Joao Mendonca de Araujo
Third deputy secretary of Covalima district
Mendonca de Araujo was formerly the chief (camat) of Tilomar sub-district, in Covalima district near Suai. In 1999 he was active in the pro-autonomy organisation FPDK. On 6 September 1999 eyewitnesses saw him standing outside the Suai Catholic church, giving orders to militias to attack those within. Upon his return to East Timor on 23 March 2001, he was personally arrested by East Timor’s police chief, Paulo Martins. Prosecutors believe militias reported to him and he knew about the attack in advance. He spent more than a month in jail before being released to live in Dili. The investigation against him is continuing. He apologised to the Suai community in August 2001, in one of the first efforts at community reconciliation. ‘I told them I am ready to take responsibility by law for what I did,’ he said.
Aged 44 in 1999, Mendonca is the son of Caetano Mendonca, speaker of the Covalima elected assembly (DPRD-II) in Suai under Indonesian rule. He is the brother of Helio Moniz. Both were leaders within the pro-autonomy organisation Untas.