Subject: AU: Major's Reinado's forces attack Gusmao's sisters

The Australian

Major's Reinado's forces attack Gusmao's sisters

By Mark Dodd in Dili

March 09, 2007 04:00am

THE family of East Timor President Xanana Gusmao has been attacked in apparent revenge for the failed attempt by Australian special forces to capture rebel army major Alfredo Reinado last Sunday.

Mr Gusmao's sisters Manuela and Armandina have received death threats. Two attempts - the latest yesterday morning - have been made to torch Manuela's home in the strife-torn neighbourhood of Baire Pitte.

UN chief in East Timor Atul Khare confirmed the incidents, saying police had been sent to check on the women's safety.

But there was no sign of the blue berets yesterday when The Australian called to inspect the damage. Local residents claimed UN police were "too afraid" to venture up the narrow track near Manuela's home. The front wall of the compound was graffitied in red: "Xanana Traitor" and "Viva Alfredo".

More than 400 suspected troublemakers have been arrested over the past eight weeks by UN police and Australian and New Zealand troops, and the UN has boosted the number of riot police in the troubled capital.

Difficult terrain and the proximity of large numbers of unarmed civilians helped the bulk of Major Reinado's armed group to slip through a tight army security cordon, after a deadly 90-minute firefight in which five armed rebels were shot dead by Australian special forces.

Australian commander Brigadier Mal Rerden said the fugitive had lost his tactical advantage because his group was now split and unable to communicate. He said Major Reinado would be pursued until he was apprehended.

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