Masters of Terror
Home | Map | Search
Browse list of major EVENTS
Suspects by NAME
Suspecs by STATUS
Suspects by RANK
Map of East Timor
Elite Forces

  Suspect outline
Ablai militia

Nazario Vital S [Jaime] Corte Real

Commander Ablai militia, Same (Manufahi district)

Ablai is accused of intimidating and sometimes killing pro-independence activists especially in the aftermath of the 30 August 1999 ballot. It was closely related to the Indonesian military. An Indonesian newspaper reported that in April 1999 Ablai had 400 men and 70 firearms.[1] Its name is an acronym for 'Aku Berjuang Lestarikan Amanat Integrasi' ('I will fight to Preserve the Mandate for Integration').

Nazario Vital S Corte Real, the general chairman of Ablai, had held various government positions in Same since early in the Indonesian period. In 1999 he worked as a district government official (Asisten I Tatapraja Sekwilda Manufahi). Nazario is alleged to have been close to the Kopassus intelligence group SGI, and set up Ablai at their instructions.[2] Ablai was officially inaugurated on 11 March 1999.[3] The SGI commander at this time was LtCol Yayat Sudrajat. The military district commander in Manufahi in 1999 was at first LtCol Suwondo, and then Maj Sinaga. Ablai also received support from Battalion 301, commanded by Maj Rahmat Pribadi.

Nazario Corte Real's deputies in Ablai were:

  • Francisco Capela (Kapela Ferao) and
  • Guilhermino Marcal, former head of Holarua village[4]

Nazario's house was the centre of radio communications for Ablai. The militia was highly decentralised. He claimed in an interview that it had 5,000 members divided into 16 'companies', one of them entirely female. He traced the militia's origins to the need to respond to Falintil pressure following a Falintil ambush on a group that included Kopassus soldiers at Weberek, in the Same area, on 29 October 1998. In reality it had about 2000 members.

Ablai militiamen in Same township attempted to hinder villagers from registering for the Unamet ballot from early June 1999 onwards.[5] Among several reports of Ablai terror against alleged pro-independence supporters was one claiming Ablai militiamen stabbed Antero da Costa at the militia post in the vicinity of Same township on 6 August 1999.[6] Ablai received Indonesian government funding. A leaked letter from East Timor governor Abilio Soares mentions Ablai slated to receive World Bank poverty relief funds.[7]

An intercepted TNI radio communication on 27 August 1999, just before the ballot, included orders to the Ablai militia. This demonstrated a close link between the military and the militia. The order included last-minute efforts to pressure 'our people' standing in the queue to vote in the ballot.[8] 

In the immediate ballot aftermath, Unamet Military Liaison Officers in Same observed heavily armed Ablai militiamen (carrying a grenade launcher among others). The militiamen threatened to kill any local Unamet staff found in a UN vehicle.[9] At 10:00 am on 4 September Ablai militiamen forced Unamet staff to evacuate the Same post, and four local staff disappeared.[10]

A 19-year old Ablai member confessed to an NGO observer on 23 September 1999 that after the ballot he took part in coordination meetings with the Indonesian military, and engaged in house burnings and killing alleged pro-independence supporters in Same.[11]

Four members of Tim Sasurut Ablai, a militia within the overall Ablai militia structure (presumably one of Nazario's 'companies'), were indicted on 7 August 2001 for crimes against humanity before the Special Panel for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court. They were Benjamin Sarmento, Romeiro Tilman, Joao Sarmento and Domingos Mendonca. Operating from Leubrema village, near Orema village in Same sub-district , Manufahi. They were accused of murdering seven individuals whom they suspected of pro-independence sentiments at various times between April and September 1999. They also carried out the forced deportation of the local population to West Timor after 4 September.[12] The commander of this Tim Sasurut Ablai, Bernadino [Bernardino] da Costa, alias Mata Satu, was charged in absentia with crimes against humanity in the Dili district court on 13 February 2002 over these same murders. He was presumed to be in (Indonesian) West Timor.[13]

Mateus Tilman, an Ablai militia member in Holarua village,was found guilty of attempting to murder Antwer Laranzeira and his three daughters Mariana Cortreal, Manuela Cortreal and Teresina Carvalho, by burning down their houses in Holarua on 2 September 1999. He was sentenced to four years prison in Dili.[14]

Ablai activities were also reported outside the Manufahi district. On 21 May 1999, Ablai members arrested Anina, a 30-year old woman in Letefoho village south of Ermera, accusing her of sending food to Falintil. She was tortured before being released a week later.[15]


Nazario was born in Hatu-Udo village, Ainaro, and was in his late thirties in 1999. He had completed junior high school when Indonesia invaded, at which time he narrowly escaped execution by Fretilin for pro-Indonesian sympathies. Early on in the Indonesian invasion he moved to Manufahi district and began work in the district government. He was a candidate for district head (bupati) in 1997, but failed due to inadequate support from the armed forces.

