domingo, julho 02, 2006

Timor Church accused of plotting coup

It has been alleged that senior figures in the East Timor Church approached a defence forces (Falintil-FDTL) commander to lead a coup against the Alkatiri government.

According to Australian journalist John Martinkus, the Church leaders approached commander Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak following the weeks of mass demonstrations against the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri government in April 2005 but he rejected the offer.

Last year's church-backed demonstrations was prompted by Dr Alkatiri's decision to drop religious education from the curriculum. The Catholic clergy had called for his resignation.

The allegations, published yesterday on the New Matilda website, were made by senior sources within the command of F-FDTL who reportedly told Mr Martinkus that leaders of East Timor's defence forces were approached on three separate occasions in the past 18 months to lead a coup against Dr Alkatiri.

The sources say that early this year Brigadier Ruak was again approached and requested to lead a coup in a meeting with two prominent East Timorese leaders and two foreign nationals. Again, the commander refused, reportedly telling them it was against the constitution and would set an unacceptable precedent.

One of the commander's leading deputies, Lieutenant-Colonel Falur Rate Laek, a veteran of the war against Indonesia, was also approached by the same two local leaders and foreign nationals. He too, refused. According to Mr Martinkus' report, the nationalities of the foreigners were not revealed.

Mr Martinkus says his sources confirmed Dr Alkatiri's claim that allegations against him were politically motivated. Dr Alkatiri has blamed opposition groups within East Timor that had foreign backing for the recent unrest and said this crisis was a foreign backed coup.

In a wide-ranging interview last week, Dr Alkatiri blamed opposition groups for the breakdown of law and order last month that led to at least 130,000 East Timorese fleeing their homes and the total collapse of the East Timorese police force.

He said these people had repeatedly tried to convince prominent commanders in the East Timorese armed forces to overthrow his government in an armed coup. When this failed, they helped provoke the army mutiny which had taken the country to the brink of civil war.

It was the sacking of 600 soldiers from the tiny country's western regions that precipitated the latest violence. The soldiers were protesting what they perceived as discrimination in the armed forces which is dominated by commanders from the country's east where the guerrilla forces fighting Indonesia's 24-year occupation held out.

In an interview with Mr Martinkus, Dr Alkatiri said his political opponents exploited ethnic divisions within the police force to create unrest.

"Then they try to influence the PNTL [national police force]. How did they do it? Through this kind of propaganda, Loromunu, Loro Sae (West versus East). They succeeded in dividing the people within the PNTL. This is the whole strategy.

"Then they put groups of PNTL against groups of F-FDTL in confrontation. And they succeeded again. This is why I requested assistance from outside," he said in reference to the arrival of Australian-led foreign troops in late May.

Dr Alkatiri is adamant the violence was orchestrated as part of a program to topple his government. "It has to be institutions, some organisations inside, assisted by others outside," he said.

He could not identify any of the alleged individuals or organisations and said that East Timor would need some time to investigate. "I think there are outside groups ... can be from Australia maybe from Indonesia but not the governments ... But still I do believe there are outside groups," he said.

Dr Alkatiri stepped down on Monday after Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta resigned in protest over his continued reluctance to quit and his close ally President Xanana Gusmao threatened to do the same.

He denies allegations, aired on last week's Four Corners program, of participating in the arming of a civilian "hit squad" aimed at eliminating his opponents, including Church leaders. Dr Alkatiri said on Monday in a resignation statement that he was stepping down for the good of the nation.

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29 Jun 2006

5 comentários:

Anónimo disse...

"Last year's church-backed demonstrations was prompted by Dr Alkatiri's decision to drop religious education from the curriculum. The Catholic clergy had called for his resignation."

the decision wasnt to drop religion from the curriculum, but yet to make it a extra-curriculum subject and not obligatory in the state schools. The students can choose or not choose the subject if they wanted to have religion has a subject in school (however in the catholic schools the subject still obligatory, its understandable).

just making a correction

Anónimo disse...

