E Timor president forgives attacker

Ramos-Horta continues recovery following February 11 assassination attempt.

    Jose Ramos-Horta was voted president
    in elections last May [EPA]

    Ramos-Horta also called for calm and asked for a thorough investigation into the attacks on himself and Xanana Gusmao, the prime minister who escaped unharmed.


    The statement was released by Fernando "Lasama" de Araujo, East Timor's interim president, after visiting Ramos-Horta in the Darwin hospital where he is being treated on Monday.


    "The president also said that he forgives the deceased, Alfredo Reinado Alves, and asked the government to support Alfredo's family," de Araujo said.


    'Stop the violence'


    Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace prize laureate, was flown to the Royal Darwin hospital in Australia's Northern Territory shortly after he was shot and remained in an induced coma for 10 days.


    "The president is very lucid, showing his concern for the country and the responsibility of the head of state," said de Araujo.


    "The president also expressed gratitude to the nation and to the church for their prayers and asked people to stop the violence."


    The attack on Ramos-Horta's home underscored the continuing fragility of East Timor's nascent democracy six years after becoming an independent nation.


    Australia and New Zealand have both beefed up their security presence in the country, with international forces joining local police hunting the other renegade soldiers accused of taking part in the attacks.


    On Sunday one of the top surviving rebels involved in the raids, Amaro da Silva Susar, surrendered to police, admitting he took part in the attack on Ramos-Horta's home but denying that he shot the president.


    "I surrendered because I want my country to progress in the future, so its people can live in calm," he said.


    East Timorese authorities have issued at least 17 arrest warrants for renegade soldiers accused of taking part in the attacks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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