An Oath for Members of the F-FDTL and PNTL: End or Calm the Martial Arts Groups

An Oath for Members of the F-FDTL and PNTL: End or Calm the Martial Arts Groups post thumbnail image

Fundasaun Mahein (FM), 30 January 2015

Press Release

An Oath for Members of the F-FDTL and PNTL:
End or Calm the Martial Art Groups

The issue of martial art groups has become a public concern. Various state authorities and civil society organizations have strongly discussed the issue of martial arts groups in the last two years.

A government resolution passed in 2013 demanded the total halt of martial arts group activities. These groups included ‘PSHT’ (Persaudaraan Setia Hati Terate), ‘KORK’ (Kmanek Oan Rai Klaran) and ‘IKS’ (Ikatan Kera Sakti). Some speculate that these groups still exist and continue to instigate conflicts within communities.

Representatives from some districts, including Viqueque, have stated that some martial art groups continue to recruit and train new members at night. Many of these communities have even approached the police with their concerns, but there is not yet a standard mechanism used to combat or dismantle these groups.

At the end of 2014, between Christmas (25/12/14) and New Year’s Day (1/1/15), a conflict took place in Baucau, involving youths from various hamlets, suburbs, and sub-districts. The majority of people believe that this conflict is related to martial arts rivalries. Three young men, houses were burned, and animals were killed during this incident.

Some suspect that members of the PNTL and the F-FDTL were somehow involved in this incident. Indeed, as noted by a recent FM report, this suspicion seems to be confirmed by the lack of any serious response by security authorities.

The possible involvement of security personnel was of great concern to the Ministry of Defense and Security. As such, on 13 January 2015, all members of the F-FDTL and the PNTL involved in martial art groups (totaling 288) were asked to participate in an “oath ceremony” at the government palace. In front of the RDTL and the flags of their respective institutions, these security personnel swore their allegiance to the people and the nation. With this oath, these former members of martial art groups are compelled to cease any involvement in gang-related conflict and to abide by the laws of the Constitution.


1. Community socialization and monitoring should take place, in order to ensure the disbanding of martial art groups, such as PSHT, IKS and KORK.

2. Former members of martial art groups should be reintegrated into their communities.

3. The F-FDTL and PNTL screen its members, in order to determine which members were formerly involved in martial art groups.

4. Involvement (or lack thereof) in martial arts groups should be considered during the recruitment process for new members of the F-FDTL and PNTL.

5. The Ministry of Justice and all relevant security authorities should take strong actions against martial art groups.

For more details, please see the following:


Nélson Belo
Executive Director of FM
Phone (+670) 7737-4222 or (+670) 77561184

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