To put things into perspective that decision would have been the same as droping the religious studies from the curriculum as the argument was that the church would have to put up with the costs for salaries if some parentes opted for their children to attend religious studies. The government always said that there was not enough money to finance everything. Given the lack of ability of churches (catholic, protestant and others) to put up with the costs it would translate in practical terms to no religious studies even if parents wanted their children to have it.
Basically that decision was intended to abolish religious studies because of alleged lack of money to finance it.
Furthermore it would have discriminated towards smaller and weaker religious intitutions with less financial strenght to finance the costs.
A situation could have been created where protestan students may not have been able to access religious studies purely because their churches being smaller could never afford to finance the costs associated with salaries for religious techers.
This was the root of the problem.

Mau Seran disse...

The New Zealand Herald June 22, 2006 Thursday
John Martinkus:

The East Timorese Prime Minister has added to the murk surrounding the country's descent into violence by accusing opposition groups backed by foreigners of conspiring to overthrow his Government in an armed coup.

And his claims have been backed by senior sources within the Defence Force, who say there have been three coup plots in the past 18 months.

Mari Alkatiri, himself accused of arranging a hit squad to eliminate his critics, has for the first time given his version of what led to the Dili chaos in late May.

The breakdown of law and order led to 130,000 internal refugees and the deployment of 2200 troops from Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia.

He accused opposition groups and their foreign supporters of repeatedly trying to convince prominent commanders in the East Timorese armed forces to overthrow his Government.

"They were always trying to get the command of [former guerrilla fighters] Falintil, F-FDTL [defence forces]. They tried to convince the command to order and participate in a coup. They failed."

He claimed his opponents then tried to weaken the influence of the military.

"They tried to break Falintil and they did it by bringing out of the barracks almost 600."

He says his political opponents exploited ethnic divisions within the police force (PNTL) to create unrest.

"They succeeded in dividing the people within the PNTL. This is the whole strategy. Then they put groups of [police] against groups of [soldiers] in confrontation. And they succeeded again. This is why I requested assistance from outside," he said.

Senior sources within the armed forces command confirmed that not one
but three separate approaches had been made to its leadership to lead
a coup against Alkatiri in the past 18 months.

I was able to confirm that following the weeks of mass demonstrations against Alkatiri's Government in April 2005 the Defence Force commander, Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak, was approached to lead a coup.

He rejected the offer. Again early this year he was approached and requested to lead a coup in a meeting with two prominent East Timorese leaders and two foreign nationals. Again he refused, reportedly telling them it was against the constitution and would set an unacceptable precedent.

One of his leading deputies, Lieutenant Colonel Falur Rate Laek, a former regional commander from Falintil and a veteran of the war against Indonesia, was also approached by the same two local leaders and foreign nationals. He also refused and reported the incident to his command.

Due to the sensitivity of the information and the implications for the current situation, the nationalities of the foreigners were not revealed.

The armed forces believe that last month's lawlessness was an attempt to divide and destroy them as retribution for the Army's command refusing to take part in a coup.

The Prime Minister was adamant the violence was orchestrated as a part of a programme to topple his Government.

"It has to be institutions, some organisations, inside assisted by others outside," he said. "I think there are outside groups from Australia maybe from Indonesia but not the Governments. I am not accusing the Government of Indonesia or the Government of Australia.

But still I do believe there are outside groups. We need some time to investigate this but the whole plan was very well done and very well executed."

It's not the first time Alkatiri has called the attempts to oust him an attempted coup. He continued to deny the accusations of a hit squad against him and his Government and dismissed them as part of a misinformation campaign run by his opposition.

He said the campaign was being run by "conservative elements in institutions" in East Timor and abroad.

Allegations against the Government of Alkatiri proved difficult to verify.

The claims that at least 60 people were killed by the Army following demonstrations in late April and buried in a mass grave to the west of the city could not be checked. The priest who had claimed to have a list with 67 names on it denied he had a list.

Then there was the allegation about Vincente "Rai Los" da Concecao, the leader of a group of armed resistance fighters, who says Alkatiri's orders were carried out by former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato, a close ally of the PM.

Da Concecao's 30 fighters were said to be based in the mountains above the town of Liquica and equipped with automatic rifles. He claimed to have received the rifles from Alkatiri and Lobato, who is now under house arrest.

