I think the developments of past days are positive, but nonetheless strange when seen from afar.
Susar, or Amaro da Costa, one of Alfredo’s closest confidants, surrendered with some peers and a couple of attack rifles. He was admittedly involved in the attack on Ramos Horta on February 11.
It seems hard to believe that a man implicated in the near death of President Ramos Horta could be given a hero’s welcome — he was given a meeting with TMR and Xanana and photo-ops with the press.
But we have to remember, face-saving will prevent further violence and is clearly called for, as there are presumably more men with automatic weapons in them thar hills, and Lt. Salsinha has yet to surrender. (And plus, Ramos Horta has apparently ‘forgiven’ Alfredo.)
It seems that an interesting character named Bernardo Costa, a veteran of the resistance, was key to the break-through. To arrange his surrender, Susar rang Xavier do Amaral, who remains an important figure in Timorese politics still, who I have written about frequently.
The cantonment of Petitioners in Aitak Laran is supposedly swelling at over 600 people. I wonder whether the petitioners like their new blue track suits, or feel like prisoners?
In any case, it seems it will not be long before the novelty of being together and looking the same will wear off. The government must move quickly to establish guilt for the crimes of 2006 and the attempts of last month.