Timor-Leste: UN welcomes apprehension of alleged associates of rebel leader
The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has welcomed the arrest and detention of five people wanted in connection with the activities of the late rebel commander Alfredo Reinado, who was killed earlier this month during the attack on President Jose Ramos-Horta.
The five were handed over in the capital Dili last night by the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) to UN Police (UNPol), who in turn formally arrested them and produced them before the Dili District Court.
The Court has ordered that they be remanded in UNPol’s custody for the night and appear again this morning.
This process exemplifies the national authorities’ commitment to the law, said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Atul Khare, who has conveyed his appreciation for the peaceful arrests to Interim President de Araujo and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão.
“The PNTL and UNPol, along with the Falantil-Armed Forces of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) and the International Security Forces, are all playing a role in operations to apprehend those involved in attacks by Reinado and his men,” he said in a press release issued in Dili.
Mr. Reinado had been the target of investigations by the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste, set up to examine the deadly violence that erupted in the tiny nation in April-May 2006. It found that he and his group were reasonably suspected of committing crimes during the fighting.
The 2006 crisis, attributed in part to differences between Timor-Leste’s eastern and western regions, began in April with the firing of 600 striking soldiers, a third of the overall armed forces. Ensuing violence claimed at least 37 lives and drive 155,000 people, or about 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes. The Security Council created UNMIT in August that year to help restore stability.