The following articles have been taken from the internet today:
Sydney Morning Herald – March 1st 2007
AUSTRALIAN soldiers have blockaded a town in East Timor's central mountains, trapping the rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and as many as 150 heavily armed men who are refusing to surrender.
Reinado said by telephone he would shoot any soldier he saw. "Tell the Australian troops to stick surrender up their arse," he said.
Reinado's defiant stand has prompted fears of civil war after he was joined in the town of Same by Gastao Salsinha, the commander of 600 mutinous soldiers who were sacked from East Timor's army last year. Mr Salsinha told a Timorese journalist in the town that he decided to bring 100 of his men to join Reinado because "I'm still in the military and I have a job to do".
Reinado and his men have a large cache of sophisticated weapons, including at least six rocket launchers, residents say.
Wanted for murder and rebellion, Reinado said that the men with him and the Opposition MP Leonadro Isaac were "all here ready to share a coffin". "Let my family in Australia know that I love them so much," Reinado said. His wife lives in Perth.
Mr Isaac, whose party urged Reinado to stand in presidential elections due on April 9, told journalists yesterday that the word "surrender" was not in Reinado's vocabulary. Asked what he believed would happen if the renegade soldiers were attacked, he said: "Civil war."
Mr Isaac said he did not have any weapons. He said he could not leave the town because the Australian soldiers were not letting anybody enter or leave.
A Government source said Reinado had asked to resume negotiations to surrender but the request was bluntly refused.
Australian Foreign and Commonwealth Office (National) - Tuesday 27 February 2007 17:44.
The Foreign Office today revised its travel advice for the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor). We are now advising against all travel to the city of Same.The relevant points in the amended summary now read:
* We advise against all but essential travel to East Timor. Renewed outbreaks of violence in February 2007 have resulted in some fatalities. There have also been incidents of looting and attacks on vehicles. The security situation in East Timor remains uncertain and could deteriorate at short notice.
* We advise against all travel to the city of Same, due to the unstable security situation. The International Security Force and the UN Police in East Timor are recommending that foreign nationals leave Same.
* If you are currently in East Timor and are concerned for your safety, you should consider leaving. You should also ensure that your travel documents are up-to-date and readily available in case you need to leave the country at short notice. On 27 February, Indonesia temporarily closed its border with East Timor.
The Jakarta Post - Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Jakarta: The Indonesian military has deployed some 1,000 soldiers along border areas between East Timor (Timor Leste) and Indonesia, following the security crisis in the newest Asian country.MetroTV television reported the deployment was to anticipate possible penetration of East Timor rebels led by Maj. Alfredo Reinado, once the military police chief, escaped from prison in September after leading dozens of armed mutinous soldiers into the mountains.Indonesia has closed checkpoints between the two countries since Sunday to prevent any exodus of East Timorese into Indonesia.Foreign troops launched a manhunt for the renegade commander who allegedly stole a cache of automatic weapons from a police post over the weekend, weeks ahead of presidential elections in the violence-plagued country, AP news agency reported.
My own observations:
Dili – All seems to be quiet in town today but its early yet. Havn’t had any security alert SMS’s or calls from friends advising to stay away from certain areas. All the staff have turned up for work which is normally a good sign as some of them live in pretty volatile areas and they stay home when there’s trouble.
How weird is that? 10 seconds after I typed the above I got an SMS to avoid the Comoro Road in the Dom Bosco area. ‘Fighting has broken out, police on scene, avoid area’.
New one: 'Fighting at airport roundabout – avoid area'.
Is that better JJ?