East Timor is going through troubles lately. Australia showed its support through Kevin Rudd, its Prime Minister, who said his government will do all it can to protect democracy in East Timor.
This announcement was motivated by the attacks on Jose Ramos-Horta and Xanana Gusmao, President and Prime Minister of East Timor. Both were attacked on Monday.
The President was seriously injured in shooting and he’s being treated in Australia since. The Prime Minister escaped undamaged the gunmen who ambushed his car.
In only two months, Mr Rudd has already visited East Timor twice. The second time, during a three-hour visit, he held talks with Xanana Gusmao and assured his support was “absolutely rock solid”.
During a press conference,Kevin Rudd said “Australia is here for the good times, the bad times and the difficult times.”
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, 350 additional peacekeepers were deployed to Dili. Australian troops are now about 1,000. Mr Rudd said they would remain in Australia as long as they were needed.
Xanana Gusmao thanked Australia for its faith in the country’s development and its rapid response to Monday’s attacks. “Our nation is a proud nation” he said, before adding “a bullet can wound the president but can never penetrate the values of democracy”.
The state of emergency, declared by Mr Gusmao remains in place. But despite fears of protests, the situation in Dili remains calm since Monday.
The attacks have been attributed to a group of rebels soldiers. Their leader, Alfredo Reinado, was killed on the President’s residence attack.
On Thursday, in a BBC interview, Gastao Salsinsha said he was involved in the attacks, but that they were not trying to assassinate the two top leaders. According to him, the security personnel of the President started the fire fight that killed Reinado. Mr Salsinsha declared that he had now become the rebel leader.
East Timor is independant since 2002, after decades under Indonesian rule.