October 4, 2007
A FORMER East Timorese guerilla at the centre of allegations that forced Fretilin prime minister Mari Alkatiri from office last year has been arrested in Dili.
United Nations and Timorese police took Vicente da Conceicao, alias Commander Railos, into custody early yesterday and charged him with offences relating to gun fights at the height of violent upheaval in Dili in May last year.
A UN investigation into the violence found that Railos led 31 fighters in ambushes against Timorese soldiers where as many as nine people were killed.
It found that Railos' group had been supplied uniforms and weapons on the orders of the country's then Fretilin interior minister, Rogerio Lobato, who was subsequently jailed for seven years before leaving the country for medical treatment.
Police arrested Railos at a house in the seaside town of Liquica after Fretilin militants warned they would capture him themselves.
Claims by Railos that Mr Alkatiri was involved in setting up a hit squad to eliminate political rivals forced him to resign as prime minister.
Mr Alkatiri strenuously denied the allegations and prosecutors later said there was no evidence to substantiate them. Coverage of Railos' claims won the ABC's Lateline program a Gold Walkley Award.
Fretilin, the former ruling party that lost power at national elections in June, claimed last week that Railos had been responsible for continuing acts of violence while carrying a travel authorisation letter signed by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
Meanwhile, President Jose Ramos Horta has announced plans for East Timor to become a tax-free country while spending more money on projects to lift Timorese from poverty.
He said Timor Sea oil and gas revenues now exceed $A112 million a month.