"It's time to end the violence and crisis," said Bishop Belo during a visit with Timorese refugees, reported The Associated Press. "It is very easy for us to kill our East Timorese brothers and sisters ... our culture is a culture of war and not a culture of peace."
Bishop Belo flew in a United Nations helicopter to meet rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who has been in hiding since August, when he and more than 50 other inmates escaped from a prison in Dili, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Bishop Belo was the apostolic administrator in East Timor during the independence movement, but resigned in 2002 due to health problems. After recovering in Europe, the bishop returned to service with his Salesian order and has been doing missionary work in Mozambique.
Bishop Belo also met yesterday with former prime minister Mari Alkatiri and former interior affairs minister Rogerio Lobato. A UN report into the violence in East Timor called for both politicians to be criminally investigated in relation to the violence that broke out in East Timor in April.
There has been ongoing unrest in the small country since the April-May gang warfare, which left 33 dead and forced 155,000 people into overcrowded displacement camps. It was reportedly triggered in part by Alkatiri’s dismissal of more than one-third of the armed forces.
A UN report, issued last week, largely blamed Alkatiri’s government for the April-May violence and recommended that Alkatiri and his former ministers for defense and interior be investigated for allegedly being aware of, or involved in, the arming of civilians, reported The Associated Press.
While much of the violence has ended in recent months since the arrival of international troops, a violent incident Sunday led to two fatal stabbings outside a Catholic church. Four others were reportedly injured in fighting between rival gangs.
.- Former Aposotlic Administrator to East Timor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Bishop Carlos Belo, met Tuesday with a Timorese rebel leader and key politicians during a 10-day trip to the country, in an effort to bring about peace.