East Timor extends state of emergency

East Timor extended by one month a state of emergency imposed after last month's assassination attempts on the president and prime minister.

East Timor extends state of emergency
Parliament voted for the extension Sunday after an appeal by acting President Fernando Lasama de Araujo. The emergency order, which bans rallies and imposes a nighttime curfew, was due to end the same day.

De Araujo said East Timor was largely stable but that security in some western districts remained "fragile."

President Jose Ramos-Horta was wounded in a Feb. 11 gun attack close to his home during which his guards shot and killed rebel leader Alfredo Reinado.

An hour later, attackers fired on a motorcade carrying Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. He escaped unhurt.

Ramos-Horta only recently left hospital in Australia after multiple surgeries.

The attacks were a sudden escalation in a bitter dispute between the government and several hundred ex-soldiers who were fired in 2006 after going on strike to protest alleged discrimination.

Police are still hunting for several rebels suspected in the attacks.

East Timor, formerly occupied by Indonesia, has struggled with political turmoil and violence since it gained independence in 2002. Most of its 1 million people live in poverty.

About 1,000 Australian police and soldiers and a separate U.N. police force are stationed in the country.

Last Mod: 24 Mart 2008, 14:59
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