East Timor's President Shot, in Stable Condition

February 11, 2008 01:37 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
After being shot in the chest and abdomen by renegade soldiers, President Jose Ramos-Horta is being treated at an Australian hospital.

30-Second Summary

East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta was attacked at his home on Monday morning.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao called the shooting a failed coup attempt. The country is now in a 48-hour state of emergency and a curfew has been put into effect.

Ramos-Horta was airlifted to Darwin, Australia, after the attack. The Royal Darwin Hospital general manager said that he is in a stable condition. "He has wounds to the abdomen and lower chest. They are very serious wounds, particularly the chest injury is extremely serious," Dr Len Notaras told Reuters.

The president shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with East Timor's Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo in recognition of their efforts to spotlight the country’s struggle for independence.

This most recent outburst of violence is one among many witnessed in the country since Indonesia invaded the territory in 1975. In August 1999, under international pressure, the Indonesian government allowed the former Portuguese colony to hold a referendum on independence.

But when an overwhelming majority chose autonomy, the country was plunged into violence by troops loyal to Indonesia. The country gained full independence in 2002, but its development was stalled by gang violence in mid-2006.

Headline Links: The assassination attempt

Background: East Timor

Reactions: President Ramos-Horta is safe

Biography: Jose-Ramos Horta

Jose Ramos-Horta fled his homeland just days before the Indonesian invasion in 1975. He spent 24 years appealing to international groups for assistance with East Timor’s plight. He shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with East Timorese Catholic leader Bishop Carlos Belo. When East Timor gained full independence in 2002, Ramos-Horta was appointed foreign minister. He became prime minister after riots in 2006 killed 21 people. Ramos-Horta adopted the largely ceremonial role of president in May 2007.

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