Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review 28 February 2007
[Poster's note: Repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list (email@example.com) have been removed.]
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
UNMIT MEDIA MONITORING
THE UN INTEGRATED MISSION IN TIMOR-LESTE DOES NOT VOUCH FOR THE ACCURACY OF THESE REPORTS
National Media Reports
Detention of Major Alfredo
The request to capture Major Alfredo has been reported by all national media. According to Timor Post, Alfredo has had the support of many people but at the same time creating concern among the population. This daily also reported that, according to information received, the international forces were a distance of 200 metres away from Alfredo and his group in the village of Same, Manufahi District, and were also using airplanes in their attempts to capture them. In the Parliament, MPs debated the capture of Alfredo hoping that it would not cause a negative impact on the population. MPs Antonio Ximenes (UDC) appealed to the government, the UN and Major Alfredo to come to an agreement and avoid bloodshed among the population. Clementino Amaral (KOTA) is of the opinion that Alfredo will not easily submit to capture. Amaral also appealed to those involved not to shoot at each other, as it would leave the population in panic and seeking refuge somewhere else. João Gonçalves (PSD) said there are many versions of the alleged confiscation of guns at the border post and therefore it needs to be investigated. He said that he hopes Alfredo peacefully surrenders and avoids any reaction that can lead to further problems as many youths are behind him. A university student by the name of Eko Nata Jeronimo said he agrees with the request of President Gusmão for the international forces to capture Alfredo but the government should also carry out an investigation on how the guns were taken from the border police posts. Jeronimo is of the opinion that if the BPU received professional training from the international forces to provide security to the nation, how could they just let the guns be taken away from them. MP Elizario Osorio Florindo (Fretilin) is of the opinion that Alfredo must be captured alive, to collect all evidence. Mariano Sabino (PD) said the State must balance the demands of Alfredo and his group in relation to justice, to the political and military crisis of April/May 2006 adding that the capture of Alfredo would have an impact on the election process and that it would not put an end to the crisis if justice is not applied to all the authors of the crisis.
According to the media, the International Stabilization Forces (ISF) have started setting up security operations in some districts and roads block to Same stopping the population from traveling in and out of that district.
Despite the encirclement by the forces, Alfredo has reportedly said that he would not accept being captured based on the orders of the President and the State, saying they do not have the right to give orders to capture him since the orders must come from the Prosecutor General. Alfredo has also reportedly said that he borrowed the guns from BPU to protect it from some Fretilin leaders who want to use them for their political interest. He pointed out that BPU Commander Antonio da Cruz, Bobonaro District Commander Antonio Maulata and some leaders of Fretilin met last week to draw up plans, designed by da Cruz, to attack him. Alfredo said he's sad that a police commander in uniform is using his job to defend the interest of a political party and not the population. He said that Antonio da Cruz had previously joined Rogerio Lobato and Mari Alkatiri to distribute guns to civilians. PNTL BPU agent, Joao Martinho who joined Alfredo, also affirmed that Alfredo took the guns from the police post at Tunubibi border because some political party leaders want to use them for their party interest.
The spokesperson for the Petitioners', Lieutenant Salsinha Gastão, told the media Tuesday in Same/Manufahi District that the petitioners are considering to submit to the command under the leadership of Major Alfredo as the superior commander, if Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta does not have the goodwill to resolve the problems the petitioners are facing. According to STL, a big group of petitioners have joined Alfredo and his group in Same/Manufahi following his disappearance from Aifu/Ermera weeks ago. Gastão stressed that the case of Alfredo and the 'petitioners' are different but he considers Alfredo as his superior when they are together. In relation to the recommendations of the Notable Commission, Gastão reiterated that the 'petitioners' are willing to return to F-FDTL Headquarters and resolve the problems only after those responsible for discrimination within the national defence force face justice. He blames both former and present Prime Ministers and Fretilin government for failing to resolve the problems of the petitioners, noting that they made many promises but there has been no concrete implementation on the ground. The petitioners' spokesperson further said that the government has neglected the people therefore his group is prepared to give their lives to safeguard the nation and help the people.
