Subject: AKI: Renegade Major Says He Will Never Disarm


Dili, 19 Dec. (AKI) - Former East Timor military commander, and now renegade major Alfredo Reinado Alves, says he will never disarm. In an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI) he also said he has the right to resist international forces if they violate the rights of the people of East Timor. "If the government wants to arrest me by force, I am ready to fight and the international force will only get my dead body to send to Prime Minister (Jose Ramon) Horta," Reinado told AKI in Suai district, about 217 kilometres west of Dili near the Indonesian and East Timorese border.

"Also, I am the commander of East Timor military police and I have a right to disarm the international force that occupies our sovereign country, if they violate our people's dignity," he added.

Furthermore, the major, the highest-ranking officer to desert during the country's unrest, declared that "East Timor is a sovereign country and I do not want the international force to intervene in our judicial process." "It is only us who can solve our problems," he added.

Rainado has stated several times that he will one day face justice for his part in the violence which has rocked the tiny Southeast Asian country since May. However, he has also stated that he does not want to be a "scapegoat" or considered the "only guilty party."

Major Rainado abandoned the army on 4 May 2006 to join approximately 600 former soldiers who had been fired in March 2006 after complaining of ethnic discrimination over promotions.

The sacking sparked a national crisis that left 37 people dead, forced 155,000 to flee their homes, brought down the government of former prime minister Mari Alkatiri, and led to the deployment of foreign troops in East Timor, led by Australia.

Arrested for his role in the violence, Major Reinado is still at large after having escaped from prison on 30 August. However, although technically 'the most wanted fugitive' in Dili, the Australian forces in East Timor have said that they are not making any effort to arrest him since Horta wants to solve the "Reinado issue" peacefully.

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