Abilio Jose Osorio Soares, the last governor of then Indonesia's East Timor province, has been given a hero's burial in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, local press reported Wednesday.
Thousands of people gathered at Dharmaloka heroes cemetery Tuesday to pay their last respects to Abilio, whom they called the East Timorese integration champion.
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, reported English-language daily The Jakarta Post.
Former Commander of the Army's Strategic Reserves Command Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto also was present at the funeral.
Deputy Governor of East Nusa Tenggara Frans Leburaya said in a speech that Abilio 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.
East Timor declared independence in 2002 or three years after a UN-organized referendum in 1999 that ended 24-year Jakarta rule and changed its name to Timor-Leste.