Subject: ABC AM - Two Dili jail escapees captured overnight
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AM - Two Dili jail escapees captured overnight
[This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2006/s1731361.htm]
AM - Saturday, 2 September , 2006 08:00:00
Reporter: Elizabeth Jackson
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Two of the 57 prisoners who escaped from Dili's Becora jail three days ago have been recaptured overnight.
The two men handed themselves in to police, but the remaining escapees are still at large.
Meanwhile, there's been more violence in Dili overnight. Fighting broke out between two gangs at a refugee camp in the heart of Dili.
A spokesman for the Australian Defence Force has told Saturday AM that while Dili may be a "frontier town", there's been no outbreak of running violence.
For more we're joined by our reporter covering Timor, Anne Barker.
Anne, as I've mentioned, there's been more violence overnight at this refugee camp. Shots were fired from police-issue pistols, and lost of people were injured. What can you tell us?
ANNE BARKER: Well, Elizabeth, it does seem to have been one of the... a more ferocious fight than we've seen in Dili in recent weeks.
It was actually at a refugee camp that is right opposite the headquarters of the joint taskforce, which is the international troops and yet two gangs engaged in a very loud and quite violent fight yesterday afternoon; rocks were thrown, and it quickly escalated. There were up to eight people injured. Police did move in and shots were fired.
I'm told that three or four people were shot and injured. One person was shot in the abdomen, one in the elbow, and a 12-year-old boy was also grazed by a bullet.
There was also a machete attack and several people were taken to hospital and had to be operated on. So this was one particularly ferocious fight, even though gang violence like this has continued in recent months.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Now, is that violence in any way related to the escape of the prisoners three days ago? Because there are some reports this morning that some of the refugees are saying the attackers were police from the western region of the country whom they believe support Alfredo Reinado.
ANNE BARKER: I'm told there's no connection between the escapees, the 57 prisoners who broke out of Becora jail on Wednesday and this latest incident. But certainly tensions are running high in Dili as a result of that jailbreak. And even though there has been sporadic violence, as I said, sort of in recent weeks, the indications are that it seems to be creeping up just slightly in frequency and in nature.
There's certainly been a lot of arson and other gangs, sort of related incidents, perhaps of a daily or nightly basis. The police and the troops there stress that it's not a deterioration in security, and they're probably right, but there does seem to be just an increase in the tension in Dili, if you like.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Now, Anne, is there any information about the whereabouts of Major Alfredo Reinado this morning? He of course being the man blamed for contributing significantly to the recent violence that we've seen in East Timor.
ANNE BARKER: Well certainly if the police in Dili know anything about his whereabouts, they're not saying anything publicly. But officially the line is that they have not found any of these escapees, except the two that were located sometime yesterday and apparently have handed themselves into police.
I think the rest of them they expect have possibly left Dili and may be hiding in either the mountains around the capital, which are quite expansive, or have even headed to outer districts.
And we know that some of those prisoners, or many of those prisoners, were supporters of Alfredo Reinado. I think the big fear is that they now may be armed. But there's nothing at this stage to suggest that that could lead to anything more sinister yet.
ELIZABETH JACKSON: Anne Barker, thank you. That's our reporter Anne Barker joining us from Darwin.