Subject: LUSA: UN Police Abort Grenade Attack on Gusmao, Detain Three

East Timor: UN Police Abort Grenade Attack on Gusmao, Detain Three 7 Mar-12:19

UN police aborted a planned grenade attack against East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao and defense forces chief Taur Matan Ruak in Dili Wednesday, arresting three conspirators belonging to a radical political group.

Police detained three men, identified as members of radical CDP- RDTL group, as they tried to disrupt a public meeting at Dili's gymnasium and hurriedly escorted Gusmao, unscathed, from the site.

Shortly afterwards, acting on a tip, police confiscated at least two grenades from a house near the group's headquarters in central Dili.

After the incident at the gym, where one of the alleged conspirators injured an American police officer with a chair, both Gusmao and UN police told reporters they had been advised earlier of the planned attack, which was to involve the lobbing of grenades, and had the men under surveillance.

The disturbance at the gym could have served as cover for the planned attack, which had been organized by the CDP-RDTL, or People's Defense Committee-Democratic Republic of East Timor, in secret meetings in Dili and eastern Baucau, they said.

Comd. Matan Ruak had also been a target in the aborted conspiracy, they said.

Gusmao said one of the arrested men, identified simply as Americo, had past links to Indonesia's special Kompassos forces and had "lobbed a grenade at me last April, which fortunately failed to explode".

The two other conspirators, identified as Gil Fernandes and Camilo, were sought by police for having set afire two UN vehicles last month in Dili Comoro neighborhood.

"We lament that, unfortunately, some groups want to use public meetings to create instability in Timor", Gusmao told reporters.

Separately, the transition cabinet's economics minister, Mari Alkatiri, whose Dili home was stoned Tuesday night, told Lusa that "rapid measures must be taken" to quash "generalizing political violence" which appeared aimed to indefinitely delay the holding of elections, expected in August.

UN police also detained three men, one armed with a grenade, in Baucau, after a mob of about 50 surrounded and stoned Jordanian peacekeepers Tuesday night and triggered new street disturbances Wednesday morning.


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