Irregular forces in Timor-Leste

Yuji Uesugi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter develops a typology of irregular forces that have played a major role in post-conflict Timor-Leste. Three irregular forces-(1) veterans groups, (2) martial/ritual arts groups, and (3) rebel groups-are outlined and their trajectories examined. The chapter depicts a recurring pattern of a pathway taken by the first two categories of irregular forces: leaders are going into politics while keeping their irregular forces intact, effectively maintaining their influence on both the political process and the fate of the irregular forces. The chapter also explains the process through which rebel groups have been dissolved. Some members of the irregular forces have been absorbed into private security companies as private security guards, highlighting a passage that can be described as transformed but preserving its capacity as a force. Two decades after the conflict ended, the political leadership in Timor-Leste now faces a critical generational turnover, in which a new generation of leaders seeks to seize power in an emerging democracy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPathways for Irregular Forces in Southeast Asia
Subtitle of host publicationMitigating Violence with Non-State Armed Groups
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781000545944
ISBN (Print)9780367699581
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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