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Emergency declared in East Timor

East Timor's PM Xanana Gusmao on Monday declared a state of emergency would be in force nationwide after President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot and wounded.
By HT Correspondent | AFP, Dili
UPDATED ON FEB 11, 2008 06:14 PM IST

East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao on Monday declared a state of emergency would be in force nationwide for at least 48 hours after President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot and wounded.

The emergency would see a curfew begin from 8:00 pm (1100 GMT), Gusmao said.

The curfew would "revoke rights to circulate freely, meaning that people cannot walk around and everybody should remain calmly at home from 8:00 in the evening," Gusmao said in a written statement.

People would also be banned from conducting meetings or rallies, he added.

It was not immediately clear when the curfew would be lifted.

The declaration must still be formally approved by the acting head of state, first deputy of the national parliament Vicente Guterres, in Ramos-Horta's absence.

It was not immediately clear when this would occur but was considered a formality.

"We should all be united in overcoming or passing this challenge that opposes our stability. Now we should remain together calmly in overcoming this moment," Gusmao said.

"I especially address myself to our youth, because I know that many of you are still feeling an urge to rebel. You should not imitate the evil deeds of an armed group which without justification wants to kill other people and damage the sovereignty and stability of the state," he added.

Ramos-Horta, 58, was shot and seriously wounded by rebel soldiers in a dawn gunbattle at his residence on the outskirts of the capital Dili and was airlifted to Australia for medical treatment.

Doctors said that though he was in a serious condition and had been struck by two or three bullets, he was expected to make a full recovery.

Gusmao was attacked shortly afterwards, but escaped unscathed.

Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who enjoys some support among disaffected youth in East Timor, was killed along with another of his supporters at Ramos-Horta's residence.

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