Wed, 05 Mar 2003

Presidential Guard to have new commander soon

Fabiola Desy Unidjaja, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A major reshuffle of military and adjutant positions in the Presidential Palace is in the offing with the replacement of Presidential Guard Commander Maj. Gen. Nono Sampono set to go ahead soon.

The elite post will go to Brig. Gen. Agung Widjajadi, currently the administrative bureau chief under the President's secretary for military affairs.

A source told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that the decree on the replacement had been signed last week. However, the date of the ceremony marking the handover remained undecided.

"Pak Nono will have a new assignment as the Navy Academy's governor, but we cannot say anything for sure until the handover ceremony takes place," the source said.

Agung has been serving in the Office of the State Secretary since 2001, a few months before Megawati Soekarnoputri's became president in July that year.

There has been speculation in Presidential Palace circles for the past couple of months regarding replacements close to the presidency.

It is rumored that all four of the President's adjutants -- Col. Edhi Wibowo, Col. Margono, Col. Susanto and Col. Budi Gunawan -- will also be replaced in the near future.

Local media reported that Budi would become the youngest police officer ever to be promoted to brigadier general. He is expected to return to the police force.

The other three adjutants, who represent the Army, Navy and Air Force, are waiting for reassignments from Indonesian Military (TNI) headquarters.

"The replacements for the adjutants will be introduced to the President this week," another source told the Post.

Under the rule of former president Soeharto, a presidential adjutant posting was a stepping stone to an officer forging a bright career. Some former Soeharto adjutants even took the top posts in the military and police.