East Timor: President Wounded in Attack

Bloggers based in East Timor wrote about this mornings attack on the president of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta. The blogger at Diligence wrote

A friend who lives near the President’s home (about 5 kms east of the centre of Dili) called me at about 7am this morning to tell me that there was gunfire which had been going on for about 15 minutes. It appears the gunfight started at around 6:30am but perhaps the confrontation actually started earlier. Within 1/2 an hour, the security warnings apparatus came into play and it has been like that ever since.

Diligence has posted a map of the area where the attack took place.

Xanana Republic was the next blogger to mention the incident.

The ‘phones are ringing like billyo and SMS messages are ruling the airwaves right now. We heard about the attack at around 7.45am’ish, still then unconfirmed. As staff arrived we sent them home. Now we are getting ready for possible repercussions. If indeed Alfredo has been killed then we wonder how the boys in Dili, some of whom worship Alfredo as a freedom fighter, will react

The “Alfredo” Reinado that is blogger is referring was a high ranking soldier who has deserted the East Timorese army after 600 soldiers were sacked. The use of violence by the East Timorese military to quell a crowd of sacked soldiers and unemployed youth was cited as the reason for his desertion by Reinado. Reinado was arrested in July 26 but he escaped from prison a month later. An operation involving Australian commandos was launched in early 2007 to capture him. The manhunt was called off in April 2007 to facilitate dialogue with the rebel soldier.

Xanana Republic posted an update later in the day. The initial JRH refer to Jose Ramos Horta.

So far we have heard that JRH has been shot twice, with at least one round entering his abdomen. Apparently he underwent surgery here in Dili at the ISF hospital at the heliport. He will be/is being flown to Darwin for more treatment.

Re the attack on his house. As speculated earlier, it seems that the attack was carried out during JRH's normal morning walk/run. A friend who lives about 300 metres away reported a fire-fight occuring at about 0650 this morning. From various wires/radio sources it appears that two vehicles drove by and then opened fire. Radio Timor Leste is reporting that Alfredo Reinado was indeed killed in the shootout but rather than being an attacker he was in fact a guest at JRH's house and had been there for upto a week and ran out of the house during the attack to try and stop it.

The post also has an update on the ground situation in Dili, the capital of East Timor. The president is in an hospital in Darwin, Australia in critical condition.

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