Youths in Same/Manufahi have peacefully protested against the operations of the International Stabilization Forces demanding that RDTL constitution be respected or the population will stand up to defend it. According to one of the demonstrators, Francisco da Costa, the action was also to support Alfredo and stressed that Alfredo's presence in Same has not caused any trouble. He said that they are not happy with the International Forces presence in the area. (TP, DN, STL)
Rice From Singapore Arrives In Dili
About 200 tones of rice from Singapore are scheduled to arrive in Dili today. According to the Minister of Development, Arcanjo da Silva, after 14 March, another 2000 tones of more rice will be imported to the country and 2000 more from Thailand on March 24. Da Silva said the government has allocated 280 tones of rice for sale in Dili at the price of US$2 per 5 kilograms. In the meantime, there has been criticism by the President of the Trades and Industry Council, Ricardo Nheu, that the quality of rice provided by the government for sale is 25-40% rot. (STL)
RTTL News Headlines Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Minister Of Interior Condemns Alfredo's Action
Minister of Interior Alcino Barris has condemned the actions of Alfredo on Sunday and demands that he returns all the weapons taken from the police border posts. He said a total of 18 guns have been taken by Alfredo. In the meantime, Deputy Minister of Interior, Samoxo said an investigation team has been established to assess the incident and why the border police officers did not react to the demands of Alfredo.
ISF Commander Appeals For Alfredo To Surrender
The International Stabilization Forces commander, Malcolm Rerden has appealed to Alfredo to give himself up in order to help find a solution to the problems of the country. Speaking during a press conference Tuesday, Rerden said the ISF is working closely with the government of Timor-Leste and UNPOL to achieve peace in Timor-Leste
Rice Distribution Not Sufficient
The population have claimed that the government program to sell rice is not sufficient as one household alone can consume the 5kg in one day hence are willing to pay for more. But the Director of the Development Ministry said there has been some misunderstandings noting that each person of a household is entitle to 5kgs not 5kg per household and bags of rice should not be on sale in order to allow everybody to buy rice. Due to the insufficient rice on sale, the Government, through the Ministry of Development is scheduled to buy more rice from WFP increasing its quantity from 200 to 500 tones.
STAE Meets With Administrator Regarding Security
The Director of STAE has met with district administrators and police to discuss the security for the elections. Tomas Cabral wants to assure that voters are not threatened during the voting process. He said that during the meeting they also discussed polling centers in all the districts.
International Media Reports
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2007
13:41 MECCA TIME, 10:41 GMT Troops hunt Timor rebel commander
Australian troops in East Timor have launched a manhunt for a renegade commander accused of stealing a cache of automatic weapons from police over the weekend.
Major Alfredo Reinado, once the country's military police chief, is accused of leading Sunday's raid on a police station, weeks ahead of presidential elections.
Late on Monday Xanana Gusmao, East Timor's president, ordered security forces to arrest Reinado saying he had "done a very stupid thing".
"As the president and the supreme commander of the armed forces, I have given the authority to international forces to arrest Alfedo," Gusmao said.
Al Jazeera correspondent Hamish MacDonald, who is in East Timor, said Reinado was holed up in the town of Same in East Timor's central highlands and had vowed to resist any attempts to arrest him.
"They won't take me alive", Reinado told Al Jazeera.
Reinado has denied attacking the police post saying the police gave him the weapons.
Reinado deserted East Timor's armed forces last May along with nearly 600 soldiers, triggering violence between rival factions of the security forces that led to the downfall of the government in June.
Looting, arson and fire fights lefts 37 dead and forced 155,000 from their homes in the worst violence in East Timor since its bloody break from Indonesia in 1999.
Reinado was jailed for leading the mutiny but escaped from prison in September along with 50 other inmates.
He surrendered weapons to Australian peacekeepers several months ago, vowing to work with the country's leaders for a peaceful solution to East Timor's continued troubles.
He had been involved in negotiations with the government since last year, including meetings with the country's military chief, but until now no attempt has been made to arrest him.
Last week, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Jose Ramos Horta, East Timor's prime minister, said negotiations with Reinado had been going well and he saw no reason to change tactics.
Our correspondent says in the wake of Sunday's alleged raid, all that now seems to have changed.
In the run-up to elections both the government and the security forces are keen to show they have control of the country and reverse the growing perception that East Timor is descending into lawlessness, he says.
Australia has deployed some 800 troops to keep peace in East Timor following last year's violence and the disintegration of the country's police force.
Speaking to reporters Brigadier Malcom Rerden, the Australian commander of the International Security Force called on Reinado to surrender, saying the situation had become very serious.
"I am not going to speculate on what action the ISF may take, or when," he said.
East Timor is due to hold presidential elections in April, shortly before the fifth anniversary of its independence from Indonesia.
Australia has warned of increased violence ahead of the poll after clashes between its peacekeepers and East Timorese refugees left two civilians dead last week.
Meanwhile Phil Goff, New Zealand's defence minister, has said his country will consider sending more troops to East Timor if necessary, to bolster its currently deployment of about 150 troops.
"Clearly there is a level of violence between different regional groups and gangs within the community that do cause some concern," Goff told reporters on Tuesday.
NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES: Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional Seminario Lia Foun (LF) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]
UNMIT MEDIA MONITORING www.unmit.org
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