quinta-feira, março 01, 2007

No surrender, Reinado tells siege soldiers

SMH – March 1, 2007
Lindsay Murdoch in Dili

Australian soldiers have blockaded a town in East Timor's central mountains, trapping the rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and as many as 150 heavily armed men who are refusing to surrender.

Reinado said by telephone he would shoot any soldier he saw. "Tell the Australian troops to stick surrender up their arse," he said.

Reinado's defiant stand has prompted fears of civil war after he was joined in the town of Same by Gastao Salsinha, the commander of 600 mutinous soldiers who were sacked from East Timor's army last year. Mr Salsinha told a Timorese journalist in the town that he decided to bring 100 of his men to join Reinado because "I'm still in the military and I have a job to do".

Reinado and his men have a large cache of sophisticated weapons, including at least six rocket launchers, residents say.

Wanted for murder and rebellion, Reinado said that the men with him and the Opposition MP Leonadro Isaac were "all here ready to share a coffin". "Let my family in Australia know that I love them so much," Reinado said. His wife lives in Perth.

The presence of Mr Isaac and an unknown number of civilians still in Same last night will make it difficult for the Australian soldiers who are dug in at the edge of the town to attack the Australian-trained Reinado and the men with him.

The commander of the Australian-led force in East Timor, Brigadier Mal Rerden, demanded on Tuesday that Reinado and his men surrender unconditionally after East Timor's President, Xanana Gusmao, ordered that the former head of the military police be hunted down.

Mr Gusmao gave the order after Reinado led raids on several police border posts on Sunday and seized 25 high-powered weapons and a large quantity of ammunition.

The raids shocked the Government because officials had been negotiating a deal whereby Reinado would hand over his weapons and give evidence at a special hearing about his role in violence in Dili last year.

The Government sent a letter to the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, on Tuesday authorising the Australian troops in East Timor to use lethal force to capture Reinado, who has been on the run since leading a mass escape from Dili's jail in August.

East Timor's Prime Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, said yesterday that Australia had made it clear that if the Timorese Government requested more troops to help secure the country before the elections to be held in the next few months, they would be sent. Australia has 800 soldiers in East Timor, most of them in Dili.

Mr Isaac, whose party urged Reinado to stand in presidential elections due on April 9, told journalists yesterday that the word "surrender" was not in Reinado's vocabulary. Asked what he believed would happen if the renegade soldiers were attacked, he said: "Civil war."

Mr Isaac said he did not have any weapons. He said he could not leave the town because the Australian soldiers were not letting anybody enter or leave.

About 100 residents of Same, the centre of a coffee-growing district, have fled into the bush since the Australians blockaded the town.

Reinado answered his mobile telephone in the town's centre. He said an Australian army officer had telephoned him to demand his surrender. He had asked the officer if he had authorisation from the country's prosecutor-general to arrest him.

When he got no reply he said he "rejected the offer".

A Government source said Reinado had asked to resume negotiations to surrender but the request was bluntly refused.

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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.