Gus Dur installs new
Army, Navy chiefs
JAKARTA (JP): President Abdurrahman Wahid
installed on Monday Gen. Endriartono Sutarto as Army chief of staff
replacing Gen. Tyasno Sudarto who will be assigned to a desk-job at the
Indonesian Military (TNI) headquarters.
Endriartono, a 1971 graduate of the
National Military Academy, who was chief of Presidential Security Guards
in the last years of former presidentSoeharto, was sworn in to his new
post by Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri in a ceremony at the State
Megawati also swore in Adm. Indroko
Sastrowiryono, a 1971 graduate of theNavy Academy, as Navy chief of staff
replacing Adm. Ahmad Sutjipto.
Endriartono and Indroko were former
deputies of the Army and Navy respectively and both were promoted to
four-star generals just hours beforethe swearing-in ceremony.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony,
Endriartono denied speculation that prior to Monday's ceremony, there was
a tough "political tug-of-war" between the President and the
military leadership over the candidate for the Army's top post.
Many were suspicious that no formal
announcement was made prior to Monday's ceremony. In the past, the
government used to make an announcementprior to the swearing in ceremony
for top military officers.
Endriartono said the government did not
announce the replacement as it was considered "routine".
The replacement of Tyasno and Ahmad
Sutjipto adds to the number of activenon-structural generals in the
military headquarters. They include former Army chief Gen. Subagyo
Hadisiswoyo and former deputy TNI chief Gen. Fachrul Razi.
Endriartono, who has spent most of his
career on military operations and territorial commands, revealed that the
decision to name him as Tyasno's successor had been made on Friday
"I was summoned by the TNI chief
(Adm. Widodo A.S.) on Friday evening andtold about the decision. I was
then summoned by the President on Saturday morning," Endriartono
Rumors were rife that the President's
choice for the Army's top position was not Endriartono, but former chief
of the Army's Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) Lt. Gen. Agus
Wirahadikusumah. But Agus's nomination reportedly received strong
opposition from some 46 Army generals.
In his speech on Monday, Abdurrahman said
the military had the difficult job of maintaining the territorial
integrity of the country.
"Therefore an enormous strength is
needed to maintain the territorial integrity of our country, both in
terms of combat as well as administrativeskills," Abdurrahman said.
But the President stressed the
strengthening of the military was not politically motivated.
"The developing of power is not meant
for (promoting) militarism because militaristic attitudes have been
crushed and I'm sure they no longer exist," he added.
Endriartono pledged "firm" but
"proportional" sanctions on soldiers who violated the law or
the military code of conduct.
The statement came amid reports that Agus
Wirahadikusumah and Maj. Gen. Saurip Kadi would be brought before an
Officers Honorary Council for disciplinary charges.
Both men were summoned by the Army
leadership last week to explain their recent actions: Agus for being
absent without leave (AWOL) and Saurip for publishing a book about the
military's activities without the Army's permission.
Agus lost his post as Kostrad chief in
August in the middle of an investigation into allegations of corruption
in the command by his predecessors.
Saurip was the assistant for territorial
affairs to the Army chief of staff when he lost his post in April amid
rumors that he took part in a clandestine meeting to plan massive changes
in the military leadership.
Endriartono said the two would only be
brought before the honorary council if there was enough preliminary
evidence against them.
When asked about the candidate for his
deputy, Endriartono said that the matter was still being discussed by
Wanjakti (Council for high-ranking promotions and duty rotations).
As Agus Wirahadikusumah has missed the
bout for Army's top leadership, hewas rumored to be the strongest
candidate for the deputy Army chief post. Also mentioned was Kostrad
chief Lt. Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu. (byg/imn