For­mer E. Ti­mor guer­rilla killed in se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

An East Ti­mor for­mer guer­rilla leader has been killed in a clash with po­lice and troops, the gov­ern­ment said Sun­day, urg­ing calm in the hal­fis­land na­tion.

Mauk Moruk died Satur­day af­ter a joint po­lice and mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion in the town of Fat­u­lia in Harare province, a gov­ern­ment spokesman said in a state­ment.

“Ev­ery ef­fort was made dur­ing the op­er­a­tion to avoid this out­come,” it said.

“Re­gret­tably the Joint Op­er­a­tion ... was un­able to avoid ... con­fronta­tion in the area of Fat­u­lia re­sult­ing in an ex­change of gun­fire.”

The spokesman added that there were “two other fa­tal­i­ties and a num­ber of in­juries” but did not iden­tify them.

“The Gov­ern­ment urges zens to re­main calm.”

Moruk had of­ten chal­lenged in­de­pen­dence hero Xanana Gus­mao — who had been both pres­i­dent and premier dur­ing the first decade of East Ti­mor’s in­de­pen­dence — over ways to tackle poverty.

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Gus­mao stepped down as prime min­is­ter this year, but has stayed on as a min­is­ter in the new gov­ern­ment to try to en­sure a smooth tran­si­tion.

The gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment in May that the joint op­er­a­tion be­gan in March fol­low­ing at­tacks on po­lice, in­clud­ing a March 8 at­tack on a po­lice com­pound by a group equipped with firearms and ex­plo­sives which left four se­cu­rity per­son­nel in­jured.

It de­scribed Moruk’s group as illegal and said the joint op­er­a­tion was to “pre­vent and sup­press crim­i­nal ac­tions from illegal groups.”

A sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of the group’s mem­bers had sur­ren­dered, the state­ment said.

East Ti­mor gained in­de­pen­dence from In­done­sia in 2002 af­ter a long and bloody strug­gle against oc­cu­pa­tion.

The young democ­racy has suf­fered bouts of un­rest in the past, although re­cent years have been largely peace­ful — al­low­ing U.N. peace­keep­ers fi­nally to leave the coun­try in 2012.

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