East Timor president wounded in attack
By GUIDO GOULART, Associated Press Writer 4 minutes
DILI, East Timor - Rebel soldiers attacked the home of
President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose
Ramos-Horta early Monday, wounding him in the stomach.
Gunmen also opened fire on a motorcade carrying the
prime minister but no one was injured.
"The state came under attack," Prime Minister Xanana
Gusmao told reporters. "The attempt to kill the prime
minister and president today failed and only the
President was injured."
Monday's violence plunged the recently independent
nation into fresh uncertainty after a flare-up in
violence in 2006 killed 37 people, displaced more than
150,000 others and led to the collapse of the
Ramos-Horta was in "stable condition" following the
shooting Monday and would be flown to neighboring
Australia for further treatment if necessary, Gusmao
Two cars carrying rebels soldiers passed Ramos-Horta's
house on the outskirts of Dili at around 7 a.m. local
time and began shooting, said army spokesman Maj.
Domingos da Camara. The guards returned fire, he said.
Notorious rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed in
the attack, as was one of Ramos-Horta's guards, da
Reinado was due to go on trial in absentia for his
alleged role in several deadly shootings between
police and military units during the violence in 2006.
He had evaded captured since then and refused repeated
pleas by the government to surrender.
Australian-led troops restored calm following the 2006
turmoil and peaceful elections were held in which
Ramos-Horta was elected president. Low-level violence
had continued in the country of 1 million people since
Deposed Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has maintained
Ramos-Horta's government was illegitimate. His
political party immediately condemned Monday's attack
in a statement released to the media.
East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, gained
independence in 2002 after voting to break free from
more than two decades of brutal Indonesian occupation
in a U.N.-sponsored ballot.
Ramos-Horta and Gusmao, who led the armed struggle
against the occupation, have vowed to tackle rampant
poverty and restore damaged relations between the
country's police and army.
Ramos-Horta shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with
countryman Bishop Carlos Belo for leading a nonviolent
struggle against the occupation.