East Timor president undergoes surgery after being wounded in attack on his home

Eds: ADDS background; RESTORES pvs; ADDS photos. Will be led.

AP Photo EKW102, EKW101, EKW105, EKW104


Associated Press Writer

DILI, East Timor (AP) -- East Timor President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta was shot in the stomach during an attack on his home Monday by renegade soldiers, an army spokesman said.

East Timor television reported that Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's home also came under fire, but that no one was hurt.

Ramos-Horta was being operated on at an Australian army hospital in the capital, presidential adviser Agusto Zunior told The Associated Press. It was unclear whether his injury was life threatening.

One of Ramos-Horta's guards was killed in the attack, army spokesman Maj. Domingos da Camara said.

Two cars passed Ramos-Horta's house on the outskirts of the capital, Dili, at around 7 a.m. local time and began shooting, da Camara said. A rebel soldier wanted on murder charges for a flare up of violence in 2006, was killed in a shootout with guards, he said.

Alfredo Reinado was due to go on trial in absentia for his alleged role in several deadly shootings between the rebel army troops and police units in April and May of 2006. The fighting spilled over into mayhem that left 37 people dead and drove 155,000 others from their homes.

Calm was restored by foreign troops and peaceful elections were held in which Ramos-Horta was elected president, but low-level violence had continued.

The country is now policed by the United Nations, but security in the capital was handed over to Timorese police this month.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, gained independence in 2002 after more than two decades of brutal Indonesian occupation. Its new political leaders have vowed to tackle rampant poverty and restore damaged relations between the country's police and army.

Ramos-Horta shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with countryman Bishop Carlos Belo for leading a nonviolent struggle against 24 years of Indonesian occupation.

A Roman Catholic, Ramos-Horta was born in the capital to Portuguese-East Timorese parents. He was educated as a boy at a Catholic mission and later obtained a master's degree in peace studies at the Antioch University in the United States.

Ramos-Horta's political career took off at the age of 27 when he joined a short-lived East Timorese government as external affairs minister after the half-island gained independence from Portugal, and just days before the Indonesian invasion in 1975.