Subject: LUSA: More army dissidents surrender weapons
05-07-2006 17:19:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8145599 Temas:
East Timor: More army dissidents surrender weapons
Dili, July 5 (Lusa) - A group of rebel troops in East Timor handed over its weapons Wednesday to international peacekeepers as part of initiatives to restore stability to the troubled new nation.
Maj. Alves Tara told Lusa by phone his men had surrendered nine weapons, mostly automatic rifles, and about 2,000 rounds of ammunition to Australian troops at Gleno, about 40 kms southwest of Dili, where his band has been holed since they were sacked in March together with about 600 disgruntled soldiers.
The troops` dismissal sparked mob violence in which over 20 people died.
Orders to hand over the weapons were given by "the supreme commander of the armed forces, President Xanana Gusmão", said Maj.
Tara, adding that he was "not happy as there are still civilian groups with arms that have not been surrendered" to the authorities.
Australian peacekeepers are staying in Gleno to ensure the safety of rebel troops, whose leader said his men did not want to fight anymore and remained fully committed to peace.
Two other bands of dissident soldiers have given up their weapons in recent weeks, but other groups are believed to be holding on to their arms. President Gusmão has made repeated calls for all weapons in civilian and military hands to be handed over.
Meanwhile, the self-proclaimed chief of a hit squad who says he received orders to kill critics of ousted East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri says he will his weapons next week.
Vicente de Conceição Railos told Lusa Wednesday by phone that he would hand over 14 guns to international peacekeepers July 11 at a ceremony at Leutala, in a mountainous region about 50 km west of the capital Railos alleges his group was armed by ex-Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato, who was charged with gunrunning and other offences last month and is currently under house arrest.
Ousted premier Alkatiri has also been called to testify in the same investigation into the arming of the hit team, but postponed his original hearing date last week because he did not have a defense lawyer.
Alkatiri, who stood down as prime minister last month after intense criticism of his handling of Timor's recent bloody unrest, has repeatedly denied his alleged role in the arming of a "death squad" to eliminate his opponents, saying he wants to prove his innocence.
He told Lusa Tuesday that he would "not duck justice" nor seek to use his status as a lawmaker in the Timorese legislature to claim parliamentary immunity from questioning in the case.
A new government chief is due to be selected later this week, with former Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta said to be a strong frontrunner to succeed Alkatiri.
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