quarta-feira, 14 de março de 2007
Alfredo Reinado in Australian fatigues near Same.
March 14, 2007
THE fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has again humiliated scores of heavily armed Australian soldiers who have been hunting him for more than a week by meeting journalists in East Timor's mountains.
Reinado met a Timorese journalist at a base about 20 kilometres away from where he escaped a botched attack by Australian soldiers in the town of Same. He also met a crew from the ABC's Foreign Correspondent.
The former head of East Timor's military police was wearing an Australian military uniform when the Timor Post journalist Mariano Da Costa interviewed him late last Saturday.
The hunt by Australian soldiers has included the use of several Black Hawk helicopters and 24-hour roadblocks.
Reinado told Da Costa that five of his men killed when Australian troops stormed his base in Same were heroes who had died for the cause of justice. He called on the Catholic Church to mediate a deal for his surrender.
"I'm always ready to dialogue - dialogue is better so that we can prevent any threats against the nation that could lead to civil war," he said.
But Reinado said he was prepared to fight if the Australians in East Timor's International Security Force continued to hunt him.
He said he had travelled closer to the capital, Dili, managing to avoid the Australians, because he did not want villagers caught up in violence as they were in Same.
Australian Associated Press yesterday quoted a parish priest from Same, Father David Alves, as saying villagers had been terrified by the arrival of four Black Hawks and a troop transport.
"Houses were assaulted and people ordered out in the middle of the night for searches," he said. "Poor farmers, old people."
Reinado told the ABC he had no intention of giving himself up to Australian forces. "I'll surrender to justice, not to anybody, not to any command or any force."
Reinado, a heroic figure to many Timorese, led a mass escape from Dili's main jail last August. The Dili government abandoned efforts to get him to surrender after he led raids on police border posts, seizing 25 high-powered weapons.