quarta-feira, 13 de junho de 2007

East Timor army rebel threatens revolt

June 11, 2007 - 10:09PM

An East Timor fugitive army rebel said he would personally seek out those behind last year's violence if the government refuses to negotiate with him immediately.

Alfredo Reinado escaped last August along with 50 other inmates from a prison where he was being held on charges of involvement in a wave of violence that killed 37 people and drove 150,000 from their homes earlier that year.

"I insist East Timor authorities must hold dialogue as soon as possible, so that we can resolve the problems," Reinado told Reuters by telephone from his hideout.

"We have been very patient but if they delay the dialogue we will lose our patience. We will come down to the town to capture the perpetrators of the crisis," the former military police chief said, referring to last year's violence.

Reinado said he and his followers would not lay down arms.

"I am not a thief but I am still an active member of East Timor's defence force. We are defending the dignity of the military and are serving the nation," he said.

Reinado, East Timor's former military police chief, has been accused of raiding a police post and making off with 25 automatic weapons while on the run.

He managed to evade a raid by Australian-led troops in March, which caused thousands of his supporters to protest in the capital.

Reinado said he would only turn himself in once the ruling Fretilin party is no longer in power and foreign troops sent into East Timor after last year's violence are out of the country.

President Jose Ramos-Horta said he believed Reinado should face justice. "I told you, Alfredo Reinado's case is complicated because it is about justice, but the negotiation continues," he told reporters.

"I have given the opportunity to prosecutors and bishops to negotiate with Alfredo Reinado, so that he can face justice because we only get justice from a court, not through a political compromise," Ramos-Horta said.

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace prize winner who spent years abroad as a spokesman for East Timor's struggle for independence from Indonesian occupation, was installed as president last month.

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