Body of Dominggus da Silva returns to Flores after execution in Palu

The authorities lifted an initial ban and allowed the remains of the youngest of the three executed Catholics to be taken for burial to his village of origin on the island of Flores. 10,000 people attended the ceremony.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Around 10,000 people gathered yesterday in Maumere, Flores, Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), to pay their last respects to Dominggus da Silva. He was the youngest of three Catholics executed by firing squad in Palu on 22 September despite popular and international protest. The authorities gave the go-ahead for the body of the 42-year-old man – initially buried near Palu for "security reasons" – to be exhumed and returned to the village of his birth. His remains were welcomed at Waioti airport by relatives as well as governmental officials and local police and army leaders.

His body was taken to the Cathedral of St Joseph in Maumere, where the local bishop, Mgr Pareira, celebrated a requiem mass. Thousands of Catholics and others followed the funeral cortege that took the casket from the church to the small private cemetery of Waidoko.

Fabianus Tibo, 60 years, and Marinus Riwu, 48, the other two Catholics executed for masterminding violence targeting the Muslim community in Poso in 2000 were also buried yesterday. The first was buried in Beteleme village, Morowali in central Sulawesi province, in a ceremony presided over by Fr Jimmy Tumbelaka – spiritual director of the three men – and attended by 5,000 people; the second, as per the deceased's wishes, went to Molore, Petunia district, also in central Sulawesi province.

Before the burial took place, the men's families denied a sum of 525 dollars offered by Poso Piet Inkiriwang regency. They feel the local administration did not do enough to prevent the men's execution.