Subject: 4 soldiers wanted over Timor Leste attacks surrender: PM

March 22, 2008


4 soldiers wanted over Timor Leste attacks surrender: PM

DILI - FOUR rebel soldiers sought over the coordinated attacks against Timor Leste's leaders have surrendered, prime minister Xanana Gusmao said on Saturday.

He said the group turned themselves in at Maubesi police station in Aileu district, just southeast of the capital, on Saturday at 2 pm.

'I thank all those who have surrendered. They took their responsibility for what they have done,' he said, standing with the renegades who had been taken to the palace in Dili later in the day.

'They (have) become a good example for Salsinha,' he said, referring to Gastao Salsinha, who tops the wanted list for last month's attacks.

Salsinha is believed to be the right-hand man of rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado, whose group attacked Gusmao and President Jose Ramos-Horta on February 11.

Reinado and one of his men were killed when they attacked the residence of Ramos-Horta, who was seriously injured, while Gusmao escaped unharmed from an ambush on his convoy.

One of the four identified as Adolfo Dos Santos admitted he was involved in the attack on the president.

'Yes I did,' he said after Gusmao asked him if he took part in the attack.

Authorities have issued 23 arrest warrants for renegade soldiers accused of taking part in the attacks.

Armed Forces Commander Taur Matan Ruak has said Salsinha and many of his men were hiding in a district southeast of Dili.

Timor Leste's military and police, with help from an Australian-led international stabilisation force, have been pursuing the rebels. Eight renegades have surrendered so far.

International forces were sent to Timor Leste after friction erupted in 2006 between army and police factions after a military desertion led to an increase in street violence that left 37 people dead. -- AFP

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