Hundreds of weeping relatives and friends welcomed 23 Portuguese soldiers arriving home in Lisbon on Wednesday (28 July) after almost a year in captivity in Indonesia.
Hundreds of weeping relatives and friends welcomed 23 Portuguese soldiers arriving home in Lisbon on Wednesday (28 July) after almost a year in captivity in Indonesia. The soldiers were captured following the outbreak of civil war in Portugal's colony of East Timor.
SYNOPSIS: The Portuguese prisoners of war landed at the military airport in Lisbon. With them were more than 100 Portuguese from East Timor who opted for repatriation and General Morais Da Silva, the presidential envoy who negotiated their release in secret talks with Indonesian officials.
The soldiers had been in captivity for about a year. They were taken by Pro-Indonesian forces following the outbreak of civil war in the former Portuguese colony. Their release, according to General Da Silva, was unconditional. It follows the announcement in Jakarta that portugal had officially recognised the integration of East Timor as the 27th province of Indonesia. The Portuguese have denied this.
Waiting at the airport were hundreds of relatives and friends of the soldiers. None of the prisoners nor the hundred Portuguese were allowed to talk to journalists. General Da Silva said 900 more Timorese of Portuguese nationality were awaiting to evacuate the former colony.