E. Timor Official to Pick Up Rebels held in Indonesia

DILI, East Timor ~ East Timor’s chief prosecutor headed to Indonesia on Tuesday to take custody of three men arrested over assassination attempts against the country’s leadership, the Timorese president said.

President Jose Ramos-Horta, who was shot by rebels outside his Dili home on February 11, said that even without an extradition treaty, the men “should be sent back” as they had entered Indonesia illegally.

He said the Indonesian government had been cooperating in efforts to bring the wanted men to justice.

“So for those intending to hide in Indonesia, don’t dream that they (Indonesia) will protect them,” he said.

Ramos-Horta, who was critically wounded in the assault, returned home last week following two months of treatment in Australia after the rebel attack.

Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed during the attack on the president’s home, but a number of other militants remain at large.

The rebels also attempted to ambush Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, but he escaped unhurt.

Separately, from neighboring West Timor, regional police chief Brigadier General Robertus Sadarun said that authorities were looking into who may have sheltered two of the fugitive rebels in the province.

“We are questioning a number of people that may have harbored the two men while they were in Atambua,” near the border with East Timor, he said.

Two of the three suspects were arrested in Atambua, while the third was arrested near Jakarta, he said. All three were currently being held in Jakarta.

Tens of thousands of East Timorese fled into Indonesian-controlled West Timor during unrest amid a 1999 vote for independence. Many of them have since opted to remain in Indonesia.

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