TNI involved in 59 incidents of violence over the last year: Kontras

CNN Indonesia – October 5, 2023
Soldiers shouting at TNI 78th anniversary event in Jakarta – October 5, 2023 (Antara)

Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) has revealed that it found 59 incidents of violence committed by the members of the TNI (Indonesian military) between October 2022 and September 2023.

Kontras Coordinator Dimas Bagus Arya said that this figure still does not yet represent the entirety of cases that have actually occurred, however it is able to provide a picture on the violence committed by the TNI as an institution.

"Based on our investigation, there were at least as many as 59 incidents of violence [committed] by TNI members over this period", said Arya at the Kontras office in Jakarta on Thursday October 5.

Arya said that these incidents involved 32 incidents of abuse, 15 incidents of intimidation, 11 cases of torture, three shootings, five incidents of sexual violence, two cases of inhumane punishment, four cases of abductions and two cases of arbitrary arrest.

Kontras found that as a result of these incidents, as many as 70 people suffered injuries and 14 others died.

The acts of violence by the TNI were not committed by just one unit or force but throughout all the units that make up the TNI.

Kontras found that there were as many as 49 incidents of violence involving solders from the Army (AD), six incidents involving the Navy (AL) and four incidents involving the Air Force (AU).

"This is the same as recorded in our findings in previous years, the Army was again the dominant actor in acts of violence by the TNI", he said.

This, said Arya, shows that there has yet to be any special attention paid to the Army even though they are the dominant actor in cases of violence.

Kontras also highlighted that one of the common motives behind the violence by TNI members from all three forces was a tendency for them to be triggered by trivial issues that could have been resolved without resorting to violence.

This, said Arya, was reflected in a case of violence by members of the Air Force against a student on Morotai Island on November 24, 2022, which occurred because the victim was suspected of taking four chili seeds from the military's garden without permission.

"In this incident, the victim EF claimed his face was beaten until was bruised black and blue, his stomach was poked with pieces of wood then he was tied to an avocado tree", he said.

CNN Indonesia has contacted TNI information centre head (Kapuspen) Rear Admiral Julius Widjojono to ask for a response to the Kontras' findings, but he has yet to respond. (yla/isn)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KontraS: Anggota TNI Terlibat 59 Aksi Kekerasan Sepanjang 2022-2023".]