Subject: Gov't presses for int'l probe into disputed riot casualty figures

East Timor: Gov't presses for int'l probe into disputed riot casualty figures

Dili, May 18 (Lusa) - The East Timor government called on Thursday for the creation of an international commission of inquiry in order to determine how many people died in rioting last month in Dili.

The move by the Timorese authorities to press of an international investigation into the events of April 28 in Dili, when five people died and about 80 were injured according to official accounts, was in response to accusations by a dissident army officer a day earlier that more than 60 people were killed in Dili.

Major Alfredo Reinaldo, the head of the military police who broke with the armed forces high command after the deadly mob violence, also charged that Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri had illegally ordered troops to confront protestors and rioters.

Reinaldo`s account of the events surrounding the deadly Dili clashes was supported by the army's second-in-command, Colonel Lere Anan Timor, who told Lusa he had been given "verbal orders" by Alkatiri to deploy soldiers against the rioters after a crisis cabinet meeting of three ministers and Timor's police chief.

A spokesman from the Dili Foreign Ministry told Lusa that international investigators would be free to talk to whomever they liked, employ their own interpreters and have responsibility for the entire logistical organization of the process into uncovering the truth behind last month's violence and the disputed casualty figures.

The call for an international inquiry commission was made on behalf of the Timorese government by Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta, added the spokesman.



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