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Laksaur militia

Olivio Mendoza Moruk [Alivio/ Alipio/ Alisio Mau, Mendoza, Mendonca, Mendionca]

Laksaur militia commander, Suai

The 45-year old Laksaur militia commander Olivio Moruk was indicted in Indonesia for his role in a massacre of civilians sheltering at the Suai Catholic church on 6 September 1999. Igidio Manek, his brother and also indicted, was deputy commander. Moruk was a government employee in the public works department, a former village chief of Foholulik (Tilomar sub-district) sacked for corruption and sexual abuse. He was reportedly a Kopassus informant and had been trained by them.

The Laksaur militia he led had been formed by the military in February 1999. It had about 500 men with 100 firearms, and was based at Salele, in Tilomar sub-district on the border with West Timor just west of Suai. Its headquarters were located at the military post (Koramil Tilomar). Immediately after the Indonesian pull-out he was prominent among militia commanders along the Indonesian border with East Timor promising to wage a guerrilla campaign to recover East Timor.

The Indonesian and Dili indictments say that Moruk and his Laksaur militiamen were taken by TNI truck from their base to gather at the residence of Covalima district head Col Herman Sediono at 9am on 6 September 1999. Also in attendance were Covalima military district commander LtCol Lilik Kushadiyanto and Covalima police chief LtCol (Pol) Gatot Subiaktoro. From there Moruk led his men to the Ave Maria church and commenced to shoot at the civilians inside. Moruk personally murdered the priest Francisco Soares with a sword. Another person who led the attack was Laksaur militia leader Martinus Bere. Former Laksaur militia member Miguel da Silva (aka Miguel Mau) was also indicted before the Dili special panel (Case 8/ 2003) for participating in the massacre, as well as for earlier murdering four independence supporters in Tilomar subdistrict on 23 April 1999.

The three senior officials named above then went to the church but failed to stop the attack.. Kushadiyanto's chief of staff Capt Ahmad Syamsuddin personally joined in the attack. Afterwards Moruk raped Fatimah, the daughter of one of the victims in the church, at the district military headquarters.[1]

Moruk had only been indicted by the Indonesian Attorney General a week when he was murdered by fellow militiamen on 6 September 2000, in an area of (Indonesian) West Timor close to the border with East Timor. The continued coherence of the militia forces was demonstrated at his funeral, when Moruk was virtually given a military burial (televised nationally), with armed guerrillas standing in ranks alongside military and police units and led by Eurico Guterres.

The death of Moruk would have been a relief to Lt Sugito and Col Herman Sediono, who were indicted in Indonesia for the Suai church massacre. Moruk was scheduled to testify in cases against these two men that could have exposed the institutional culpability of the military. This led Indonesian Attorney General, Marzuki Darusman, to suspect that Moruk's killing was politically motivated: 'I think it was too coincidental that Olivio was killed right after he was named a suspect.' Moruk had already been questioned by KPP HAM in Jakarta in December 1999. Other militias, in Kupang following Moruk's death, feared the Indonesian government would now kill them as well.

Other Laksaur militiamen tried or indicted include the following.

  • Yoseph Leki, a Laksaur militia member, was sentenced to 13 years jail on 11 June 2001 by the Special Panel for Serious Crimes of the Dili District Court. He was found guilty of murdering pro-independence supporters who had fled Salele village in September 1999.[2]

  • Leonardus Casa, another Laksaur militiaman, was on 12 December 2000 indicted before the Serious Crimes Panel in Dili for raping a woman refugee in Betun village, West Timor, on 10 September 1999.[3]

In May 2002 a Laksaur militia man presumably under the command of Olivio Moruk was sentenced to five years prison in Dili for the murder of a woman at Manekiik village near Suai on 6 September 1999. He is:

  • Marcurious de Deus [Markurius?][4]

  • Damaio da Costa Nunes, a Laksaur militia platoon commander, was indicted for crimes against humanity in Dili in December 2002 for murdering independence supporter Jaime da Costa Nunes (a relative?) at Mota Ulun near Suai on 27 August 1999; for murdering refugee Albino Nahak in Suai on 6 September 1999; and for murdering Falintil supporter Jose dos Reis on 7 September for refusing to go to West Timor. He was in detention in Dili.[5]

  • Joanico Gusmao, a Laksaur militia member, was indicted before the Dili special panel in February 2003 (Case 7/ 2003) for murdering independence supporter Felix Mali on 5 September 1999. The murder on Mali, who had a physical disability, was part of an attack on Sukar Laran village, Suai subdistrict, in which survivors were forcibly taken to West Timor.

The spelling variations in Moruk’s name have produced confusion among prosecutors. KPP HAM list him as Olivio Moruk while the Attorney General's Department lists him as Alisio Mau. In another report he is referred to as Oliveira Mendionca.[6] He is probably the same person named Alipio Mau aka Alipio Gusmao and indicted by the Dili special panel on 28 February 2003 (see Igidio Manek, his brother). If so, Dili prosecutors may not have known he was dead.

Extra Information

Implicated in Events:
Suai - 6/09/1999 - Suai church massacre

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

A - (Indonesian) Attorney General's Department. Announced as suspects at various times (September 2000 - April 2001), some later dropped, some already sentenced.

K - 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:
Maternus Bere
Eurico Guterres
LtCol Lilik Kushadiyanto
Igidio Manek
LtCol Ahmad Masagus

[1] Indictment availabe on Other documentation on Judgment dated 15 August 2002 available on JSMP website.

[2] Case 5/ 2001, Serious Crimes trial documents ( Leki was with a group of militiamen who shot into crowds of refugees fleeing near Tilomar on two occasions, killing Titus Mali, Damiao Ximenes and Januari Maya on 25 September 1999, and killing Paulino Cardoso on 26 September 1999.

[3] Case 11/ 2000, Serious Crimes trial documents ( The case was dismissed because the court had no jurisdiction in West Timor.

[4] 'Lolotoe trial continues after more delays and special panel sentences two to short terms', JSMP, Dili, 3 May 2002; Case 13/ 2001, Serious Crimes trial documents (

[5] No case number yet. Serious Crimes trial documents (

[6] 'Atambua residents tense' [English translation], Surya Timor, 7 September 2000; 'Atambua city gripped, 5 killed, 69 houses burned' [English translation], Pos Kupang, 7 September 2000; Surya Timor, 29 September 1999; Lindsay Murdoch, 'Rampage became a certainty after militia leader's murder', Sydney Morning Herald, 8 September 2000; 'Olivio Moruk's nightmare', Gatra Magazine, No. 44/VI, 16 September 2000; Joanna Jolly, 'Habibie behind the violence, militia say', The Age (Australia), 19 October 2000; 'Trial of Laksaur commander's murder case underway' [English translation], Radar Timor, 21 February 200; Hamish McDonald, 'Nuns and priests reported slaughtered', Sydney Morning Herald, 10 September 1999.


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