Commander, Dadurus Merah Putih militia, Bobonaro district
This highly educated militia leader, and university deputy rector, was on 10 July 2003 indicted in absentia in Dili for crimes against humanity for his role in the Maliana police station massacre of 8 September 1999. (For details see LtCol Burhanuddin Siagian).
When President Habibie announced on 27 January 1999 that a ballot would be held in East Timor, Natalino began to work closely with the Kopassus intelligence unit SGI to establish a militia in his home village in Bobonaro district. He often made his own car available for the militias to use. The Dadurus [Dadarus] Merah Putih militia (DMP, Red White Tornado) was based in Ritabou, three kilometres from Maliana, the district capital of Bobonaro. Its Maliana town branch was run by Jose da Silva Tavares, previously a diplomat with the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Department. In overall command of militias in Maliana was Tavares' father, the ageing pro-Indonesian fighter Joao Tavares. DMP was one of six militia groups in the Maliana district.
Apart from heading up the DMP, Natalino also chaired the Maliana branch of the pro-Indonesian political association FPDK. He lent his prestige, as well as his house and car, to the militias, but in reality the initiative always came from the military. All the groups were initiated and coordinated by the Bobonaro military district commander based in Maliana, LtCol Burhanuddin Siagian. This much is clear from the Dili indictment in which he is one of 57 accused.
On 8 April 1999 DMP took part in what was probably the first show of armed strength of militia units from around East Timor, held in Maliana. The rally was led by Joao Tavares and LtCol Burhanuddin Siagian. Natalino was in prominent attendance.
The emerging Dadurus Merah Putih militia soon acquired a reputation for extreme brutality. Within three days of the 8 April rally, Bobonaro militias conducted a series of attacks on allegedly pro-independence villagers over several days that left at least six and possibly as many as 36 dead, ten houses burnt down, and 15 people arrested and tortured. The best documented was the execution of seven people at and near Marco village in Cailaco subdistrict on 12 April (see LtCol Burhanuddin Siagian and Joao Tavares). Some of those indicted for this crime were listed as DMP members (even though DMP was in fact not formally constituted till some days later).
On 29 June, according to Appendix 5 of the KPP HAM report, Natalino Monteiro directed his militia to attack the Unamet office in Lahomea village, Maliana. The attack, like other DMP actions, was organised by Bobonaro military intelligence chief Lt Sutrisno. It left several wounded, including Unamet staff.
On 27 August, backed by Brimob police, the militia tried to force villagers in Memo, 15 km from Maliana, to participate in a pro-autonomy rally. When they refused, the militias killed four civilians and burned down 22 houses.
After the ballot, and even before the result was announced, the DMP militia went on a rampage. Five people, two of them local Unamet staff, were murdered while police and military stood by on the evening of 2 September. Militiamen under his authority took part in all of them. The perpetrators were listed as DMP militia members Joao Baptista, Vitalis Fernandes, Marito Lelo Bere Moreira (platoon commander), Jose Soares, Salvador Soares, Humberto Lopes, Martinho Afonso and Manuel, together with their TNI commanders Lt Sutrisno and Asis Fontes.
Dadurus Merah Putih members, under military direction, were involved in the massacre at Maliana police station on 8 September 1999. They were joined by the Halilintar militia, controlled by Joao Tavares. The massacre was mainly directed by Lt Sutrisno. For more details see LtCol Burhanuddin Siagian. Military-led DMP militiamen the following day at Mulau, near Ritabou, carried out a follow-up massacre of 13 who had escaped the police station.
DMP members under Monteiro's authority who have been indicted or recommended as such are:
- Joćo Fernandes, DMP leader. He became the first person to be sentenced for crimes against humanity in East Timor by the Special Panel for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court. He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for the murder of a village chief, Domingos Gonsalves Pereira, in Bobonaro District on 8 September 1999. Natalino Monteiro supplied the Samurai swords for this attack and then directed Fernandes to the Maliana police station for further orders.
- Manuel Gonsalves Leto Bere was on 15 May 2001 sentenced to 15 years prison by the Serious Crimes Panel for murdering Joao Gonsalves, an alleged Falintil supporter, on the banks of the Nunura River near Maliana towards the end of September 1999. Leto Bere was a DMP platoon commander and was acting under orders from TNI Sgt Manuel Lopez, a DMP commander in Lahomea village near Maliana.
- Victor Lopes, DMP company commander, was in July 2001 under arrest by Untaet for his involvement in the Maliana police station massacre.
- Martinho Mau Buti, DMP leader. On 22 April 1999, together with other militiamen and soldiers, arrested and then tortured to death a 26-year old villager named Almeida in Ritabou village. Mau Buti was listed in Appendix 5 of the report of the Indonesian inquiry into atrocities in East Timor (KPP HAM) for this incident with the recommendation he be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
- Joao Gomblo, Antonio Metan, and Marito, all DMP members. Also listed in Appendix 5 for their participation in the Maliana police station massacre, as well as for other abuses.
- Marcus, Luis Metan Frans, Agusto dos Santos Martins, Joao dos Santos, Juliao, Paulus, Dominggos, Adriano, Afonso, Ejebio de Jesus, Alberto, Batista, Inacio Metan, probably all with DMP. Listed in Appendix 5 for intimidating villagers and looting in the Ritabou, Holsa, and Lahomea areas.
Natalino Monteiro was born in Ritabou on 5 June 1963. After earlier schooling in Maliana he did his senior high school in Belu district, over the border in West Timor. In 1984 he enrolled in a bachelor's degree in agriculture at Brawijaya University, Malang, East Java. Upon completion in 1989 he worked in the East Timor agriculture department (Kandep Pertanian). He also taught agriculture at the territory's small University of East Timor. He then undertook Master's studies in agriculture at Gadjah Mada University, in Yogyakarta, Java. Upon completion in 1994 Natalino returned to the University of East Timor, where he became third deputy rector (student affairs). Here he became involved in the competition to be appointed rector. This sensitive position required military approval, and in order to improve his chances he took a military course at Lemhannas in Jakarta in 1996. However, he did not have enough support within the campus and failed in his bid. Natalino is married to the daughter of an Indonesian soldier.
Committed for trial in East Timor, some already sentenced.
KPP HAM. Listed in the 31/01/2000 report of the Indonesian commission of inquiry into atrocities committed in East Timor in 1999. More junior figures in Appendix 5 of the final report are added here under their superiors.
See map of location
This individual is also mentioned in these profiles:
LtCol Burhanuddin Siagian
LtCol (Pol) Budi Susilo