Subject: Indonesia steps up security at Timor border

Also Indonesia seeks co-operation on Timor

Indonesia steps up security at Timor border

JAKARTA, September 3 (AFP) -- Indonesian authorities have stepped up security at the border with East Timor to prevent a rebel East Timor military leader who escaped from jail from entering the country, a report said Sunday.

Major Alfredo Reinado escaped with 56 other inmates from his Dili jail last week, triggering an ongoing manhunt by UN police and international peacekeepers.

"The Indonesian embassy in Dili has asked us to be alert and conduct monitoring so that Alfredo and his friends do not cross over into Indonesia," Colonel Ediwan Prabowo, who heads military security at the border, told the Koran Tempo newspaper.

Prabowo, who could not be immediately reached on Sunday, was quoted by Tempo as saying that border troops were now reinforced by soldiers and police and residents along the border had also been asked to report anyone crossing the frontier.

Reinado was arrested last month on charges of weapons possession.

International troops discovered the rebel leader had nine handguns in his possession, despite promises from his group that they had surrendered all their weapons to Australian soldiers in June.

In May, Reinado led a group of 600 deserting troops and was accused of sparking civil unrest, including clashes among rival security forces and gang wars on the streets that killed 21 people.

The violence prompted the deployment of an Australian-led international peacekeeping force.

Reuters September 03, 2006

Indonesia seeks co-operation on Timor

From correspondents in Dili

AUSTRALIA, Indonesia and East Timor should aim to increase co-operation at upcoming three-country talks, Jakarta's foreign minister said today amid renewed concerns about stability in the tiny fledging nation.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda made the comments on his arrival in Dili ahead of a meeting tomorrow with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, East Timor Prime Mininster Jose Ramos-Horta and East Timor President Xanana Gusmao.

Highlighting the fragile security situation in the former Portuguese colony, more than 50 prisoners escaped from Becora jail near the East Timorese capital last week, including rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado.

"At this meeting we want to see what kind of cooperation needs to be progressed," mr Wirajuda said, with Australian military police standing guard nearby.

"We see, among other things, the need to develop cooperation between the northern part of Australia and Timor Leste, and also the eastern part of Indonesia."

Timor Leste is the official name for East Timor.

Reinado was one of the figureheads of a revolt that plunged East Timor into chaos in May, prompting Australia to lead an international peacekeeping force to restore order.

His escape on Wednesday has caused bickering among the different nations involved in East Timor's security over who bore responsibility.

The rebel leader, who is currently being hunted by security forces, urged in a video obtained by Reuters Television last week that his supporters should not resort to violence.

"Me and my subordinates must comply with the legal system but the legal system does not work properly," he said.

The United Nations refugee agency said it was concerned about an escalation in violence in Dili in recent days.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Ron Redmond said there were signs of increasing polarisation of communities in and around Dili, where some displaced persons living in camps feared night-time attacks

Five people suffered gunshot wounds in a camp in Dili on Friday and a sixth was wounded in a machete attack, an Australian Federal Police spokesman said.

There have been sporadic flare ups in violence involving gangs burning houses, or fighting one another with stones and homemade weapons since May.

The United Nations agreed last week on a new mission to East Timor, made up of some 1600 police, despite a dispute over whether Australian-led troops already there should remain independent or be part of a UN force.

Jakarta's embassy in Dili had urged the Indonesian military to monitor the border area with East Timor in case Reinado and other escaped prisoners attempted to cross, Jakarta's El Shinta radio reported.

Colonel Ediwan Prabowo, the commander of the military unit guarding the border, told the radio network that there had been no sign of Reinado or others trying to flee into Indonesia.

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service


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