Subject: AGE: Troops fail in Timor, says rebel

the age

Troops fail in Timor, says rebel

Lindsay Murdoch, Darwin

October 9, 2006

ARMY rebel and jail escapee Alfredo Reinado has accused Australian and other international troops and police in East Timor of failing to confiscate illegal weapons in the hands of militants.

Major Reinado said he agreed with a finding of a United Nations inquiry that many weapons had not been recovered after East Timor's 3200-strong police force disintegrated amid violence in April and May.

"There are still many weapons out there," Major Reinado said by telephone from a hidden location.

"People are hiding out. Some people have been killed by them but the international forces have done nothing to stop them," he said.

A report of the UN inquiry into the violence lists many weapons that are unaccounted for throughout East Timor.

The report names up to 100 people, including senior political and security force figures, in scathing findings that recommend some should face criminal charges.

Major Reinado said the international forces failed to confiscate the weapons and stood by as criminals committed offences and gangs went on the rampage in Dili.

"The international forces should concentrate on these things and not be concerned with me," he said. "The question is: did they honestly come here to help the country or did they just come here to spend their time spending international money?"

Australian-trained Major Reinado became the most wanted man in East Timor after leading a mass escape from Dili's main jail on August 30.

Appearing to taunt those hunting him, he said he was still celebrating the West Coast Eagle's AFL premiership. "Say hello to West Coast for me," he said.

Major Reinado said he was willing to abide by the findings of the UN inquiry that investigated a gun battle he was involved in on Dili's outskirts in May.

"Everybody must comply … I'm ready for that," he said. "(But) I don't think any blame will be put on me."

Security forces in Dili are on alert before the release of the UN report. Observers describe the political situation in Dili as highly volatile.

The ruling Fretilin party yesterday issued a statement accusing Vicente da Conceicao of terrorising people in a village near Dili late last month.

Claims by Mr da Conceicao, a former guerilla fighter, in early June that he was asked to set up a so-called hit squad to eliminate opponents of former prime minister Mari Alkatiri, forced Dr Alkatiri's resignation.

Quoting a signed statement by Felix da Costa, the administrator of Maubara district 30 kilometres west of Dili, Fretilin said Mr da Conceicao forced his way into Mr da Costa's house and accused him and local officials of distributing weapons.

Fretilin said Mr da Conceicao allegedly hit Mr da Costa's wife on the head with his pistol before saying he would return to rape her and burn the house.

It said Mr da Conceicao warned that a new violence would last at least 10 months unless Dr Alkatiri was punished.


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