OPINION


FEATURE


FEATURED CATHOLIC WEBSITE

Nobel prize Bishop meets Timor rebels and ex-PM


In a bid to end East Timor tensions and violence, former Dili Bishop Carlos Belo, on a ten-day visit to his homeland, has met with rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and also with ousted Prime Minister Mari Alkitiri.

"It's time to end the violence and crisis," said Bishop Belo during a visit with Timorese refugees, according to an Associated Press press report quoted by the Catholic News Agency.

"It is very easy for us to kill our East Timorese brothers and sisters ... our culture is a culture of war and not a culture of peace."

Bishop Belo flew in a United Nations helicopter to meet rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who has been in hiding since August, when he and more than 50 other inmates escaped from a prison in Dili, ABC News added.

He was greeted by Reinado, who was wearing combat fatigues, and the two then held private discussions, a source quoted by the Australian added.

Bishop Belo was the apostolic administrator in East Timor during the independence movement, but resigned in 2002 due to health problems. After recovering in Europe, the bishop returned to service with his Salesian order and has been doing missionary work in Mozambique.

Bishop Belo also met yesterday with former prime minister Mari Alkatiri and former interior affairs minister Rogerio Lobato. A UN report into the violence in East Timor called for both politicians to be criminally investigated in relation to the violence that broke out in East Timor in April.

There has been ongoing unrest in the small country since the April-May gang warfare, which left 33 dead and forced 155,000 people into overcrowded displacement camps. It was reportedly triggered in part by Alkatiri's dismissal of more than one-third of the armed forces.

A UN report, issued last week, largely blamed Alkatiri's government for the April-May violence and recommended that Alkatiri and his former ministers for defense and interior be investigated for allegedly being aware of, or involved in, the arming of civilians, reported The Associated Press.

While much of the violence has ended in recent months since the arrival of international troops, a violent incident Sunday led to two fatal stabbings outside a Catholic church. Four others were reportedly injured in fighting between rival gangs.


SOURCE
Bishop Belo meets with Timor rebel leader, former prime minister (Catholic News Agency, 26/10/06)
Belo meets with Timor rebel leader (ABC News Online, 25/10/06)
Bishop tries to stop E Timor unrest (The Australian, 25/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishop Carlos Belo (Wikipedia)
Bishop Carlos Belo (Catholic-Hierarchy)

ARCHIVE
Men killed outside Dili Church as Timor's PM leaves to see Pope (CathNews, 24/10/06)
Timor bishop in bid to prevent new violence (CathNews, 13/10/06)
Timor highlanders back fugitive rebel with prayers (CathNews, 11/9/06)
'Big people' must reconcile, say displaced Timorese (CathNews 15/8/06)
Priest says coffee growers big losers in Timor unrest (CathNews 21/7/06)
Ramos-Horta wants Vatican embassy for Timor (CathNews 11/7/06)
Timor Church accused of plotting coup (CathNews 29/6/06)
Timor Church to pursue truth and dialogue (CathNews 28/6/06)
Diocese prepares to aid fleeing East Timor refugees (CathNews 11/5/06)
East Timor Catholic leaders appeal for calm after riot (CathNews 5/5/06)
Thousands shelter in Catholic centres after East Timor riots (CathNews 3/5/06)
West Timor bishop tells Govt it's time to act on refugees (CathNews 13/3/03)

27 Oct 2006