Paul Toohey April 26, 2008
REBEL lieutenant Gastao Salsinha last night surrendered after two years on the run and put himself in the personal control of East Timor's most senior army officer, Brigadier Tuar Matan Ruak.
Salsinha's capitulation will hopefully bring to an end two years of stand-offs, negotiations and violence that has torn the country apart.
Salsinha, who allegedly led the attack on Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao on February 11 while Alfredo Reinado launched the raid on President Jose Ramos Horta's compound, spent yesterday sitting in a house in Ermera, in the west of East Timor, with a Catholic Church priest acting as his mediator as armed forces surrounded the position.
Negotiators had gone to a house near the town of Gleno, atSalsinha's suggestion, to collect him.
Despite being circled by a heavily armed joint command taskforce made up of F-FDTL (army) and PNTL (police), Salsinha continued to hold his weapon and said he would not surrender until members of his family, who are also on the run, and eight or nine other rebels, joined him. In the end, Salsinha, 35, did not have much in the way of bargaining power.
Salsinha's role as a rebel leader dates back to January 2006, when he and other members of the F-FDTL wrote to their brigadier and then president, Mr Gusmao, complaining that people born in the west of the country had been overlooked for promotions.
They said the government preferred to reward eastern-born soldiers who were more likely to be associated with the Indonesian resistance. The following month, 591 of the "petitioners" abandoned their barracks.
In March, they were officially sacked. The petitioners, led by Salsinha, then won permission to stage a four-day demonstration in front of the Dili government offices. On the final day, April 28, 2006, they were joined by unruly youths. The government, led by then prime minister Mari Alkatiri ordered the F-FDTL in.
Six people were shot, two fatally. Violence spread across Dili and the country turned on itself. About 150,000 easterners became displaced and sought shelter in tent camps in Dili, most of which are still occupied.
Early in May 2006, Reinado, a military policeman, joined Salsinha's men. Reinado became the brash spokesman, with the quiet but determined Salsinha his second-in-charge.
Later that month, Reinado engaged F-FDTL and police in a firefight near Dili, in which five were killed and 10 injured. Reinado was later arrested for murder, but escaped from prison.
Meanwhile the government was accused, and later proved guilty, of arming a secret militia to attack the petitioners. Many police, or PNTL, born in the west, supported the petitioners. On May 25, 2006, nine police under the protection of the UN were massacred in cold blood as they sought to surrender.
This set in train events that would last more than two years and culminate in the February 11 attack on the President and the Prime Minister, with Reinado being shot dead.
Although Salsinha was not charged with murder, he was wanted for staging the ambush on Mr Gusmao's home.
domingo, abril 27, 2008
Por Malai Azul 2 à(s) 02:31
Obrigado pela solidariedade, Margarida!
Mensagem inicial - 16 de Maio de 2006
"Apesar de frágil, Timor-Leste é uma jovem democracia em que acreditamos. É o país que escolhemos para viver e trabalhar. Desde dia 28 de Abril muito se tem dito sobre a situação em Timor-Leste. Boatos, rumores, alertas, declarações de países estrangeiros, inocentes ou não, têm servido para transmitir um clima de conflito e insegurança que não corresponde ao que vivemos. Vamos tentar transmitir o que se passa aqui. Não o que ouvimos dizer... "