21 November 2012
CPD-RDTL members continue wearing military uniforms and carrying machetes intimidating local residents
ETLJB 21 November 2012 - Member of the National Parliament, Mr. Arao Noe from the CNRT Party, has expressed his concerns over the ongoing movement of CPD-RDTL (a Timorese resistance organization) in Fatuberliu in the southern district of Manufahi and called on the Government to look at the issue.
According to a report by Radio Televizaun Timor-Leste yesterday, Mr. Noe made the comments during a plenary session on Monday (19/11) in the House of the Parliament and affirmed that the presence of the CPD-RDTL members in the area had made the local residents panic and traumatised.
“People do not want their presence as they are staying in places that belong to the local residents. They also move around with machetes and this makes people scared,” he said.
Another MP, Francisco Branco from Fretilin recognized that the presence of the CPD-RDTL had made the people in the area scared and called on the Government to take the necessary action against this group.
There are more than 1000 CPD-RDTL members in Fatuberliu to hold national cooperative activities but they are in military uniforms.
But the General-Coordinator for CPD-RDTL, Antonio Aitahan Matan, has called on the National Parliament not to consider his organisation (CPD-RDTL) an illegal organisation. He said that CPD-RDTL was one of the resistance organisations and its members were truly the country’s veterans who had fought for the country’s independence for 30 years.
According to a report by Radio Televizaun Timor-Leste yesterday, he explained that his members’ presence in Weberek and Fatuberliu was to farm for developing the people’s economy so that Timor-Leste would not depend on imported goods.
Aitahan Matak also denied an allegation that his members were involved in illegal money collection. In response, he said CPD-RDTL members gathered money for realizing their activities.
Meanwhile, Timor Post also reported yesterday that Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has called on CPD-RDTL , especially in the Fatuberliu Sub district to remain calm to celebrate Don Boaventura’s hundred year anniversary of the rebellion against Portuguese colonialism.
He said all the Timorese people should be proud of the commemoration of the historic day, therefore, he believed that all mass organisations, and especially CPD-RDTL, should cooperate with all authorities to make the celebration a success.
“I have talked with President of the Republic and Mr. President has sent his adviser to Manufahi to contact the district administration, the sub district, local authorities, police and people in the area,” he told the journalists at Nicolau Lobato Airport in Comoro of Dili on Monday 19.
Mr. Xanana made the comments regarding CPD-RDTL’s movements in Manufahi District, frightening the people in the district.
Background to CPD-RDTL - CPD-RDTL Conselho Popular pela Defesa da Republica Democrática de Timor-Leste (Popular Council for the Defence of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste)
Leading figure/s: António “Ai Tahan” Matak, General Coordinator; Cristiano da Costa. Matak was a former FALINTIL resistance fighter. He was captured by the Indonesian military and taken to Kupang where he was tortured Origins CPD-RDTL was established in 1999 to restore the 1975 Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Links Links CPD-RDTL opposes both FRETILIN and the CNRT. Parliamentary seats: None. Status: CPD-RDTL is not a registered political party.
CPD-RDTL was founded in 1999 as a movement to restore the original Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste proclaimed on 28 November 1975. It is not a political parties and does not contest elections which it regards as illegitimate.
CPD-RDTL rejects the legitimacy of the state and constitution founded in 2002. It demands that Timor-Leste return to the constitution of 1975. Its leaders and supporters include former resistance fighters associated with dissident FALINTIL groups. They represent themselves as the ‘real FRETILIN’, and that the true FALINTIL resistance has the right to govern Timor-Leste. CPD-RDTL has issued its own identity cards, dismissing official identity cards as invalid.
CPD-RDTL has had links with Sagrada Família, the millenarian movement led by Cornelio (Elle-Sette, L-7), now a Member of Parliament and, as the leader of UNDERTIM, part of the AMP governing coalition. In Bobonaro and Cova Lima districts CPD-RDTL has operated alongside Colimau 2000 and Bua Malus, political/ritualist groups.
Allegations were made, including by then Interior Minister, Rogerio Lobato, that CPD-RDTL was secretly supported by military elements in Indonesia seeking to destabilise the East Timorese government. CPD-RDTL is most active in the western districts adjoining Indonesia but it is also organised in Daili, Baucau and Verqueque and is the largest political movement operating against the state. The government attempted to negotiate an arrangement with the movement in 2003 but this failed. In December 2003 through to early 2004 police mounted nationwide raids against CPD-RDTL members.
Matak was tried and placed under eight months’ house arrest in June 2007 for defaming the police involved in the shooting of two CPD-RDTL members in 2004. He was summonsed in September 2009 for allegedly plotting to disrupt the October 2009 local elections. In early 2010 there was another crackdown against CPD-RDTL supporters and alleged “ninja” gangs, but Matak was not detained for lack of evidence. CPD-RDTL protested police brutality against their members in the March-April raids.
As Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmão has held talks with Ai Tahan Matak, for instance, in Viqueque in April 2011. The movement remains active and may represent a potential problem. (Source: Political Parties and Groupings of Timor-Leste Dennis Shoesmith An initiative of Australian Labor International under the auspices of the Australian Political Parties for Democracy Program http://www.alp.org.au:6020/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?nodeguid=db25b77b-6314-4351-b5c7-05c1a9500145 Accessed 21/11/2012.)
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Sources: Radio Televizaun Timor-Leste, Timor Post. Edited by Warren L. Wright