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Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Monday, 11 February 2008

Curfew after East Timor shooting

Jose Ramos-Horta is transferred to an ambulance after arriving in Darwin
Doctors hope Mr Ramos-Horta will make a full recovery

An overnight curfew is in effect in East Timor after President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot in an attack at his home near the capital, Dili.

Correspondents say the city is calm but tense, amid fears that the attack could spark a return to factional bloodshed.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who was also attacked but was unhurt, said rebels who shot the president were attempting a coup.

Mr Ramos-Horta's condition is described as serious but stable.

He was airlifted to a hospital in the city of Darwin in Australia, where he was put on a ventilator in intensive care.

Australia, which leads a peacekeeping force in East Timor, says it is sending about 150 more troops to help stabilise the situation.

"This government will stand resolutely with the democratically-elected government of East Timor at this time of crisis," said Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Protest ban

Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and another rebel died in the attack on Mr Ramos-Horta.

Peacekeepers outside Government House on 11 February 2008
Peacekeepers have stepped up security in Dili

Several hours after the shooting, Mr Gusmao declared a 48-hour state of emergency, including a curfew from 2000 to 0600.

Gatherings and protests are also banned.

"The state will not tolerate any armed organisations or groups aiming at bringing down this state," he said.

The government was taking all steps necessary to ensure that people were protected and secure, he added.

At least 37 people were killed and 150,000 displaced in fighting between police and military in 2006, after then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri sacked a third of the armed forces.

BBC East Asia editor Andre Vornic says the recent violence and assassination attempts raise doubts about the success of nation-building efforts in East Timor.

Though nursed through its early years by the international community, the country is one of the world's poorest, torn between hostile factions.

'Coup attempt'

The attack on Mr Ramos-Horta happened before dawn on Monday (2200 GMT Sunday).

JOSE RAMOS-HORTA
Founder of East Timor's independence movement
Spent 24 years in exile after Indonesia invaded
Won Nobel Peace Prize in 1996
Former journalist, fluent in five languages

He was shot from two cars which drove past his house on the outskirts of Dili.

He suffered three gunshot wounds - one in the stomach and two in the chest - and his condition is described as "serious but stable".

But the Darwin hospital's general manager said he was hopeful of a full recovery.

"The fact that he is in a stable condition is a good sign that we should see some reasonable outcomes for him," Dr Len Notaras told AFP news agency.

Alfredo Reinado

"He's not fighting for his life but his injuries are extremely serious."

Shots were also fired at Mr Gusmao's convoy, shortly after the attack on Mr Ramos-Horta, but no-one was hurt.

Afterwards, Mr Gusmao told a press briefing that the situation was under control.

"I consider this incident a coup attempt against the state by Reinado and it failed," he said.

Jail break

An Australian-led UN force has been in charge of security in the capital since the clashes in mid-2006.

Reinado, a former naval commander, was accused of being involved in several shooting incidents during the violence and charged with murder.

But he escaped from jail and, with a group of followers, holed himself up in the mountains, refusing government pleas to surrender.

His continued stand-off with the government had led to fears of renewed violence.


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