Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Aust considering request to arrest Renaido

Last Update: Thursday, March 1, 2007. 2:00pm (AEDT)
Aust considering request to arrest Renaido
East Timor has formally asked the Australian-led international forces in the country to apprehend the rebel leader Alfredo Renaido.

The fugitive army major escaped from jail in Dili last August and has been accused of raiding a police post for weapons.

The Defence Minister Brendan Nelson says the Government is considering the request, but the best outcome would be for Major Renaido to hand himself in.

"Major Renaido is charged with quite serious crimes and the East Timorese Government has requested, given some recent events, that he should be apprehended," he said.

"We're considering that request, if we do accede to that request I can assure you the Australian Defence Force will do what it always does and behave in the most professional manner that it possibly can.

"I think the most important thing is that Major Renaido, who has a number of supporters and has weapons, should do the right and honourable thing and hand himself and his weapons in to the East Timorese security forces and indeed the Australian Defence Force, that is the best possible outcome here for East Timor."

Meanwhile the Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has renewed his call for Renaido to surrender.

Earlier this week the country's President said he had authorised Australian-led international forces to track down Renaido.

The rebel leader has said he will shoot anyone who tries to arrest him.

Mr Downer says he has discussed the case with East Timor's Prime Minister.

"The Government is giving some consideration to a range of issues in relation to Mr Renaido and it's of concern to us that he is still on the loose and I think he appropriately should surrender himself to the East Timor authorities," he said.

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