East Timor's president: UN could have caught the men who shot me

By
March 28, 2008 09:53

East Timor's president accused the UN on Friday of squandering an opportunity to catch the army mutineers who shot him last month, and described looking into the eyes of his would-be assassin just before the trigger was pulled. Australian officials on Friday strongly defended the response of their forces in the UN peacekeeping contingent in East Timor, saying that President Jose-Ramos-Horta was so wounded in the shooting that he was in no shape to make objective judgments at the time. Ramos-Horta said help was slow to arrive as he bled in the street outside his compound, and said he was told that UN police obstructed people trying to rescue him. Ramos-Horta blamed UN-backed security forces in East Timor - which are Australian-led and include New Zealand and Portuguese police and soldiers - for allowing many of the gunmen to remain at large. "I think our Australian forces handled it very effectively on the ground. I defend their absolute professionalism in how that was dealt with in very trying circumstances," Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Friday.


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