- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2008

SYDNEY, March 13, 2008 (AFP) - East Timor’s President Jose Ramos-Horta has named the rebel soldier who shot and seriously wounded him in an attack at his home last month, an Australian newspaper said Thursday.

Ramos-Horta, who is recovering in an Australian hospital, named the shooter as Marcelo Caetano, a man he once nursed back to health after Caetano was himself shot, the president’s brother told The Australian newspaper.

Caetano was a junior member of the rebel group led by former army major Alfredo Reinado, who was killed in the attack on Ramos-Horta’s residence in the East Timorese capital Dili on February 11, Arsenio Ramos-Horta said.

“Jose recognised him. He didn’t say anything as he fired his rifle. My brother was shot only 18 or 19 metres (yards) from where Marcelo was standing,” he said.

Caetano was a former member of the East Timorese army who deserted with 600 other soldiers in 2006, the newspaper said.

He is now believed to be in hiding with other rebels wanted for the near-simultaneous attacks on Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, who survived unhurt.

Asked how his brother could be sure it was Caetano who shot him, Arsenio Ramos-Horta said: “The president knew him well. Marcelo himself was shot a couple of years ago in the chest, at Tasi Tolu (west of Dili).

“When he needed an operation, the president (who was then the prime minister) organised for him to get an operation with the best doctors in Dili.

“After that he stayed in our place for a couple of weeks in 2006 as he got better.”

Arsenio Ramos-Horta has been constantly at his brother’s side as he recovers from his wounds in a Darwin hospital in northern Australia, The Australian reported.

The president on Wednesday spoke publicly for the first time in a video recorded at the hospital, in which he thanked everyone involved in helping him recover.

He did not mention Caetano in the brief message, saying he was “refraining from making a political speech.”

Ramos-Horta is expected to remain in hospital for about 10 more days, doctors said.

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