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Indonesia Deports 4 Rebel East Timorese Soldiers


Indonesia has deported four rebel soldiers from East Timor for their suspected involvement in the February attacks against East Timor's president and prime minister. From Jakarta, VOA's Nancy-Amelia Collins has more.

The Indonesian authorities handed over the four rebel soldiers to East Timorese officials, Monday

National police spokesman Abu Bakar says Indonesian police were able to capture the four men, using intelligence given to them by the East Timorese.

"From the information given by the East Timor police, we arrested two in Jakarta and two others in the border between Atambua and East Timor," he said.

East Timor prosecutor general Longuinhos Monteiro told reporters the four men would likely be charged with attempted murder after interrogation in East Timor.

The rebel soldiers are part of a group of around 600 soldiers who were dismissed from the army in 2006.

The sacking split the military along regional lines and triggered violence that killed more than 30 people and internally displaced more than 150,000 others from their homes.

In February, rebel soldiers led by Alfredo Reinado attacked and seriously wounded President Jose Ramos Horta. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao narrowly escaped a separate attack unharmed.

The rebel soldiers deported by Indonesia Monday fled their country after the February attacks.

Indonesia's national police spokesman Abu Bakar says the arrests and deportation of the rebel soldiers illustrates the cooperation that exists between Indonesia and East Timor.

"The East Timor government asked the Indonesian government to arrest these four rebel soldiers…who were suspected to have escaped to Indonesia. This case shows good cooperation between the governments of East Timor and Indonesia," he said.

The deportation of the rebel soldiers comes nearly a week after 12 other East Timorese rebel soldiers allegedly involved in the February attacks surrendered to the authorities in the East Timor capital, Dili.

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