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#31083 - 21 Jun 06 04:22 Warrant for E Timor ex-minister
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Registered: 29 Mar 06
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Loc: The Toon
East Timor's prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for the former interior minister on allegations of arming civilians, a UN official has confirmed.
Rogerio Lobato is accused of supplying weapons to a rebel leader who claims he was hired to act against opponents of embattled PM Mari Alkatiri.

The warrant comes as protesters gathered in the capital, Dili, to demand Mr Alkatiri's resignation.

They blame him for failing to deal with the violence of the last few months.

At least 21 people have died in clashes and thousands have left their homes to seek safety in refugee camps.

Warrant

Donna Cusumano, spokeswoman for the United Nations Mission in East Timor, confirmed that a warrant for Mr Lobato's arrest had been issued.

It related to accusations that Mr Lobato distributed arms with the intent to alter the public order and the democratic rule of law, she said.

Rebel leader Vincente "Railos" de Concecao had claimed that he and his group of fighters had been recruited and armed by Mr Lobato to target Mr Alkatiri's opponents.

Mr Lobato resigned from his post as interior minister on 1 June after President Xanana Gusmao assumed control of the security forces in a bid to control the violence.

Mr Alkatiri has denied the allegations and says people are trying to demonise him.

Protest

But in Dili, hundreds turned out at the government palace demanding that Mr Alkatiri step down.

They blame him for a decision to sack 600 soldiers in March which led to clashes within different factions of the security forces and later sparked ethnic and gang violence.

Organisers say they expect 1,000 people at the rally and vow to stay "as long as it takes".

"If we are not confident in him to administer this government, it is our obligation to call on him to step down," Augusto Junior Tidade of the National Youth Forum said.

The crowd responded with shouts of "Step down! Step down!", the Associated Press news agency reported.

Foreign peacekeepers have upped their presence on the streets and have set up checkpoints on the main road into the city to check for weapons.

More than 2,200 peacekeepers, from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal, are currently in the country to help restore order.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5097422.stm
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#31084 - 22 Jun 06 04:26 Re: Warrant for E Timor ex-minister
Magpie Offline
Member**

Registered: 29 Mar 06
Posts: 1306
Loc: The Toon
E Timor president tells PM to go

East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao has added his voice to growing calls for embattled Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri to resign.
In a letter sent on Tuesday, Mr Gusmao asked Mr Alkatiri to step down or face being sacked.

The BBC's Jonathan Head says Mr Alkatiri is expected to announce his decision on Thursday.

Mr Alkatiri has faced mounting criticism for failing to control a wave of recent violence.

At least 21 people have been killed since unrest erupted, after he sacked 600 soldiers who were striking over pay and conditions, triggering clashes within different factions of the security forces and ethnic violence.

In the letter, which the Lusa news agency said it had seen, Mr Gusmao said that he had lost confidence in the prime minister after viewing an Australian documentary alleging Mr Alkatiri supplied weapons to civilians, apparently to intimidate his opponents.

Lawmakers

A spokesman at the prime minister's office told the BBC that Mr. Alkatiri did receive a letter from the president asking him to resign, and that he would make a decision over the next 24 hours.

Under the constitution the president has very limited powers to dismiss the prime minister, but opposition to Mr Alkatiri now appears to include members of his own party, Fretilin.

A Fretilin lawmaker, Vincente Maubucy Ximenes, said that a majority of ruling party lawmakers were demanding the prime minister's resignation.


Many blame Mr Alkatiri for not controlling the violence

"We asked the president to suspend him as prime minister and form a government of transition while waiting for next year's election," Mr Ximenes told the Associated Press news agency.

Mr Alkatiri has also been damaged by accusations in the Australian documentary that the former interior minister, Rogerio Lobato, recruited and armed a group of fighters on his behalf to act against his political opponents.

Mr Lobato is now under virtual house arrest after prosecutors issued a warrant for his arrest on Tuesday.

Mr Alkatiri has repeatedly denied the allegations and prosecutors said on Wednesday there was no evidence linking him to the case.

Mari Alkatiri is a veteran of East Timor's independence movement, who spent the 24 years of Indonesian occupation in exile in Mozambique.

He is credited with skilfully negotiating with Australia over East Timor's rights to oilfields in the Timor Sea, but viewed by many Timorese as a cold and arrogant politician, our correspondent says.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5101730.stm
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Peter Kay

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