17 April 2009

10th Commemoration of the Carrascalao Home Masscre

Today, 17 April, is the 10th anniversary of the murder of at least 12 people at the home of Manuel Carrascalao in Dili during the run-up to the historic popular consultation in August 1999. A commemoration will be held today at 4pm at Fundacao Oriente, Manuel's former home, in Avenida Nicolau Lobato near City Cafe. A large turn up would mean much to the family and others.

The commemoration will commence with a Mass by Fr Francisco Barreto, followed at 6 pm by the laying of wreaths at the well at the back of the house were mutilated bodies were dumped after the massacre.

A 5-page account of the crime can be found in Geoff Robinson's report on 1999 (East Timor Crimes Against Humanity) which is reproduced as an annex in  the CAVR report Chega!  (the final volume of Chega,at 10.3, pp 201-205).  http://www.cavr-timorleste.org/

The exact number killed is not known. Prof Robinson believes at least 12, others say 30 or even 60. The attack occurred following a pro-autonomy rally and formal inauguration of the militia group Aitarak outside what is now Palacio do Governo. In his keynote address, Eurico Guterres openly incited the crowd of some 5000 (which included about 1500 militia and was attended by the Indonesian Military Commander, Col. Tono Suratman and other senior military) to 'cleanse' and kill supporters of independence and "traitors", in
particular members of the Carrascalao family. Manuel Carrascalao's house was targeted because he was regarded as a traitor and because he had offered his home as a refuge to some 150 people who had fled violence in districts outside Dili, including the Liquica church massacre of April 6. Manuel's son Manuelito was amongst those killed during the attack. Manuel himself and his daughter Christina were not home at the time. Mr Carrascalao personally visited Col Tono Suratman early in the afternoon and aske him to  intervene to stop the attack but Col Suratman flatly refused.

Pat Walsh

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