything wrong. They have to respect me, the constitution of this country. Does Australia like this? Running around in our country with guns?"

Can you see Australians from where you are positioned? "They are here! Twenty-four hours of flying around, keeping an eye on me. They're about 500m away." But haven't you been talking over things with the Australians? "Talking over? They never invited me to talk. They never even investigated the killings [by the F-FDTL]. They just decided what they have to do. I feel ashamed to be a friend of Australia."

What is going to happen now? "You tell me. Any Australian approach in my eye view, I will take them down. I will surrender to my law, but to no international troops. Never." It is said you robbed police stations of weapons. Did you? "Stole? I didn't steal weapons. That's propaganda. Every one makes this same
statement. Those policemen have joined me. Did I use weapons to harm anyone so far? No. I have weapons to stand and defend the life of the people."

But you have been talking to Australians while you've been on the run, right? "I never closed the door to them. I've been talking to them, but they've also been talking to these f**king communists [in power in East Timor]. I'm not stupid." Do you no longer trust Australians? "I trust the people of Australia, but not the f**king stupid politicians who send your forces here. The stupidity of your leaders makes me shamed." What is your exact position? "Ask your troops."

One thing for certain: Reinado is good to his word. If he sees an armed Australian, he will shoot to kill. But the last thing the Australians want to do is kill a folk hero. The situation seems set to end in tragedy. http://bulletin.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=230075
Chronololgy - Flashpoints of political unrest in East Timor

March 6 (Reuters) - East Timor's capital was quiet but tense on Tuesday, a day after thousands of angry supporters of East Timor rebel leader Alfredo Reinado burnt tyres and threw stones to protest against a raid by international troops on the fugitive's hideout.

Here are some of the country's key milestones since independence in 2002:

- May 20, 2002: East Timor becomes an independent nation, after an historic 1999 vote ends Indonesia's post-1975 occupation. Ex-guerilla leader and independence hero Xanana Gusmao becomes President.
- Dec 4: Capital Dili is under curfew after rioting blamed on regrouping Indonesian-backed militiamen. Several people are shot dead in clashes and prime minister's house is burned down.
- May 19, 2003: United Nations extends mandate of 3,800-strong U.N. Mission in East Timor (UNMISET) for a year.
- March 9, 2005: Indonesia and East Timor launch joint truth commission to address 1999's bloody rampage which saw about 1,000 killed, mostly by pro-Jakarta militia.
- April 28: U.N. Security Council votes to keep scaled-back U.N. presence in East Timor for another year.
- Feb 8, 2006: Hundreds of soldiers, many of them former independence fighters, go on strike over pay

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