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Suspect surrenders in East Timor

Shooting suspect Amaro da Costa in police custody on 2 March
Amaro da Costa (c) denies he was the man who shot the president

A man accused of playing a part in the shooting and wounding of East Timor's president last month has handed himself in to police custody.

Amaro da Costa, who reportedly surrendered without a fight late on Saturday, said he had taken part but had not shot Jose Ramos-Horta.

The wounded leader is recovering from multiple rounds of surgery in an Australian hospital.

The country has been under a state of emergency since the rebel attack.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao was attacked by the rebels on the same day as the president, but was not hurt.

Leader sought

Mr da Costa, a former policeman, reportedly handed himself in at Turiscai, 120km (75 miles) south of the capital Dili, late on Saturday.

President Jose Ramos-Horta (file image from September 2007)
Mr Ramos-Horta has undergone several rounds of surgery

He said he had surrendered because he wanted the country to "live in calm".

Security forces have been scouring the hills around Dili since the attack in their search for the rebels, who are renegade soldiers with grievances dating back to the violence that paralysed East Timor in May 2006.

They are still looking for Gastao Salsinha, who replaced Alfredo Reinado as the rebels' leader after he was killed during the attacks.

The military said it had had "direct and indirect contact" with him and hoped he would also surrender shortly.



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