Subject: Reinado 'had four Timor targets,' Longuinhos
Reinado 'had four Timor targets'
Jill Jolliffe, Dili
March 27, 2008
EAST Timor's chief prosecutor has asserted that rebel soldier Alfredo Reinado planned to assassinate four, not two, leaders in the attack last month that wounded President Jose Ramos Horta and targeted Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.
In an interview with The Age, prosecutor-general Longuinhos Monteiro said that Reinado had ordered his hit squad to smoke drugs before the attack and that he himself was drugged at the time he invaded the President's residence on February 11.
Reinado was shot dead by a member of the presidential guard in the attack but members of the squad have testified that the aborted plot also involved killing army chief Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak and the chief prosecutor himself, as well as the President and Prime Minister.
He said investigators had seized leaves, which appeared to be marijuana, from Reinado's possessions after he was killed.
The prosecutor said forensic experts from the Australian Federal Police, working closely with Timorese investigators, had not yet released their report on the nature of the drugs seized. He said they were allegedly supplied by "a lady who met Alfredo Reinado on the 8th, 9th and 10th of February".
He declined to name the supplier.
He said Reinado had been influenced by a third person over a period beginning in December 2007, "then continuing in January, February and for the three to four days before February 11" to carry out the attack on East Timor's four senior leaders.
"The idea was that when they have these in their hand, dead or alive, Alfredo would benefit, his case would be settled easily, it would be forgotten," he said. "That is what Alfredo told his followers."
Mr Monteiro refused to name the third person, but the dates match periods in which a woman was allegedly with Reinado in the mountains. He said that the person concerned might have been a front for others.
Mr Ramos Horta is still recovering in Darwin from gunshot wounds from a weapon fired by one of Reinado's men soon after the rebel leader was killed.
Mr Monteiro said his conclusions were drawn from "dozens of statements given by direct witnesses and some of the suspects … involved directly, at the scene".
He said nine or 10 of the people allegedly involved in the attacks are under detention in a private house in the capital, while others are still being hunted by a joint army-police taskforce in the western mountains.
Justice Minister Lucia Lobato recently issued a decree declaring the house an extension of Dili's Becora Prison, to provide special security conditions.
The prosecutor said all the suspects who allegedly accompanied Reinado in the attack on Mr Ramos Horta's house had testified that they had smoked drugs. But he said this was not the case for the group led by former soldier Gastao Salsinha that attacked Mr Gusmao's convoy. Mr Gusmao escaped unharmed.
He said evidence gathered so far suggested direct involvement of 23 people in the attacks and three or four indirectly, who had knowledge of the operation.
Salsinha is among 12 or 13 people still at large. They include a former policeman, Marcelo Caetano, the man who allegedly wounded Mr Ramos Horta.
Mr Monteiro confirmed that an amount of money in "new 100 US dollar notes" had been found on Reinado's body, and that investigators had frozen bank accounts "at home and abroad" to track a money trail considered relevant to the assassination plot. He said he was not in a position to reveal amounts but "our experts from AFP are working on this".
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