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East Timor emergency extended

East Timor's acting president says he has formally approved an extension of the state of emergency after the nation was rocked by assassination bids on its two leaders.

world Updated: Feb 14, 2008 09:01 IST

East Timor's acting president said on Thursday he had formally approved an extension of the state of emergency after the nation was rocked by assassination bids on its two leaders.

"Last night I approved and officially announced an extension of the state of emergency as proposed by the government for 10 days, until February 23," Fernando de Araujo, the parliament's speaker, told AFP.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who escaped an ambush on his motorcade on Monday unharmed, had requested the extension and parliament approved it late Wednesday.

An original 48-hour state of emergency imposed in the wake of Monday's attacks blamed on renegade soldiers, which left President Jose Ramos-Horta critically wounded, expired on Wednesday evening.

Under the state of emergency, a night time curfew is in place, and gatherings and rallies of people are banned.

Gusmao said that the restrictions were aimed at "continuing to maintain stability."

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace laureate, sustained triple gunshot wounds in an assault on his residence that saw rebel boss Alfredo Reinado killed.

The president is recuperating in an Australian hospital after undergoing three rounds of surgery while Reinado was due to buried in Dili at 0800 GMT Thursday.

There have been fears that Reinado's death could stoke unrest among his supporters, mainly disenfranchised youth.