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Martinho Fernandes

District head (bupati) Viqueque

Martinho Fernandes was 52 in 1999. He was an honorary member of Kopassus and was permitted to keep a rifle in his closet at home. He remained proud of his Kopassus association in a February 1999 interview (‘They're the best soldiers the army has. The rest never wanted to work’), adding: ‘If Indonesia lets us go immediately, there will be war.’ As spokesperson for an East Timorese delegation that travelled to Jakarta early in February to protest President Habibie’s referendum decision, he said East Timor’s integration with Indonesia had to be defended ‘by any means’.[1]

He was appointed district head of Viqueque in March 1999. The previous incumbent, LtCol I Ketut Lunca, returned to TNI Headquarters in Jakarta. At his installation, provincial secretary Rajakarina Brahmana stressed it was the task of every district and sub-district head to ‘socialise autonomy’.[2]

Reports mention him playing an active role in supporting the militias in Viqueque - Makikit and 59/75. As district head he probably channeled funds from Governor Abilio Soares. Co-led by Lafaek Saburai, another Kopassus collaborator, Makikit in particular was guilty of murder and intimidation in 1999.[3]


Martinho Fernandes grew up in Viqueque and joined the Portuguese army. He became a member of Apodeti in 1974, and says Fretilin jailed him for six months. After the Indonesian invasion he worked with Kopassus to hunt down independence fighters. One account says he and Lafaek Saburai were Prabowo Subianto’s personal guards. For some years he was sub-district head (camat) of Ossu. He lost a bid to be elected district head in Viqueque in 1994, becoming head of the planning board in Viqueque instead (Bappeda). In the same year he testified against Xanana Gusmao during his Jakarta trial. In 1995, apparently on BrigGen Prabowo’s orders, he led a pro-Indonesian militia named Gardapaksi in an attack on the Dutch embassy in Jakarta, to protest the embassy’s indulgence of independence supporters seeking asylum.[4]

Extra Information

Current Status:
1 - Priority 1 for further investigation. Not included in any other formal list, but mentioned in other independent reports, and supported by considerable data.

See map of location

This individual is also mentioned in these profiles:
Lafaek Saburai
Abilio Soares
LtCol Djoko Soekarsono
LtGen (ret) Prabowo Subianto Djojohadikusumo

[1] Dan Murphy, ‘East Timor up in arms: Indonesian military looks set to sour independence plans’, Far Eastern Economic Review, 18 February 1999; ‘39 tokoh Timtim protes opsi Indonesia’, Jawa Pos, 7 February 1999.

[2] ‘Salahi konsensus, aktivitas jubir PBB di Timtim’, Kompas, 20 May 1999.

[3] 'Menelusuri mereka yang bertikai di Liquica (1): Ada M-16 hingga Mouser di Prointegrasi', Jawa Pos, 12 April 1999; 'Pratiwi: Catatan perjalanan di bumi Loro Sa'e (11)', MateBEAN, 13 October 1999.

[4] 'SGI, dalang pembantaian Timtim', Xpos, No. 15/II, 25 April-1 May 1999; ‘Behind the stoning of the Dutch ambassador’ [English translation], Suara Independen, Vol. 1, No. 6, December 1995; ‘Media statement on current East Timor situation’, CNRM, 23 February 1995 (broadcast on reg.indonesia 22 February 1995); ‘East Timor Governor threatens to resign’, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 March 1994..


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