TNI, Police agree to resolve disputes peacefully
Following the alleged police violence directed at several soldiers in Gorantalo, senior officers from the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police have agreed to settle disagreements peacefully.
“The two forces held a meeting this morning where both agreed to resolve their problems through the legal process. If there are police officers who are proven to have done wrong then they should be punished. This will also apply to the military,” TNI chief Adm. Agus Suhartono said on Tuesday.
Agus made his statement following incident on Sunday, when a patrol from the Gorontalo Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob) special operations unit allegedly attacked six soldiers assigned to the Army’s local Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad).
Top police and TNI leaders assembled at Taruna Square in Gorontalo on Tuesday at a gathering led by Kostrad chief Maj. Gen. M. Munir and Gorontalo Governor Rusli Habibie.
During the meeting, the TNI and the National Police agreed to form a joint team to settle disputes, to establish transparent interagency communications and to respect the law in resolving disputes.
Antara news portal reported that the National Police have questioned several Gorontalo Police officers as of Tuesday. “We have questioned 18 police officers who know exactly what happened during the incident,” National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Saud Usman said.
The violence happened on Sunday when a Brimob patrol was pummeled with stones and bottles in front of the Gorontalo Regency General Elections Commission (KPU) office.
Officers fired their weapons in a search for perpetrators, allegedly shooting four soldiers and stabbing two more. Two Brimob officers were also injured in the mayhem.
Agus said that he was awaiting a report from the commander of the Gorontalo’s military district. “I prefer to call the incident a ‘misunderstanding’ rather than a clash,” he said.
The violence in Gorontalo was not the first clash between the institutions since the National Police was separated from the TNI in 2000.
Critics have attributed the rivalry between the institutions to the limited access that the TNI has had to financial resources, legal or otherwise, after lawmakers stripped the military of its law enforcement powers.