Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 24 May 2006


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Wednesday, 24 May 2006

National Media Reports

Gunfights in Fatu Ahi: 2 people killed, 8 injured

According to reports, two people were killed and eight injured following gunfights between rival Major Alfredo’s group and F-FDTL in Fatu Ahi, Becora yesterday.

Spokesperson for the Council of Ministers, Antonio Bianco told the media yesterday that the incident occurred after renegades ambushed F-FDTL members who were returning to the headquarters in Metinaro after collecting their salaries in the local bank, Banco Ultramarino in Dili. The renegades attacked them killing 2 F-FDTL, and injured 8 people who are now hospitalised. A member of Alfredo’s group was also injured and is now in Aileu Hospital. In response to questions whether East Timor’s Government needs international troops to calm the situation, Bianco stated, “The situation is under control and the PNTL will maintain security for 24 hours so people should not panic”, Bianco appealed.

In a separate article, STL reported that the Taibessi market was burnt again by unidentified persons, and according to the report, many young people were at the market blocking the road with drums and wood.

In relation to the Becora incidents, F-FDTL captured 2 suspects allegedly for their direct involvement. (STL, TP, DN)

State aware of the situation: Lu Olo

President of the National Parliament Francisco Lu’Olo Guterres emphasized that the Government and the State are aware of the current situation and are taking the initiative to resolve the problem. Guterres pointed out that apart from other rising problems, the latest incident with Alfredo’s group is one of the concerns for which the Government is still trying to find a solution.

Major Alfredo is not contributing to the nation

Minister and spokesperson for the Council of Minister’s Presidency, Antonio Bianco, told the media on Tuesday that the statement of Major Alfredo Reinaldo had a negative impact on the people and he is not contributing to the nation. Bianco said the statement is contributing to panic among the population who are fleeing their homes. On Tuesday, Reinaldo reportedly asked the population to distance themselves from Dili if they felt insecure.

Diario Nacional reported Bianco as saying that the Government is ready to participate in a dialogue which is being organized by the President of the Republic, According to Bianco, representatives of the four sovereign bodies, including church, civil society and other organisations will participate in the gathering.

Timor Post reported that the that dialogue is going ahead despite Tuesday shootings between members of the Armed Forces and with Major Tara and Markus from Alfredo’s group and the petitioners. (STL, DN, TP)

Regional Media Reports

East Timor: Its all about oil ­ once again

The Australian Government seems to have lost out, at least for the time being, in its attempts to destablilise East Timor and impose a government more to the liking of Howard, Downer and their allies.

The Congress of Fretilin held last week retained Mari Alkatiri as the Prime Minister of the East Timor government. He beat off a challenge that was emerging from Jose Guterres who was East Timor’s representative to the UN and ambassador to the United States.

Alkatiri was a man that Alexander Downer loved to hate and during negotiations over oil rights in the Timor Gap had treated him with contempt. It was a disgusting exhibition of the strong attempting to impose its will on a smaller nation.

Downer told Alkatiri at the time: “Your claims [for oil rights] go almost to Alice Springs. You can demand that forever for all I care … We are very tough. We will not care if you give information to the media. Let me give you a tutorial in politics ­ not a chance.”

None-the-less, East Timor was able to force the Australian government to agree to a 50/50 split and this must be credited to the persistence of Mari Alkatiri and East Timor’s Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta.

The rapidity with which the Australian Government dispatched warships loaded with heavily armed troops to East Timor’s waters on the news of a riot in Dili indicates that the Australian Government knew of the developments in advance.

The favourable media coverage given to Jose Guterres who challenged Alkatiri for the Prime Ministership show that Australian agencies may also have been involved in helping to plan the moves to depose Alkatiri.

Jose Guterres and his supporters are consistent in calling for “international forces” to take over the affairs of the country. The Australian (19/5/06) reports: “Rebel soldiers in the hills around Dili told the UN yesterday they would only be satisfied with an international peacekeeping force taking over the country’s affairs”.

A leader of the rebel forces said that “violence would engulf the country unless other nations stepped in. This is a military problem, not a civil one”.

These demands are not consistent with the earlier claims that the troops had been discriminated against and were dissatisfied with their treatment, their pay and conditions.

In his remarks at the Fretilin Congress the challenger Jose Guterres made his anti-communist credentials clear by claiming that the election of Alkatiri by a show of hands was undemocratic. “I don't believe and I don't share Leninist and Communist methods of election for national leaders”, he said. Such signature remarks will not have been lost in Canberra or Washington and confirm that Mr Guterres is their man!

The real issue remains that of oil. The possession of oil resources are becoming an increasingly valuable prize. For the big oil companies and the governments that back them the possession by a small country such as East Timor with a government attempting to do something for the poor of their country, is anathema.

The Australian notes that since Fretilin won the elections in 2002 it “controls most of the country’s economy and employment market, as well as its reconstruction contracts”.

It can be expected that the Australian government and the media will continue its campaign to discredit the East Timorese government. The last may not have been heard of the military forces “up in the hills” and under the leadership of those who want to bring in outside forces to help them grab control of the East Timorese government and introduce policies more acceptable to the Australian and US governments.

Australia’s future involvement and whether more “riots” are being arranged will be indicated by how quickly Australia withdraws its warships and troops from East Timor’s waters. (The Guarding, (Australian)

National News Sources

Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional Seminario Lia Foun (LF) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]

These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office - END ­

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