Subject: LUSA: Gov't tries to get rebel troops home with cash, job offers

09-05-2006 20:50:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-7974702 Temas:

East Timor: Gov't tries to get rebel troops home with cash, job offers

Lisbon, May 9 (Lusa) - The government of East Timor is implementing a social reintegration program for a group of dismissed troops who took part in deadly riots in Dili last week, offering financial incentives and to find the soldiers employment, a senior military official said Tuesday.

The reintegration scheme, aimed to persuade the disgruntled soldiers to end a simmering dispute with the Dili authorities that sparked riots in the capital last month in which five people died, includes cash bonuses, the same Armed Forces official told Lusa.

The scheme demobilization could also allow for the payment of salaries not paid to the group of about 600 troops who went AWOL in February to protest biased promotions in the Timorese military, added the source.

The dissident soldiers were sacked in March and tensions have risen in the new nation as Dili's leaders desperately sought to solution to the escalating crisis caused by the sacking of a third of the armed forces.

"There are many troops who have accepted this support and returned home. The government is seeking to create conditions for them to reintegrate, finding jobs in their home areas and even overseas work", the defense official said.

Some of the rebel soldiers are currently gathered in the town of Aileu, about 20 kms south of the capital, added the official.

Meanwhile, Timor's armed forces chief, Gen.Taur Matan Ruak, told Lusa by phone in Lisbon that Dili's military high command was making a three-pronged effort to defuse the crisis and restore calm amongst civilians and avoid further violence.

"We are trying to explain the situation and telling citizens to be calm, as well as urging the group (of troops) not to use violence and cooperate to the maximum with the inquiry commission", said Gen. Matan Ruak.

A 10-member Commission of Notables, headed by State Administration Minister Ana Pessoa, was sworn in last week by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri to investigate allegations of regional discrimination in Timor's army.

All the rebel soldiers are from districts west of Manatuto in central Timor, added Gen. Matan Ruak.




East Timor to keep paying fired soldiers to reduce tension

05/10/2006 06:23:52 AM EDT AP WorldStream English (all)

DILI, East Timor_East Timor will pay the salaries of some 600 recently fired soldiers until June as part of efforts to reduce tensions in the tiny nation triggered by the mass dismissal, the government said Wednesday.

The troops have taken part in deadly riots, and on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said that unspecified people had exploited their grievances with the aim of overthrowing the government.

East Timor's leaders are trying to meet the soldiers and investigate their grievances, the government said in a statement.

"The government will pay them a subsidy, equal to their wage in the army, to help them and their families now," the statement said.

The soldiers were dismissed after they went on strike to protest alleged discrimination.

Most of East Timor's soldiers came from the ranks of the East Timorous resistance to Indonesian rule. It now has around 600 troops.

Last week, unfounded rumors that the dismissed soldiers planned to attack Dili caused thousands of people to flee their homes.

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