Nicolau dos Reis Lobato

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Nicolau Lobato
Nicolau dos Reis Lobato in Declaration of East Timor (1975).jpg
Lobato in Declaration of East Timor (1975)
2nd President of East Timor
In office
7 December 1975 – 31 December 1978
Preceded byFrancisco Xavier do Amaral
Succeeded byPosition abolished[a]
1st Prime Minister of East Timor
In office
28 November 1975 – 7 December 1975
PresidentFrancisco Xavier do Amaral
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished[b]
Personal details
Born(1946-05-24)24 May 1946
Bazartete, Portuguese Timor
Died31 December 1978(1978-12-31) (aged 32)
Mount Mindelo, East Timor, Indonesia
Cause of deathKilled in action
Political partyFretilin
(m. 1972; died 1975)
RelativesRogerio Lobato (brother)
Military service
Allegiance East Timor
Years of service1975–1978
CommandsFlag of FRETILIN (East Timor).svg Falintil
Battles/warsIndonesian occupation

Nicolau dos Reis Lobato (24 May 1946 – 31 December 1978) was an East Timorese politician who is considered the national hero of the country.


Lobato was born in Soibada, Portuguese Timor on 24 May 1946.

Lobato was the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of East Timor from 28 November to 7 December 1975. Upon the invasion by the Indonesian military, Lobato, along with other key Fretilin leaders, fled into the Timorese hinterland to fight against the occupying forces. On the final day of 1978, Lobato was ambushed by Indonesian special forces led by Lieutenant Prabowo Subianto (later son-in-law of President Suharto) at Mount Mindelo.[1][2]

He was killed after being shot in the stomach on 31 December 1978 and his body was brought to Dili to be inspected by Indonesian press. What then happened to his body is unknown, but the East-Timorese government continues to pursue the issue with the Indonesian government, so that his remains can be given a proper burial.[3]

East Timor's main airport was renamed Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport in his honour.



  1. ^ The role of President was effectively dissolved as East Timor came under Indonesian occupation; Sérgio Vieira de Mello as UN Administrator 1999–2002; Xanana Gusmão as President from 2002.
  2. ^ Mari Alkatiri became the 2nd Prime Minister post-occupation in 2002.


  1. ^ "Indonesia: Fretilin leader shot dead in East Timor (Kuala Lumpur BUSINESS TIMES in English 3 Jan 79 p 18)". Translations on South and East Asia. Arlington, VA: U.S. Joint Publications Research Service. 802: 17. 8 February 1979.
  2. ^ "Body of Timor-Leste's first prime minister still missing after 41 years". Tempo Timor. 31 December 2019. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
  3. ^ East Timor's latest attempt to find the body of its first prime minister Nicolau dos Reis Lobato ABC News, 21 February 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mário Lemos Pires as Governor of Portuguese Timor (18 November 1974 – 27 November 1975)
Prime Ministers of East Timor
(UDI government)

28 November – 7 December 1975
Succeeded by
Sérgio Vieira de Mello as UN Administrator (25 October 1999 – 19 May 2002) and Mari Alkatiri (from 2002)
Preceded by Presidents of East Timor – nominal
Succeeded by
Sérgio Vieira de Mello as UN Administrator (25 October 1999 – 19 May 2002) and Xanana Gusmão (from 2002)