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Rebellion, Defeat and Exile: The 1959 Uprising in East Timor

Rebellion, Defeat and Exile: The 1959 Uprising in East Timor

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Relates in detail the 1959 "Viqueque" Rebellion in Portuguese Timor - including the background and aftermath. Sources include interviews with the few remaining participants in the Rebellion - and Indonesian, Portuguese and English-language material. An annex (E) provides detailed profiles of those rebels exiled to Angola. Comprehensive bibliography and index are included. To reduce file size, some maps, photographs and annexes have not been included.
Relates in detail the 1959 "Viqueque" Rebellion in Portuguese Timor - including the background and aftermath. Sources include interviews with the few remaining participants in the Rebellion - and Indonesian, Portuguese and English-language material. An annex (E) provides detailed profiles of those rebels exiled to Angola. Comprehensive bibliography and index are included. To reduce file size, some maps, photographs and annexes have not been included.

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Published by: Ernest Patrick Chamberlain on Feb 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/28/2013

In the late 1930s/early 1940s, Francisco “Ciko” (also as “Siku/Siko”) Lopes16
– a “nationalist” and independence activist, was reportedly forced to flee Dutch Timor
and entered Portuguese Timor.17

During the WWII Japanese occupation of
Portuguese Timor, Francisco Lopes – together with Arnaldo dos Reis Araújo18
,

collaborated with the Japanese military. Following the Japanese surrender in Timor in
September 1945, Francisco Lopes was prosecuted by the Portuguese Timor
authorities and imprisoned on Ataúro Island (22km north of Dili).19

On his release,
Lopes reportedly returned to Atambua in Dutch Timor and continued to agitate for the
independence of Portuguese Timor.20

Lopes met with young educated men in
Portuguese Timor and “the idea for integration ((of Portuguese Timor into Indonesia))

15

Much of the information for this “Inspiration” section is sourced from Rohi, P.A., Pemberontakan
Rakyat Timor Timur 1959
, Mutiara, Edition 775, Jakarta, 29 August - 4 September 1995 – and
interviews with the few surviving rebels.

16

Known as Francisco Lopes, his full name was “Inácio André Francisco Lopes – alias Siku Lopes” –

see footnote 16.

17

Rohi, P.A., Pemberontakan …, Mutiara 775, 1995, op.cit, p.14.

18

Arnaldo dos Reis Araújo, born 1913, had been jailed by the Portuguese for 29 years in February 1946
for collaboration with the Japanese during World War II – and was reportedly only released on 25
April 1974. However, a press report – White, K., “War criminal now leads provisional Timor govt”,
Northern Territory News, Darwin, 5 February 1976 – claims that Arnaldo Araújo, a “catequista
(religious teacher) who had led “Black Columns” against the Australians in Timor during World War
II, was tried for collaboration with the Japanese in 1946, sentenced to nine years “exile” on Ataúro,
was released in the early 1960s and became a teacher in Dili, and “acquired a large cattle property at
Zumalai on Timor’s south coast” (NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/1 Part 21). White’s source on Araújo’s
background is probably interviews with José Ramos-Horta. In Ramos-Horta, J., Funu - The Unfinished
Saga of East Timor, Red Sea Press, Trenton, 1987, p.32, Ramos-Horta claims that Arnaldo Araújo was
“the only Timorese to be given a prison sentence for war crimes.” However, by early 1954, according
to the Chief Justice of Portuguese Timor, about 1,000 Timorese who had collaborated with the
Japanese had been tried and sentenced – most of whom had been associated with massacres at Aileu,
Ermera and Lautém – see Australian Consulate – Dili, Memo 12/1/1, 8 February 1954 (NAA: A1838,
3038/7/1 Part 1). Araújo was the founding chairman of the Apodeti political party (27 May 1974 – see
footnote 385) and became East Timor’s first Governor after the Indonesian occupation - ie for the
period 1976-1978. See also footnotes 16 and 403.

19

A 1975 press article related that “Sitko Lopes”, a Dutch national, collaborated with the Japanese in
Dili – working as an interpreter and translator. After the war, he “returned to Europe” – but on his
return to Dili in 1948, he was arrested, tried as a collaborator and sentenced to 10 years on Ataúro.
When his appeal was heard in Goa in 1958, he was sentenced to an additional six years – but remained
imprisoned for a further 16 years ie totalling 26 years: Seah, C.N., “Island of Death”, The Straits
Times, Singapore, late October 1975 (NAA: A10463, 801/13/11/3 Part 3, p.279). The article also
briefly mentioned the incarceration of Arnaldo Araújo (footnote 15 above). In September 1959, the
Indonesian Consul in Dili sought clarification of the status of the sentence of Inácio André Francisco
Lopes, querying his sentence of “16 years 4 months imprisonment and an indemnity of $ 3 000 – to the
relatives of the victims”: Indonesian Consul – Dili, No. 192/I, 8 September 1959. In November 1959,
the Consul sought to interview Francisco Lopes in prison.

20

Gonggong A. & Zuhdi, S., Sejarah …, 1994, p.42 also makes brief mention of
“Ciko Lopes in Atambua” as providing information on independence to “several
community leaders” in Portuguese Timor in 1953 – see Annex B. However, these
reported activities of Francisco Lopes in the early 1950s are difficult to reconcile – particularly any
return to Atambua, as he appears to have been imprisoned on Ataúro throughout the 1950s. However,
according to Salem Musalam Sagran (in an interview with Takahashi Shigehito in Dili on 19 July
2008), Lopes was in Dili in the mid-1950s and was a regular caller at the Indonesian Consulate. This
suggests that Lopes may perhaps have been on some form of “conditional release” in Dili in the mid-
1950s – ie until probably some time in 1958.

4

actually began in 1953/1954.”21

The few independence activists in Portuguese Timor
reportedly maintained contact with Lopes through Protestant pastors in the border
area.22

Within Portuguese Timor, lacking “intellectuals with leadership ability”, these
disaffected young men met with the Indonesian Consul in Dili, “Lasutna Suwarno”,
who reportedly “promised to act as the intermediary with the Indonesian central
government if the movement demanding independence was successful.”23

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