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Timor president knew rebel who shot him

March 12, 2008 at 7:03 PM

DILI, Timor-Leste, March 12 (UPI) -- The president of Timore-Leste says he once helped the rebel who shot him in an assassination attempt that left him hospitalized in Australia.

President Jose Ramos Horta was struck in the chest by a bullet fired by a young rebel whom Horta had helped recover from a bullet wound two years ago.

In a statement from his hospital bed in Darwin, Horta said Alfredo Reinado, a rebel commander killed in the attack, engineered last month's shooting.

Horta's brother, Arsenio, told The Australian Wednesday that Marcelo Caetano, a rebel deserter whom Horta had personally helped, shot the president.

"When he needed an operation, the president (then prime minister) arranged him to get an operation with the best doctors in Dili," Arsenio told he newspaper. "After that, he stayed in our place for a couple of weeks in 2006 as he got better."

It was unclear why Horta had taken a personal interest in Caetano, who remained at large Wednesday.

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