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BELUN urges government to reverify veterans' data

Dili Weekly - February 12, 2019

Estevao Nuno – The Director of the organization BELUN, Luis da Costa Ximenes, urges the Secretariat of State for the Combatants of the National Liberation (SEAKLN) to verify the data and lists of veterans.

He said, in 2018, there were 28,896 veterans registered, which for him is a substantial number.

"We are afraid this number may increase in 2019. At BELUN we recommend this data needs to be re-verified correctly to prevent nepotism and other concerns," he said in Dili.

He added that the funds for veterans belong to people, so it should be disbursed to those who fought for independence.

"The data should be verified correctly. There needs to be witnesses and identification of the location where they were posted during the resistance so there is strong evidence they are really veterans," he said.

However, in some instances during the verification process, some have been found out to have falsified their documents and this needs to be investigated.

Meanwhile, the National Director for Combatants of the National Liberation, Joaquim Carvalho de Araujo, said during verification, they identified 1,246 applicants who were in fact not veterans. "They falsified the data," he said.

He said for example those who despite being in the mountains four or five years, but who then came down to fight alongside the enemy "killing our own. Those we do not consider combatants."

"We will stop payments to anyone we find is getting money with falsified documents," he said.

He added there are also 1,582 people whose payments are pending because even though their names are on the list they have never turned up to present themselves.

"We validate the lists. There is a validation team that directly meets with the veterans whose names are on the list. They are required to present evidence of her/his participation in the struggle," he said.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/16751-belun-urges-government-to-reverify-veterans-data