|Subject: East Timor President Accuses
Police for Slaying of Gusmao Campaigners [+Manhunt]
also: Manhunt launched after political slaying in East Timor; Campaigner for Xanana Killed Ahead of Elections
East Timor president accuses police over shootings
DILI, June 4 (AFP) - East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta on Monday said it was police personnel who shot dead two activists during campaign rallies for a new party headed by former East Timor president Xanana Gusmao.
A group of five armed men opened fire on Alfonso "Kuda Lay" Guterres at the rally by the National Congress of Reconstruction of Timor (CNRT) party in the eastern town of Viqueque, on Sunday, he said.
Later in the evening, gunmen also killed another CNRT activist identified as Domingus in Ossu, also in Viqueque district. Another man was wounded in the attack, Ramos-Horta said.
"They were CNRT elements who were shot dead by members of the PNTL (the national police)," Ramos-Horta told journalists at the presidential palace.
He said the shooting incidents were "saddening" but were also "major crimes which should receive severe punishment."
"There is no impunity in this country," Ramos-Horta said.
He said the incident had embarrassed the nation and the country since the police, who should be trusted by the people and able to safeguard the elections, had failed in their duty.
"Several members of the PNTL have engaged in crime ... We see that indiscipline is still very strong within the PNTL," the president said.
He said UN Police had begun an investigation into the incident.
Campaigning kicked off last week for crucial June 30 elections to choose a new prime minister and parliament.
The polls are expected to be a tough contest between the CNRT and Fretilin, which has dominated parliament since East Timor officially gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.
Several people were reportedly injured Thursday when violence erupted between CNRT and Fretilin supporters at a campaign rally in the eastern city of Baucau, in the district of the same name.
Baucau, Viqueque and Lautem districts were strongholds of Fretilin, the former resistance movement.
Manhunt launched after political slaying in East Timor
DILI, June 4 (AP): East Timor independence hero Xanana Gusmao accused those behind the slaying of one his campaign workers of wanting to disrupt upcoming elections seen as key to restoring stability in Asia's newest nation.
Authorities said a group of off-duty police officers were suspected in Sunday's slaying, indicating that bitter divisions in the country's security forces and ruling elite that exploded into violence and political turmoil last year remain a threat.
"This is a very sad day for me and for East Timor'sdemocracy," Xanana, who will become prime minister if his party wins the June 30 polls, said in a statement Monday.
He said the killers did not want "the election process to take place in peace."
"I again call on all people of our young nation to give up violence. With violence we only hurt ourselves, our country, and those that we love," he said.
Afonso Kudalai was shot three times at close range at a campaign rally for Xanana's newly formed party on Sunday in Viqueque district, 183 kilometers (113 miles) from the capital, Dili.
Police inspector Jose Carvalho said his officers and those from the United Nations were searching for the killer or killers, whom he said were believed to be off-duty police officers. He declined to speculate on a motive for the killing.
It was not immediately clear if the shooting was related to an attack Sunday on Xanana's motorcade, also in Viqueque, when several vehicles were pelted with stones. Xanana was unhurt.
East Timor, which broke from Indonesian rule in a UN-sponsored 1999 ballot, had been heralded as a success in nation-building until a rift in the police and armed forces escalated into gunbattles, looting, arson and gang warfare just over a year ago.
The violence killed 37 people and drove 155,000 from their homes. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta was elected president on May 9, raising hopes of stability, although more than 3,000 international police officers and soldiers remainstationed in the country to maintain peace and order.
Ramos-Horta took over from Xanana, who was imprisoned during Indonesia's occupation for leading the resistance to Jakarta's rule.
Campaigner for Xanana Killed Ahead of Elections
DILI, June 4 (AP): A campaign worker for East Timor independence hero Xanana Gusmao was shot dead in escalating violence ahead of parliamentary elections later this month, officials said Monday.
"This is a very sad day for me, not only to lose a friend and trusted member of our team, but also a sad day for our young democracy," Xanana, who will become prime minister if his party wins the June 30 polls, said in a statement.
Xanana accused the killer of trying to scupper the polls, which many hope will herald a new era of peace in Asia's newest nation following more than a year of violence and bitter political divisions.
Afonso Kudalai was shot at close range during campaigning in the town of Viqueque, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of the capital, Dili, police and party officials said. UN spokeswoman Alison Cooper said the attacker was believed to be an off-duty police officer.
It was not immediately clear if the shooting was related to an attack on Xanana's motorcade, also in Viqueque on Sunday, when several vehicles were pelted with stones. Xanana was unhurt.
East Timor, which broke from Indonesian rule in a UN-sponsored 1999 ballot, had been heralded as a success in nation-building until a rift in the police and armed forces escalated into gunbattles, looting, arson and gang warfare just over a year ago. The violence killed 37 people and drove 155,000 from theirhomes.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta was elected president on May 9, raising hopes of stability, although more than 3,000 international police officers and soldiers remain stationed in the country to maintain peace and order.
Ramos-Horta took over from Xanana, who was imprisoned during the occupation for leading the resistance to Indonesian rule.
Political commentators have expressed fear that efforts by Xanana and Ramos-Horta to sideline Fretilin - which was the traditional party of resistance to Indonesian rule and currentlyholds a majority of seats in the legislature - could lead to more bloodshed.
In a statement, Fretilin "demanded that a proper independent investigation be carried out in relation to the death" of the campaign worker, alleging that he had been armed.
--------------------------- Joyo Indonesia News Service