The Role of Internal Resistance in East Timor’s Struggle for Independence
However, Fretilin forces grit their teeth and continued their armed resistance efforts through sporadic fighting, particularly in the border areas, and in eastern areas. This was possible made possible by the survival of central committee members such as Gusmao and Hunu, as well as the strong traditional networks in villages and hamlets that came together to support and connect the pockets of resistance. Many Indonesian officials were initially skeptical that any armed resistance groups still existed, but their doubts were slashed after a six-hour ambush on an Indonesian military post in eastern Dili confirmed the reemergence of the independence movement. Going into the 1980’s, the Fretilin resistance had found a way to regroup and devise a new military strategy to confront the Indonesian troops once more.
The East Timorese’ armed resistance was impressive, particularly in how it managed to reestablish itself after Indonesia’s annihilation campaigns. Several comparative studies on armed struggles for independence argue that guerilla warfare is most likely to succeed when supported by three key elements – a land border with a friendly state, an external weapons supplier,