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:
Maj H M Sinaga
LtCol Sulastiyo
LtCol Suwondo

[1] 'Ada M-16 hingga Mouser di Prointegrasi,' Jawa Pos, 12 April 1999. This item is quoted (but wrongly says the number of men is only 100) in 'Stop bank loans until militias disarmed', Human Rights Watch (NY), media release, 20 April 1999.

[2] 'Pratiwi: catatan perjalanan di bumi Loro Sa'e (11)', MateBEAN, 13 October 1999. The assumption here is that he is the same person as Jaime Corte Real, who appears on one list as a possible war crimes suspect ('Ingin Nobel, dapat penjahat perang', Xpos, No. 34/II/2, 8 October 1999).

[3] 'Nazario Vital S Corte Real, Ketua Umum Ablai: Saya tidak mau membalas dengan air tuba', Kompas, 20 August 1999.

[4] 'East Timor consultation: Campaign period ends in wave of pro-integration terror', IFET-OP, media release, 28 August 1999.

[5] 'Laporan Komite no. 2 pelanggaran terhadap proses pendaftaran jajak pendapat', Yayasan HAK, 26 July 1999.

[6] 'Penyerangan milisi terhadap Sekretariat Dewan Solidaritas Mahasiswa dan Pemuda Timor Timur dan Kantor CNRT di Viqueque, 10 dan 11 Agustus 1999', Yayasan HAK, 13 August 1999.

[7] 'Proposed socialization budget special autonomy package for East Timor province in Manufahi regency', Governor of the province of East Timor to Regent of Ambeno Re: Approval of proposal and funds release, Dili, June 1999, English translation posted on mailing list reformasitotal, 29 June 1999; Mark Davis, SBS 'Dateline' TV program, broadcast on 16 February 2000, transcript available at

[8] 'Rekaman radio antar komandan TNI di Timtim', TNI Watch! 6 October 1999. Also see 'Revealed: proof that Indonesian army directed Timor slaughter', The Independent [London], 20 September 1999, where the military voice in the intercept is identified as Kopassus without further clarification.

[9] E Cantier-Aristide, 'Same evacuation notes - MLOs' viewpoint', Unamet Political Affairs Office, 4 September 1999 (leaked Unamet document).

[10] 'Fortilos: situasi semakin gawat', MateBEAN, 4 September 1999.

[11] Galuh Wandita, 'Eyewitness report: The situation in Dili and surrounding area after announcement of the referendum results', (unpublished report, approx. 30 September 1999).

[12] Case 18/ 2001, court documents available on JSMP website ( Those murdered were Carlito de Araujo in Grotu Lau village on or about 17 April 1999, Agapito de Araujo and Luis Boco-Siri in Orluli village on or about 17 April 1999, university student Afonso da Costa on a mountain above Orema village on or about 24 April 1999, Armindo da Costa (Armindo Tilman) and Carlito da Costa (Alberto Ximenes) at Datina village near Holarua on 30 August 1999 after voting, and Lorenso Tilman at Datina village on 4 September after the ballot result was announced.

[13] Case 3/ 2002, Serious Crimes trial documents (not on JSMP website). The murdered were Carlito de Araujo, Agapito de Araujo, Luis Boco-Siri, Afonso da Costa, Armindo da Costa, Carlito da Costa, and Lorenso Tilman.

[14] Case 8/ 2000, Serious Crimes trial documents ( The attack was led by the aforementioned Guilhermino Marcal.

[15] 'Pratiwi: Catatan perjalanan ke bumi Loro Sa'e (15)', MateBEAN, 12 November 1999; 'Fokupers: Kekerasan terhadap perempuan di Timor Timur, Januari - Juli 1999', MateBEAN, 20 August 1999.


Home | Copyright | About