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Platoon commander
Battalion 745
East Timor

Lt (Inf) Camilo dos Santos

Platoon commander, Company D, Battalion 745

Although merely a platoon commander, Lt Camilo dos Santos was described as battalion commander Maj Jacob Sarosa’s ‘right hand man’.[1] He was responsible for the battalion’s East Timorese members, who constituted a large proportion of the battalion, though none held senior commands. The battalion was based near Lospalos town in the east of the country and had seen much fighting against Falintil resistance forces over the years. Camilo dos Santos was born in Maliana, Bobonaro district.

Together with Maj Sarosa, Camilo dos Santos was indicted before Dili’s Special Panel on 6 November 2002 for his role in a campaign of murder and mayhem conducted by the battalion before and during its withdrawal to West Timor after Indonesia lost the independence ballot. Indonesia’s KPP HAM also recommended him for further investigation over this episode, but the Attorney General failed to follow through.[2]

See the file on Maj Jacob Sarosa for details of the bloody episode. The Dili indictment describes Camilo dos Santos’ own role as follows:

·        Telling Battalion 745 soldiers during an address a few days before the ballot result was announced on 4 September 1999 that if proindependence won the battalion would clear and destroy all livestock, houses, CNRT members and suipporters of independence;

·        Repeating the threat to burn houses and kill all those who voted for independence about a week before the battalion began its withdrawal on 17 September 1999’;

·        Being in command of about 40 motorcycles at the head of the battalion convoy as it travelled from Lautem village towards Dili 20-21 September 1999;

·        Taking part in the attack on the taxi carrying British journalist Jon Swain on 21 September 1999 in Becora, on the outskirts of Dili;

·        Personally shooting Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes about an hour later, on 21 September 1999 in the same place of Becora, together with one other soldier;

·        Holding command responsibility, together with Maj Sarosa, for most of the murders described in the indictment as well.

Extra Information

Current Status:
T - Committed for trial in East Timor, some already sentenced.

See map of location

This individual is also mentioned in these profiles:
Maj Jacob Djoko Sarosa

[1] Cameron W. Barr, 'Interview/ Battalion 745 Commander: "There was no violence"', The Christian Science Monitor, 17 March 2000.

[2] Indictment online at, under ‘Battalion 745’; Appendix 5, KPP HAM report.


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