Fri, 29 Sep 2000

Execute treasonous soldiers: General

JAKARTA (JP): Loyalty to the state and the government is a undisputable creed in the military and servicemen found guilty of betraying this should be shot dead, says the Army's Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) chief Lt. Gen. Ryamizard Ryacudu.

"All servicemen must be loyal to the unitary state and the government without any reservation as is stipulated in the military oath. Those betraying the oath and the military code of ethics should be shot dead," he told journalists after inaugurating a mosque at the Kostrad Headquarters here on Thursday.

Ryamizard made the statement in response to the alleged involvement of two servicemen in recent bomb blasts. There is also some suspicion that the blasts may be connected to the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

"There is an indication that the two low-ranking soldiers, who are incidentally of Acehnese descent, and their activities seem to be linked with separatist activities in restive Aceh. But let the police carry out a thorough investigation into it," he said.

The two servicemen -- Ibrahim from Kostrad and Irwan from the Army's Special Force (Kopassus) -- were arrested in Jakarta and Bandung, West Java, respectively, and are both currently in police custody.

Ryamizard revealed that before being arrested by the police, Ibrahim, had been under surveillance for several months for alleged involvement in narcotics and an extramarital affair.

"If he had not been arrested by the police, he would have been discharged from military service for those cases and disciplinary violations," he said.

As a further preventive measure, Ryamizard said he had ordered his subordinates to conduct an "internal control" of the daily activities of all servicemen in Kostrad and psychological tests to ensure their compliance with the military code of ethics.

"I have ordered them to discharge servicemen whose activities violate the code of ethics and those who are not loyal to the state and the government," he said.

Ryamizard, also former vice president Try Sutrisno's son-in- law, conceded that many youths joined the military due to economic difficulties and then quit because of the low pay.

"Many had the misperception that the military is a place to gain wealth. They must be disappointed if they join the military with such a motive because servicemen are underpaid," he remarked.

Asked about the number of servicemen who had deserted the Army's unit, Ryamizard said number was no more than three.

He said it was normal that three out of a total of 27,000 personnel in Kostrad would "violate the military oath".

"But such rebel soldiers should be executed," he added. (rms)