Journalists who went to meet him were surprised to be directed to the house of the Carrascalao family in the hills above Liquica.

They said he had told them he was issued the weapons to kill opponents of Alkatiri's ruling Fretilin Party.

The Carrascalao family have a history of opposition to Fretilin going back to a leadership role in the UDT party which fought a civil war against Fretilin in 1975.

Alkatiri said that he knew three of the men involved in the "Rai Los" group as they had attended a Fretilin conference in May and he had briefly met them. He said he told them only to enforce security and not to kill opponents as they claimed.

Sources in the armed forces said the Rai Los men had participated in the attack on the Army base in Tacitolu. Soldiers said da Concecao was a former Falintil fighter who had been sacked in 2004 for embezzling pay cheques.

Before the allegations about supplying weapons to da Concecao were made public Alkatiri said he dismissed them as more opposition misinformation. "The best way to overthrow somebody from power is to demonise them. That is exactly what they are trying to do and how to do it? [By] passing to media information like this that this man has a secret army with the objective to eliminate others ... instead of having killed someone from the opposition what they have done is really just to fight against the [Army].

"They fought against the [Army] on May 24 in Tacitolu. What kind of secret Fretilin group is this that they are also fighting against the [Army]. This is contradictory," said Alkatiri.

While frustrations within the Timorese armed forces ignited the latest crisis, it was preceded by riots against Alkatiri's leadership in December 2001 and a prolonged protest led by the church against his Government in April 2005.

Last February a group of soldiers from the country's west - which grew from 140 to 591 - signed a petition claiming discrimination inside the 1300-strong Army. In March they were dismissed from the armed forces.

However, as events began to unfold the dispute quickly became the start of a series of calls for Alkatiri to resign. The Prime Minister was in no doubt what had taken place. He kept referring to it as an attempted coup.

The petitioners' demonstration turned violent on April 28 when he ordered the Army to take control. Police officers ran away and in some cases joined the violence. The petitioners marched back to the west of Dili and were kept there by the Army. Three people were killed in fighting and the violence began to spread.

Last week, recalling his arrival in Dili, the commander of the Australian forces, Brigadier Mick Slater, said there were two types of gang violence.

"There were definitely the opportunistic gutless thugs ... I think they were probably the major source of violence in town. There were definitely groups, let's call them gangs, that were definitely being manipulated and co-ordinated by other people from outside that gang environment. I feel very, very strongly that that was the case."

Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta says Alkatiri's claims of a coup are "nonsense". "If there was a coup attempt the Prime Minister should elaborate. A coup attempt by who?"

That is a question that no one at the moment, from the military leadership, to the Prime Minister, to the commander of the Australian intervention force and the President himself, is willing to answer.

* Herald correspondent John Martinkus was in Dili last week.

Anónimo disse...

Tradução:

A Igreja de Timor acusada de tramar o golpe

Foi alegado que figuras importantes da Igreja de Timor-Leste propuseram a um comandante das forças de defesa (Falintil-FDTL) para liderar um golpe contra o governo de Alkatiri.

De acordo com o jornalista Australianot John Martinkus, líderes da Igreja abordaram o Comandante brigadeiro Taur Matan Ruak no seguimento de semanas de manifestações de massas contra o governo do antigo Primeiro-Ministro Mari Alkatiri em Abril de 2005 mas ele rejeitou a oferta.

No ano passado a decisão do Governo do Dr. Alkatiri de retirar do curriculo a educação religiosa provocou manifestações apoiadas pela Igreja. O clero católico pediu a sua esignação.

As alegações, publicadas ontem no New Matilda website, foram feitas por fontes superiores do seio do comando das F-FDTL que alegadamente disseram a Mr Martinkus que líderes das forças de defesa de Timor-Leste foram abordadas em três ocasiões separadas nos últimos 18 meses para liderar um golpe contra o Dr Alkatiri.

Fontes disseram que no início deste ano o Brigadeiro Ruak foi outra vez abordado e foi-lhe pedido que liderasse um golpe numa reunião com dois proeminentes líderes timorenses e dois estrangeiros. Outra vez, o comandante recusou, dizendo-lhes como relatou, que isso era contra a constituição e abriria um precedente inaceitável.

