Reinado escapes Australian attack
March 04, 2007
EAST Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado has escaped an Australian-led attempt to capture him.
President Xanana Gusmao today said Reinado remained a fugitive after escaping a raid on his camp in the East Timorese town of Same.
Four people fighting with Reinado were killed in the clash between international forces and the wanted rebel leader's gang.
The president said the operation to capture Reinado was continuing.
Troops moved on Reinado earlier today, with witnesses reporting gunfire.
The Australian Defence Force has so far refused to confirm reports of a deployment of 100 SAS troops to the nation.
An Australian Defence Force spokesman in Canberra said the Australian troop commander in East Timor, Brigadier Mal Reardon, was expected to hold a press conference in Dili this afternoon.
Reinado and his followers had been involved in a tense stand-off with Australian troops at in Same, about 50km south of Dili.
Village chief Domingos da Silva today said there had been movement in the area and that forces have been closing in on Reinado with tanks and helicopters.
He said he also has heard gunfire.
The rebel leader has previously refused to surrender and vowed to fight to the death