Soldiers only to take preventative measures against terrorism

Kompas – November 16, 2005
Indonesian military chief General Endriartono Sutarto (Detik)
Indonesian military chief General Endriartono Sutarto (Detik)

Jakarta – TNI (Indonesian military) chief General Endriartono Sutarto has explained that the involvement of TNI soldiers in preventing terrorism is part of the responsibility of being a citizen. The duties being taken up by soldiers will be limited to preventative efforts in order that there are no more members of the public who fall victim to acts of terrorism.

Speaking at a gathering with journalists following the end of the fasting month at the Yani Building in Jakarta on Tuesday November 15, Sutarto said he believes that there has been a debate which become out of context as if the involvement of the TNI in preventing acts of terrorism is a serious violation.

When the president asked to TNI to join in preventing acts of terrorism on October 5, as the chief of the TNI I took this as an order that all components of the nation, including the TNI, have been called upon to participate in fighting terrorism, said Sutarto.

Sutarto believes the president’s order was natural because the repeated acts of terrorism that have taken place in the Motherland have taken so many victims. These terrorist acts cannot be allowed to continue because it could cause the government be perceived as having failed to create public security and prosperity.

Sutarto feels that soldiers have the capacity to participate in the task of confronting terrorism. The means by reawakening soldier’s sensitivity to the conditions in and around the areas where they live.

Individually each soldier will adhere to a role of information gatherer. I have asked soldiers to be sensitive towards any strange things which take place in the vicinity of the places where the live, said the TNI chief.

According to Sutarto, if they come across irregularities in their area, soldiers have been asked to immediately pass on the information to police. Following this, it is the police’s task is to handle the enforcement of the law.

The formation of desk within TNI military units said Sutarto, is also intended for the same goal. Soldiers are only allowed to participate in operations to prevent terrorism if they are asked to by police.

During the event that took place in a relaxed atmosphere, Sutarto also elaborated on the issue of the TNI’s businesses. According to Sutarto, the TNI will only maintain the foundations that are linked with the welfare of soldiers or their families. Meanwhile the business units that will be maintained will be limited to cooperative activities for the needs of soldier’s families. The TNI will sell the remaining assets as capital for the foundations said Sutarto. (tom)

[Translated by James Balowski.]