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Jakarta Post

TNI '€˜sorry'€™ for gun loan, shooting

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, April 5, 2014   /  08:38 am
TNI '€˜sorry'€™ for gun loan, shooting Moeldoko: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)" border="0" height="399" width="319">Moeldoko: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Gen. Moeldoko on Friday offered an apology in light of the shooting of a Nasdem Party campaign post in North Aceh regency on Feb. 16, which involved the use of a TNI-issued weapon.

The two local political party supporters suspected of the crime have since been apprehended, but the results of a ballistics examination revealed that the weapon used belonged to a soldier.

“I would like to be honest about it and apologize for the misconduct of my subordinate,” Moeldoko told a media conference at the TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.

He said that one of his soldiers was under the influence of drugs when he had irresponsibly lent out an M-16 rifle to an acquaintance.

“I regret that the issue has contributed to the current tension in Aceh,” he continued, adding that the soldier in question was currently being processed. Moeldoko refused to elaborate.

Two masked men shot at least eight bullets at a campaign post installed by Zubir HT, a Nasdem legislative candidate, and then assaulted two of Zubir’s supporters.

The Aceh Police arrested two suspects — currently only identified only as UA and RI — for their alleged involvement in the shooting.

According to the police’s preliminary investigation, political rivalry ahead of the legislative election prompted the attack on the Nasdem post and subsequent assault.

With the 2014 legislative election only days away, Aceh has witnessed a surge in violence, the majority involving two local parties — the Aceh Party (PA) and the Aceh National Party (PNA).

At least five incidents involving members of political parties have occurred in the last six months alone, with the latest on Monday: Three people were killed when the minibus in which they were traveling, which was decorated with the image of a PA legislative candidate, was riddled with bullets in Geulanggang village, Teungoh, Bireuen.

The victims, one of them a one-and-a-half-year-old child, were taking a family member to a clinic for medical treatment. However, as they passed through the village, the minibus was shot at by unidentified person(s). The driver survived, fled the scene in the vehicle and raised the alarm.

According to the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), there have been 48 cases of election-related violence in Aceh from January until March.

“The violence has escalated [in the run-up to voting day],” Nanto from Kontras’ monitoring bureau said.

He said that there had been 33 cases in March, up from 11 cases in February and 4 in January.

Democracy at gunpoint: Aceh Police officers in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh on Friday display weapons and firearms confiscated in recent operations. Aceh has seen a flurry of political violence ahead of the April 9 legislative election. (Antara/Ampelsa)

Moeldoko: (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)

Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Gen. Moeldoko on Friday offered an apology in light of the shooting of a Nasdem Party campaign post in North Aceh regency on Feb. 16, which involved the use of a TNI-issued weapon.

The two local political party supporters suspected of the crime have since been apprehended, but the results of a ballistics examination revealed that the weapon used belonged to a soldier.

'€œI would like to be honest about it and apologize for the misconduct of my subordinate,'€ Moeldoko told a media conference at the TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.

He said that one of his soldiers was under the influence of drugs when he had irresponsibly lent out an M-16 rifle to an acquaintance.

'€œI regret that the issue has contributed to the current tension in Aceh,'€ he continued, adding that the soldier in question was currently being processed. Moeldoko refused to elaborate.

Two masked men shot at least eight bullets at a campaign post installed by Zubir HT, a Nasdem legislative candidate, and then assaulted two of Zubir'€™s supporters.

The Aceh Police arrested two suspects '€” currently only identified only as UA and RI '€” for their alleged involvement in the shooting.

According to the police'€™s preliminary investigation, political rivalry ahead of the legislative election prompted the attack on the Nasdem post and subsequent assault.

With the 2014 legislative election only days away, Aceh has witnessed a surge in violence, the majority involving two local parties '€” the Aceh Party (PA) and the Aceh National Party (PNA).

At least five incidents involving members of political parties have occurred in the last six months alone, with the latest on Monday: Three people were killed when the minibus in which they were traveling, which was decorated with the image of a PA legislative candidate, was riddled with bullets in Geulanggang village, Teungoh, Bireuen.

The victims, one of them a one-and-a-half-year-old child, were taking a family member to a clinic for medical treatment. However, as they passed through the village, the minibus was shot at by unidentified person(s). The driver survived, fled the scene in the vehicle and raised the alarm.

According to the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), there have been 48 cases of election-related violence in Aceh from January until March.

'€œThe violence has escalated [in the run-up to voting day],'€ Nanto from Kontras'€™ monitoring bureau said.

He said that there had been 33 cases in March, up from 11 cases in February and 4 in January.

Democracy at gunpoint: Aceh Police officers in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh on Friday display weapons and firearms confiscated in recent operations. Aceh has seen a flurry of political violence ahead of the April 9 legislative election. (Antara/Ampelsa)Democracy at gunpoint: Aceh Police officers in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh on Friday display weapons and firearms confiscated in recent operations. Aceh has seen a flurry of political violence ahead of the April 9 legislative election. (Antara/Ampelsa)
Aceh, the only province that adheres to the principles of sharia, endured more than three decades
of violence stemming from separatism conflict before a peace accord was sealed in 2005 between the government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

European Union (EU) Ambassadors in Indonesia have noted the recent violence in Aceh, including the killing of the three people, with concern.

'€œThe EU underlines the importance of maintaining Aceh'€™s political and development achievements since the Helsinki Peace Agreement was signed a decade ago,'€ the EU said in a statement on Thursday.

Moeldoko said the TNI was prepared and would mobilize its force to support the upcoming election, citing a 30,000-strong legion ready for deployment across the archipelago if the police needed assistance.

'€œOthers will remain on standby. I have issued an instruction in case more troops are needed,'€ he said.

The TNI chief renewed his commitment that the TNI would stay neutral throughout the elections and not even the political agenda of retired Army generals could challenge his resolve.

'€œThey are mere civilians now with no power or command over the troops,'€ he said.

Moeldoko declined to comment on his own ambitions in the forthcoming presidential race.

Asked about the recent visit of presidential hopeful Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo, the Jakarta governor, to the TNI headquarters on Thursday, Moeldoko claimed the discussions only focused on the Jakarta administration'€™s plan to widen the entrance to the TNI headquarters, and that he was not being courted by the PDI-P politician. (tjs)

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