In the aftermath of the 2006 crisis in Timor, Portugal has deployed extra soldiers from the Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) in Timor-Leste, its former colony.

Portugal maintains the “Detachment Bravo” of about 200 GNR personnel, to maintain public order in Dili. There have been complaints of heavy-handed operational procedures by GNR troops and differences with Australia over command and control.

Government sources

Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) website (in Portuguese)

Portugal-Timor Status of Forces agreement, Lao Hamutuk website

Protocol of Agreement Between the Government of the Portuguese Republic and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste on the Deployment and Period of Stay of a Contingent of the National Republican Guard in Timor?Leste.

Portuguese join Aussies for range practice in Dili, Department of Defence website, Operation Astute photo gallery, 12 February 2009.

Australian Army Captain Mark Smith supervises Portuguese Republic National Guard Lieutenants, Edwardo Mendes, and Malfada Martines during a timed shoot with the use of a ‘Pac Timer’ and Australian F88 Austyer rifles, at a range practice in Dili, East Timor.”

Commentary and analysis

Timor-Leste: Security Sector Reform, Asia Report No. 143, International Crisis Group, 17 January 2008, p.12

“Portugal trains the army and provides advisors of which, as of August 2007, there were eight in either military of army structures. Training is mostly coordinated with the Australian defence cooperation program. Lisbon has supported the naval component by supplying two boats in 2002 and training for two officers a year in Portugal. The most visible influence is its contribution to policing in the form of the paramilitary National Republican Guard (GNR), much respected by the Timorese leadership and known for its “robust” style.”

Video slideshow – Portuguese GNR troops in Timor, YouTube

Commentary and Analysis

Interview with Brigadier Mick Slater, Commander JTF 631, Australian Army Journal, Volume 3 Number 2, 2006, pp9-14.

“We have been very fortunate to have our Kiwi and Malaysian friends alongside us in Timor Leste.…The arrangements with the Portuguese GNR – their gendarmerie – were more challenging. However, we have achieved very good coordination by embedding liaison officers with them. While they are not under operational control, this has not prevented a very good degree of synchronisation of effects. And they bring a different set of capabilities to this operation, which have been very valuable.”

See also:

United Nations Police (UNPOL)