Survivor of Dili massacre seeks refuge

Issue 

Survivor of Dili massacre seeks refuge

By Tom Kelly

DARWIN — A survivor of the 1991 Dili massacre arrived here on October 21 and is seeking political asylum. Francisco Joao Nheu flew with his wife and four children from East Timor to Bali and then bribed his way out to Australia.

Nheu was involved in the November 12, 1991, protest at the Santa Cruz cemetery which was attacked by Indonesian soldiers. He escaped the massacre by jumping the back wall of the cemetery. Nheu has also been involved with the underground resistance, passing information to the Armed Forces for the Liberation of East Timor (Falintil).

Although Nheu has expressed concern that his and his wife's families may suffer reprisals at the hands of the Indonesian authorities, this has not stopped him speaking out against the Indonesian occupation.

He reiterates the right of the East Timorese to self-determination and self-rule, pointing out that the East Timorese as a whole reject so-called "integration" with Indonesia.

"Indonesia maintains its presence in East Timor by force of arms", explained Nheu. "It is sad to see the Australian government lobbying the international community to accept the integration of East Timor in Indonesia. We perceive that this has a lot to do with our oil."

Contradicting recent claims that some Indonesian troops have been withdrawn from East Timor, Nheu explained, "There has been an increase in all major towns and villages of armed military personnel in civilian clothes".