Fri, 25 Feb 2000

Military planning major reshuffle, says Suaidi

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Military (TNI) is set to announce another round of reshuffling that involves 44 officers, including some top brass, pending approval from the Army chief of staff, TNI Chief of General Affairs Lt. Gen. Suaidi Marasabessy said on Thursday.

Suaidi said after presenting awards to the state telecommunications company PT Telkom at TNI Headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, that "there is a sort of tug of war going on in the Army over who gets what".

He said it was certain that the Central Java, Maluku and Irian Jaya Military commanders would be replaced, while the Army Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) would have a new chief of staff.

TNI will also name a new assistant to the TNI chief of territorial affairs and a deputy to the Air Force chief of staff.

"It has nothing to do with something political as a tour of duty is routine and the TNI Headquarters have prepared all the necessary administrative requirements.

"Just wait, we will announce them," he said.

Sources close to TNI said the reshuffle would also affect Kostrad chief Lt. Gen. Djadja Suparman, the Army Special Force (Kopassus) commander Maj. Gen. Sjahrir M.S. and Suaidi.

Suaidi refused to comment on the report, but said he was prepared for new duty. "It wouldn't be a surprise if it is so. I am ready for any position entrusted to me."

The source said he has been appointed as an ambassador.

Suaidi dismissed speculation that internal and external pressures linked to the current political development were behind the planned reshuffle, saying that the TNI commander received full support from all elements in the military and the civilian government.

Consulting the President, in his capacity as the supreme military commander, remains imperative in a reshuffle that involves the second and top echelons in TNI, Suaidi said.

Analysts have speculated that President Abdurrahman Wahid is cleaning up a certain faction within the military which is close to the previous regime by appointing new faces for strategic posts formerly held by Army members.

Widodo A.S., a navy admiral, was named TNI chief, Air Vice Marshall Ian Perdanakusumah as head of TNI Intelligence Agency (Bais) and Air Rear Marshall Graito Usodo as TNI spokesman. (emf)