Team Sera (Indonesia)

Country: Indonesia
Details of Formation: Team Sera was set up in the early or mid-1990s by the military as part of a first generation of militias in East Timor. No activities are reported until 1998. Other sources also mention the militia’s formation in the 1980s. This earlier date of formation was not chosen as activity didn’t follow until the end of 1990 and one source claims that Sera was the last of the early generation of militias. It was granted legal standing by the authorities in 1999.
Details of Termination: On 25 October 1999, the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) was established by resolution 1272 passed by the UN Security Council. The UNTAET was responsible for administration, security, and maintaining law in the transition period for an independent state of East Timor which was officially created in May 2002. The group is coded as terminated with the establishment of UNTAET.
Purpose: The pro-integration militia was involved in various military tasks such as surveillance, reconnaissance, special operations and combat. It fought pro-independence rebels, particularly Falintil, and their suspected supporters. The group was meant to destabilise East Timor if people voted for independence and it was used because it could carry out military operations quickly (see relative benefit).
Organisation: The PGM was sponsored by the military and cooperated with Kopassus. It was commanded by the military at the level of the District Military Command. Its leader was Agostino Freitas Boavida, (aka Sera Malik).
Weapons and Training: The militia was armed by the military, reportedly with modern weapons. It is also described as trained.
Size: --
Reason for Membership: The group was formed based on an aversion to the “ideology of independence”, therefore ideological orientations could have been an incentive for membership.
Treatment of Civilians: The group was involved in a range of human rights violations, such as illegal detentions, extra-judicial killings, rape and torture. It was also one of the militias responsible for an escalation of the terror campaign in East Timor. Its actions mainly targeted rebels’ families and suspected independence supporters.
Other Information: The group is often just called Sera, or Tim Sera. It was sometimes confounded with Team Saka (cf.), to which it had a close relation and both were active in Baucau. In comparison to Team Saka, Team Sera was smaller and less active. For more information see book “Masters of Terror – Indonesia’s Military and Violence in East Timor”.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.