Thu, 06 Mar 2003

Djoko Santoso installed as city military commander

Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Maj. Gen. Djoko Santoso was installed as the new military commander of Jakarta on Wednesday, replacing Maj. Gen. Ahmad Yahya, who was appointed the Army's inspector general.

Djoko, a former head of the Pattimura Military Command, which oversees Maluku and North Maluku, played an important role in ending the sectarian conflict in those provinces.

Born in Surakarta, Central Java, on Aug. 9, 1952, Djoko is a 1975 graduate of the National Military Academy.

Djoko served in the former Indonesian province of East Timor in 1976, 1981 and 1988 as part of the Seroja military operations. In the late 1990s he became the youngest member of the House of Representatives, representing the TNI faction.

He was appointed an assistant of social and political affairs at the Jakarta Military Command in the mid-1990s, and deputy assistant of social and political affairs to the Indonesian Military Headquarters' territorial chief of staff.

Djoko, who is married to Angky Retno Yudianti and a father of two, was appointed chief of staff of Central Java's Diponegoro Regional Military Command in 2000. He was then assigned to head the Malang-based Second Division of the Army's Strategic Reserves Command in East Java in 2001.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu, who presided over the installment ceremony on Wednesday, said in a speech that Djoko would face a great challenge in safeguarding the capital ahead of and during the 2004 general election.

"Jakarta is the center of government, politics and the economy ... a barometer of the country's security situation.

"As the general election draws near, the competition between the political elite will heat up ... the general election could turn into a melee between the children of the nation," Ryamizard said.

In an interview with The Jakarta Post and Bisnis Indonesia daily, Djoko said he had a formula for maintaining security in the capital that he learned from his posting in Maluku: the importance of good relationships.

"By taking a positive approach with all the political and social groups, I believe security in Jakarta will remain stable," he said.

"The role of the police is to maintain order and security and to uphold the law, with the military backing them up. But in an emergency situation, we will be in the front," Djoko said.