02/14/2008, 00.00
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Manhunt for the president's attackers

Today the funeral is held for the rebel leader killed in the shootout four days ago, during which Ramos-Horta was wounded. The brother of the head of state denounces the incompetence of the UN troops present on the island.

Dili (AsiaNews/Agencies) - With helicopter support, Australian special forces are on a manhunt for the rebels suspected in the attack last February 10 on President Josè Ramos-Horta, who was seriously wounded, and on prime minister Xanana Gusmao, who remained unscathed.  Meanwhile, hundreds of the followers of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who was killed in the shootout, have gathered under strict security measures for his funeral in Dili.

Today the president's brother, Arsenio Ramos-Horta, launched serious accusations against the UN forces present on the island, for failing to guarantee the safety of the head of state and the prime minister, calling the soldiers "cowards".  They are blamed for not intervening in time, as soon as the alarm was sounded.

The head of the tiny country's army, General Taur Matan Ruak, is demanding explanations from the United Nations on how Reinado and his men were able to approach the president and the prime minister so easily.  According to Ruak, this was a grave episode of "incompetence".  After the clashes of 2006, in which Reinado acted as leader, 1,100 Australian and New Zealand soldiers were spread throughout the island, together with 1,600 UN policemen from 40 countries.

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See also
Ramos-Horta loses E Timor presidential election, Guterres and Ruak in runoff
Attackers of Ramos-Horta arrested, they are Timorese military personnel
Pope talks about the Middle East, the Holy Land and the food crisis with Bush
Lull in unrest in Dili as government calls for UN intervention
Increasing calls for the prime minister's resignation


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