Fugitive E Timor rebel leader threatens revolution
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Jakarta correspondent
September 11, 2006
EAST Timor renegade Alfredo Reinado has promised revolution or a fight to the death unless the interim Government of Jose Ramos Horta is sacked and executive power handed to President Xanana Gusmao.
Major Reinado, who along with dozens of his followers escaped from jail in Dili on August 30, is on the run deep in the country's rugged inland and says that if international troops, including Australian soldiers, try to take him by force "all they will find is my dead body".
In an interview to be screened this week on Indonesian television, he accuses deposed prime minister Mari Alkatiri of "holding the remote control that directs the Government, using his agents on the inside".
Major Reinado says he is prepared to take responsibility for his part in the violence that rocked East Timor in May, leading to the loss of about 30 lives, "but only when the law itself is loyal to the little people".
So long as other political players behind the deadly clashes remain free, he says, he will not turn himself in and that his arrest on July 25 "at the orders of Jose Ramos Horta" was an attempt to silence him.
Major Reinado was imprisoned on attempted murder and firearms charges, but said he escaped after a 30-day time limit to bring proceedings against him had passed without anything happening. "I didn't run from the law. I'm here to give the law a chance to be implemented correctly," Major Reinado says.
He claims Mr Ramos Horta's administration is under the influence of "what I can call the Mozambique mafia, including Mari Alkatiri with his gang".
Dr Alkatiri, who stood down as prime minister in June after violent protests, was responsible for shaping a national budget handed down by Mr Ramos Horta, which will see regional and infrastructure development carry on aggressively.
One of the rallying cries against Dr Alkatiri was that his government was not funnelling money back to the districts - a perception his own budget attempted to address.
When he resigned, Dr Alkatiri vowed to carry his ruling Fretilin party to victory at elections due in May next year. But Major Reinado says in the interview that he doubts the country will be stable enough for polls to take place.
"We have given the Government time to resolve this problem but if they cannot resolve it, there must be a revolution, involving correct law enforcement, and all the leaders who have broken the law must be ready to face trial."
He says the Australian-led Joint Task Force had only been used "to hunt the people, including my group". "Why have they done this? We are not criminals, we are not thieves. We're not the oppressors of the people."