Children taken for adoption by individual soldiers and civil servants

Abdul Rauf was wounded when Indonesian soldiers bombed his village. Soldiers rescued him and sent him for treatment in Indonesia.

Alexhia Aprilia Simatupang (Beatriz da Silva) was taken from her parents in 1992 when she was just a baby. Losing her daughter was the price her mother paid because members of her family were Falintil commanders fighting the Indonesians.

Alfredo Alves Reinado was killed in the apparent assassination attempt on President Jose Ramos Horta on 11 February 2008. In 1979, as a twelve-year-old boy, he was forced to work as a soldier’s helper, TBO. In early 1980 the soldier stowed Alfredo in a box and smuggled him out of East Timor. Helene van Klinken interviewed him about his childhood experience before he deserted the East Timorese military to lead a rebel band.

Benvindo Aze Descart was 17 months old when his father, the Falintil commander Lt.Col. Aluc Descartes, was wounded. Aluc pinned a note to his son and told his men to take him to town and give him to his family. However, the district military commander heard about Benvindo and decided he would adopt him.

Biliki was taken forcibly from her family in 1978 by a Special Forces soldier, Kopassus. He gave her to another military family and she grew up in Jakarta knowing nothing about her East Timorese family. After 1999, the CAVR broadcast her story on its radio program.

Cipriano disappeared after his family handed him over to Dharmais Foundation. The wife of a soldier took him from the institution in Dili.

Elito (Bobi Rahman) was a few months old when his father, Brig.Gen. Lere Anan Timur, sent his baby son out of the forest. Elito was taken to Indonesia by a policeman. All his life Lere searched for his son and finally found him in 2010.

Five children were taken away together from Aifu, Ermera, in 1977. Brother and sister, Luis Manuel Maya and Agusta Fatima Babo; sisters Agusta and Madelina Martinz; and Cristovão, who was separated from his family. The family of Agusta and Madelina want to contact their siblings; the parents of Luis and Agusta want to see their children again before they die.

The parents of Tommy and Sonia Gandara were killed because they were Fretilin leaders. A relative asked soldiers at the military command for permission for the family to care for the children, but their request was denied. Instead the children were taken away by an Indonesian public servant. A letter of surrender states that there was no one to care for Sonia and Tommy.

Veronica was eight months old in 1977 when she was abducted from Ermera. Since then our family has never heard of her again.

Vitor Kaimanu da Costa Pinto was taken to Indonesia in 1979 by an Indonesian contractor who had compassion for the skinny, malnourished little boy. Vitor has tried several times to trace his family.

Children transferred by organisations

President Suharto established Dharmais Foundation to care for child victims of the war for integration in East Timor. It began sending children to Indonesia in 1976.

The nieces and nephews of Abilio da Conceição were spared when their parents were killed by Fretilin in September 1974. Fretilin cared for them in the building which later bacame the Seroja institution. After the invasion, Dharmais Foundation sent many of the Conceição children to institutions in Indonesia.

Floriana da Conceicão was only two years old in 1976 when she was sent to Java by Dharmais Foundation. She knew little about East Timor until her life was changed by the visit of the governor of East Timor, Mario Carrascalão, in 1984.

Petrus Kanisius Antonio Algeria was ten years old when he was sent by Dharmais Foundation with a group of 20 East Timorese children to Central Java. His departure from Dili was organised in a rush and his family was not informed.

When Petrus Kanisius and the other children arrived in Jakarta they were taken to visit President Suharto on 3 September 1977. Why would the president bother to meet 20 young children?

Henrique Araujo from Same was one of the group sent to Central Java with Petrus Kanisius. He ran away from the institution in 1983 and has never been heard of since.

Rafael Urbano Rangel Soares was seven years old when Dharmais Foundation sent him to Java. But he never forgot his family and always longed for home.

Cipriano left home with his cousin Rafael Urbano Rangel Soares. His parents agreed that he could go to Java to study, sponsored by Dharmais Foundation. However, before he left for Java, the wife of a soldier took him from the Seroja institution in Dili.

President Suharto’s daughter’s Tiara Foundation worked together with the Department of Manpower and the military to send unemployed young people to Indonesia for training and jobs, thereby removing them from East Timor so they would not take part in anti-government demonstrations and clandestine activities.

João daCosta was one of the youths forced to join the program run by the Department of Manpower.

Islamic foundations sent many young children to Indonesian to receive an Islamic education

After his mother died, Abdul Kholiq‘s aunt sent him to school at the Yakin institution because it was free. Shortly after Yakin sent him to an Islamic institution in East Java, one of many East Timorese children.

Alacino F. Gusmao (Sudirman) ran away from home in 1991 days after the Santa Cruz massacre in Dili. A soldier found him and organised for him to go to Sulawesi with Yakin.

Iqbal Alcino Menezes is the son of an East Timorese Fretilin guerrilla fighter from Uatolari, Viqueque. When Iqbal decided to convert to Islam, his decision was contested and caused many problems, for Catholics, Muslims and government and village leaders. He persisted and was sent by Yakin institution to study in Java.

Syamsul Bahari was sent to Bandung in a group of 32 children in 1988. As an older student he helped establish the Association of East Timorese Islamic University and School Students, Ikatan Pelajar Mahasiswa Islam Timor Timur. The students tried to help the many younger students who congregated in Bandung.

Abidin Haryanto sent his two daughters, Siti Khodijah (Olinda Soares) and her sister Siti Aminah (Amelia Soares), to Surabaya in 1993 at the suggestion of the soldier he worked for. In 2004 he travelled to Indonesia to bring them home.

After the referendum in 1999

There were still many Muslim students studying in Indonesia. Al-Bana Conceição described their experiences in 2004.

Many Children were separated after 1999

Zacarias Pereira was tricked into leaving East Timor after 1999 by Hasan Basri and his teacher who helped Basri. Hasan Basri refused to let children in his care return to East Timor.