Sunday, March 04, 2007

Troops kill 4 in hunt for Reinado

Troops kill 4 in hunt for Reinado
The Defence Department says Australian troops have killed four armed East Timorese men when they stormed the former stronghold of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado.

Reinado has evaded capture after International Security Force (ISF) troops entered the town of Same this morning.

The rebel leader has been holed up in the town, south of the capital Dili, since last week.

He has been on the run since he escaped from prison last August.

The Department says operations will continue until Reinado is arrested.

"Searches are under way, including helicopter surveillance, road blocks and vehicle and foot patrols for Reinado and associates," a statement said.

The Department says shots have been fired during the operation but no members of the International Security Force (ISF) have been killed or injured.

"Four armed Timorese men were killed during the operation when they posed an immediate threat to the lives of the ISF members involved," it said.

The statement says reports of a helicopter crash are false.

It says the ISF will be increased but does not say by how many Australian troops.

There has also been unrest in the East Timorese capital, Dili.

Reports from the capital say shots have been heard since early this morning, the Ministry of Education building has been razed and three cars have been torched.

Reinado, a former Army major, has been partly blamed for last year's unrest, which led to around 37 people being killed and more than 150,000 fleeing their homes

Australian and United Nations security officials in Dili say they fear the outbreak of widespread violence if the Australian soldiers kill or injure the rebel leader.


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