Subject: Lusa: Arrest Warrants for Peacekeeper's Killers Raise Controversy

East Timor: Arrest Warrants for Peacekeeper's Killers Raise Controversy 31 Jul-14:12

East Timor's UN administrator said Monday that arrest warrants had been issued for a 10-man gang suspected of killing a New Zealand peacekeeper last week.

The announcement, made in Dili to the US news agency Associated Press, caught peacekeeping force and judicial officials by surprise.

UNTAET chief Sergio Vieira de Mello reportedly said that the UN administration had asked both the military commander of Indonesian West Timor and Jakarta's attorney general, Marzuki Darusman, to find, detain and extradite the group suspected of killing Pvt.Leonard William Manning in a firefight July 24.

He reportedly declined to say whether the suspects were either Indonesian soldiers or militia irregulars.

Contacted by Lusa, UNTAET spokeswoman Babara Reis confirmed arrest warrants were issued July 27 by an investigative magistrate of the Dili court but said she could not explain the delay in the announcement.

However, spokesmen for both the peacekeeping force and the Dili tribunal expressed "great surprise" at the news.

Col.Brynjar Nymo, the PKF spokesman, told Lusa he was surprised because "there still is no certainty about the identity of the killers or even about their number."

Other PKF sources said they had gone to "great pains" to avoid attributing the killing to militias alone, given the great professionalism demonstrated in the firefight near southwestern Suai.

Also expressing surprise at Vieira de Mello's reported announcement were sources close to the president of the Dili court and the general prosecutor's office, who told Lusa they were unaware of any arrest warrants having been issued.

SAS -Lusa-


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