Um dos vice-comandantes da liderança, o Tenente-Coronel Falur Rate Laek, um veterano da guerra contra a Indonésia, foi também abordado pelos mesmos dois líderes locais e estrangeiros. Ele também, recusou. De acordo com a reportagem de Mr Martinkus, não foram reveladas as nacionalidades dos estrangeiros.

Mr Martinkus diz que as suas fontes confirmaram a queixa do Dr Alkatiri que as alegações contra ele foram politicamente motivadas. O Dr Alkatiri tem acusado grupos da oposição de Timor-Leste de terem apoio estrangeiro para o recente desassossego e disse que esta crise foi um golpe apoiado por estrangeiros.

Numa entrevista na semana passada de grande amplitude, o Dr Alkatiri acusou grupos da oposição pela quebra da lei e da ordem no mês passado que levaram à fuga das suas casas de pelo menos 130,000 Timorenses e ao colapso total da força de polícia Timorense.

Ele disse que essas pessoas tentaram repetidamente convencer proeminentes comandantes das forças armadas Timorenses a derrubar o seu governo num golpe armado. Quando isso falhou, eles ajudaram a provocar o motim das forças armadas que levou o país à beira da guerra civil.

Foi o despedimento de 600 soldados das regiões orientais do pequeno país que precipitou a última violência. Os soldados protestavam o que eles entendiam ser discriminação nas forças armadas que é dominada por comandantes do leste do país onde as forças da guerrilha que lutaram contra os 24 anos da ocupação da Indonésia se refugiaram.

Numa entrevista com Mr Martinkus, o Dr Alkatiri disse que os seus opositores políticos exploraram divisões étnicas na força policial para criar desassossego.

"Depois tentaram influenciar a PNTL [força de polícia nacional]. Como é que o fizeram? Através deste tipo de propaganda, Loromunu, Loro Sae (Oeste contra Leste). Tiveram sucesso na divisão das pessoas na PNTL. Esta foi a estratégia completa.

"Depois colocaram em confronto grupos da PNTL contra grupos da F-FDTL. E tiveram sucesso outra vez. Foi por causa disso que eu pedi assistência do exterior," disse numa referência à chegada de tropas estrangeiras lideradas pela Austrália em fins de Maio.

O Dr Alkatiri está convicto que a violência foi orquestrada como parte dum programa para derrubar o seu governo. "Foram instituições, algumas organizações do interior, apoiadas por outras no exterior," disse.

Não poude identificar nenhum dos alegados individuos ou organizações e disse que Timor-Leste precisará de algum tempo para investigar. "Penso que há grupos do exterior ... podem ser da Austrália talvez da Indonésia mas não governos ... Mas contudo acredito que há grupos do exterior," disse.

O Dr Alkatiri saíu na Segunda-feira, depois do Ministro dos Estrangeiros José Ramos-Horta resignar em protesto sobre a sua continuada relutância em desistir e o seu aliado próximo o Presidente Xanana Gusmão ameaçar fazer o mesmo.

Ele nega alegações, feitas no programa Four Corners na semana passada, de participação em armar um “esquadrão de ataque” de civis com o objectivo de eliminar opositores políticos, incluindo líderes da Igreja. O Dr Alkatiri disse na Segunda-feira numa declaração de resignação que saia para o bem da nação.

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29 Junho 2006

Anónimo disse...

"Again early this year he was approached and requested to lead a coup in a meeting with two prominent East Timorese leaders and two foreign nationals."

Two prominent East Timorese leaders. who else, XANANA and RAMOS HORTA.

Traduções

Todas as traduções de inglês para português (e também de francês para português) são feitas pela Margarida, que conhecemos recentemente, mas que desde sempre nos ajuda.

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... "
 

Malai Azul. Lives in East Timor/Dili, speaks Portuguese and English.
This is my blogchalk: Timor, Timor-Leste, East Timor, Dili, Portuguese, English, Malai Azul, politica, situação, Xanana, Ramos-Horta, Alkatiri, Conflito, Crise, ISF, GNR, UNPOL, UNMIT, ONU, UN.