Subject: Ex-East Timor governor given hero's burial

Also President expresses sympathy on Abilio Soares` demise

The Jakarta Post

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ex-East Timor governor given hero's burial

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang

Thousands of people gathered at Dharmaloka heroes cemetery in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, on Tuesday to pay their last respects to Abilio Jose Osorio Soares, the last governor of East Timor before it declared independence through a UN-organized referendum in 1999.

The funeral took place under dark skies and a light rain which fell on mourners.

As the East Timorese integration champion was buried, a hymn played and many of Abilio's friends and relatives wept.

An honor guard fired their weapons in salute to the former governor, eliciting further cries from the bereaved family.

Abilio's mother, Beatris Osorio Soares, 86, attended the funeral. She was accompanied by Abilio's wife, Maria Angela Correia de Lemos Osorio Soares, and their four children.

Former commander of the Army's Strategic Reserves Command, Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto (center in photo above, with glasses), also was present.

The deputy governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Frans Leburaya, spoke during the ceremony, at one point unsuccessfully fighting back the tears.

Leburaya said during his speech that Abilio was a patriot who made immeasurable contributions to the nation.

"Abilio is a national hero. He devoted his life to the nation. He is gone now, but his work will continue to be commemorated."

Prabowo said Abilio deserved the honor of burial in the heroes cemetery.

"He struggled for the welfare of the East Timorese since the 1950s, when he was still an adolescent. The attention given by the government for his burial in the heroes cemetery shows this nation appreciates its heroes," he said.


06/19/07 15:07

President expresses sympathy on Abilio Soares` demise

Kupang (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sent a wreath to express his sympathy on the demise of former East Timor Governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares who passed away here on Sunday (June 17).

NTT Deputy Governor Frans Lebu Raya laid the wreath from President Yudhoyono at the grave of Abilio Soares during the funeral at Dharma Loka Heroes` Cemetery here on Tuesday.

The funeral ceremony which was held with full state honors due a national hero was led by Deputy Governor Lebu Raya and attended by a number of Indonesian military and police officials as well as East Timor veterans. Soares was governor when East Timor was still an Indonesian province.

Among those present during the funeral were retired Lt Gen Prabowo Subianto, former deputy army chief of staff Kiki Shanakri, retired Maj Gen Zacky Anwar Makarim and West Papua Governor Abraham Octavianus Ataruri.

Born in Dili, the present capital of Timor Leste, Abilio Soares was East Timor governor from 1994 to 1999.

He died at age 60 on Sunday after battling cancer for years. Soares passed away at 11:15 a.m. after being in a coma for four days, according to one of Soares` nephews.

He is survived by his wife and five children. (*)


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