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UN peacekeepers fail in bid to capture Timorese rebel

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UN peacekeepers fail in bid to capture Timorese rebel


An Australian-led military force launched a raid to apprehend East Timor rebel Alfredo Reinado, killing four of his men in the process. Reinado escaped and denied any of his followers lost their lives. The major is blamed for an attack on a police station last month, making off with 25 automatic weapons.

Reinado claims the police gave him the guns. “We only asked the police for the weapons and they gave them to us to defend the people, they belong to the people, so they gave me them with a handshake and you call that an assault.” The Timorese authorities are pursuing Major Reinado for his role in clashes with government forces last May. He was jailed for his part in the unrest, but escaped in a mass breakout from a prison in Dilli last August.

The UN has extended its peacekeeping mission in East Timor until February 2008. This amid fears of violence in the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for next month, the first since the country became independent in 1999.

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