Friday, March 11, 2005

Indonesia's military - bombing and backing.

http://www.insideindonesia.org/index.htm

Brawling, Bombing, and “Backing”

John Roosa writes in Inside Indonesia about Indonesia's military.

"Imagine the following scenario: three truckloads of men armed with submachine guns and grenade launchers surround a police station late one night. They shoot their way inside and then torch it. In the chaos, sixty-one prisoners escape and over one ton of marijuana being held as evidence disappears. Some of the men then drive to the electricity relay station and force the workers at gunpoint to blackout the city. In total darkness, they head off to attack another police force in the same area. When they withdraw in the morning, after nine hours of unloading their firepower into two police facilities, they have killed seven policemen, three civilians, and suffered one casualty. This is what transpired in the town of Binjai, near Medan, on 29-30 September 2002."

The attackers were members of Indonesia's elite Kostrad regiment.

The soldiers attacked the police in order to release a drug dealer who had been paying the soldiers protection money. The Kostrad soldiers wanted to make it clear that they run the drug trade in Binjai.

Maj. Gen. Agus Wirahadikusumah said in 1999 that the military were ‘backers of prostitution, gambling, and narcotics.’ (The general died rather suddenly after making this statement.)

On 26 December 1999, about 50 soldiers attacked and destroyed a police post in the village of Nipah-Nipah. They shot and killed a police corporal and seriously wounded two other policemen.

On 28 April 2000, 30 soldiers attacked a police station in Karawang.

On 19 June 2000, about 50 marines attacked a police station in the middle of Jakarta (the Mampang headquarters). They stabbed three policemen and wrecked the building.

On 15 September 2001, Kostrad troops attacked a police station in the center of the city of Madiun in East Java. Three civilian bystanders were killed in the shooting.

This is just a sample of the incidents reported in newspapers.

On 4 May 2000, a bomb was found in the Attorney General’s office in Jakarta. The serial number was traced back to the East Java army command. The bomb was reportedly planted by men working for Tommy Suharto who was being questioned by the Attorney General at that time.

The Jakarta Stock Exchange was bombed on 13 September 2000. Ten people were killed and the building was badly damaged. Among those charged with the bombing were two soldiers. Reportedly the explosives used in the blast came from the military. The two soldiers were able to escape from prison.

In Aceh, the independence forces have been able to purchase weapons from the military.

It is 'highly probable' that the army killed three schoolteachers working for Freeport in West Papua on 31 August 2002. The human rights organisation Elsham claimed that the army was responsible. The province’s former police chief, I Made Pastika privately told journalists that the police believe the army carried out the murders. Officials in the U.S. embassy in Jakarta have intercepts of the army’s radio communications. These intercepts suggest that the military murdered the American schoolteachers. According to Hamish McDonald in the Sydney Morning Herald (2 November 2002), the army wanted to pressure Freeport into paying US$10 million as protection money.

In conflict regions such as Aceh and Papua, the army 'devotes much of its time to fighting civilians and policemen to secure its own revenue'.

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