ExxonMobil has never funded the TNI – former army chief

Detik.com – August 28, 2008
Mass grave in Aceh (motherjones)
Mass grave in Aceh (motherjones)

Ramadhian Fadillah, Jakarta – ExxonMobil is to be taken to court for allegedly supporting human rights violations by the Indonesian military (TNI) in Aceh.

Retired General Ryamizard Ryacudu, the former Army Chief of Staff during the era of President Megawati Sukarnoputri (when Aceh was placed under a state of emergency) however, has denied that military operations in Aceh in 2003 were funded by ExxonMobil.

“There wasn’t any [funding]. I don’t know what ExxonMobil is”, said Ryacudu after attending an Indonesia Awakening Declaration at the Kartini public hall on Jl. Gatot Subroto in South Jakarta on Thursday August 28.

According to the former four-star general, all military operations are funded by the state and there is no foreign assistance. “The people are the ones that fund the TNI. Whatever is done by the military is in the name of the people”, he explained.

Ryacudu added he was reluctant to comment on the question of the 11 Acehnese in the United States who are in possession of strong evidence proving that ExxonMobil paid the TNI to commit murder. “Check first if they are actually Acehnese or really GAM [Free Aceh Movement] Acehnese. That’s the thing I’m most allergic to (GAM)”, he said.

As reported earlier, the giant US oil and gas company will soon be facing a law suit by a group of Acehnese in the United State Federal Court for allegedly supporting human rights violations by the TNI in Aceh.

US Federal Court judges have declared that the case against ExxonMobil can proceed to court because there is strong evidence that the company paid the TNI to commit murder and torture against Acehnese civilians in and around the area of the ExxonMobil operated Arun gas field in northern Aceh. (rdf/nwk)

[Translated by James Balowski.]