Thu, 13 Mar 2003

Military fires 38 soldiers

JAYAPURA, Papua: The Papua-based Trikora Military Command has dishonorably discharged 38 soldiers over the past year for various violations, mostly desertion.

Another 87 soldiers are standing trial at the local military tribunal for disciplinary violations and criminal offenses.

Outgoing military commander Maj. Gen. Mahidin Simbolon said upon revealing the bad news that the numbers proved that military personnel were being treated just as other citizens with regard to breaking laws.

"Errant soldiers must be dismissed to show people we enforce law on irresponsible individual personnel," Mahidin said.

He classified desertion as duty evasion committed by a soldier for six months without prior notice.

Mahidin will officially hand over his post to Brig. Gen. Nurdin Zaenal on Monday and will move to the Army headquarters in Jakarta as the commander of territorial mission. -- JP