Subject: Indonesian army appoints Timor accused as new Aceh area commander

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific July 15, 2008

Indonesian army appoints new Aceh area commander

Source: Detikcom website, Jakarta, in Indonesian 15 Jul 08

Text of report by Indonesian commercial news website Detikcom on 15 July

Indonesian army Chief of Staff Gen Agustadi Sasongko Purnomo officially installed Maj-Gen Soenarko [variant Sunarko] as the Commander of Iskandar Muda Military Area in Banda Aceh on 14 July 2008, Indonesian news website Detikcom reported.

Maj-Gen Soenarko, previously commander of the army's Special Forces Command (Kopassus), replaces Maj-Gen Supiadin, who has been appointed as the assistant for operations to the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) commander.

Gen Agustadi Sasongko Purnomo said that the security situation in the province was good and that the armed conflict with the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) was over. Purnomo said that the informal economy had returned to life and was contributing to the province's economy which held a significant position in the region.

Gen Purnomo said that stability in Aceh had to be maintained while criminal activity and the attempts to disturb the peace process in Aceh had to be stopped. Purnomo called for the new Iskandar Muda Military Area commander to continue to work closely with the Aceh Police and local government to ensure that stability continued. He also called on the people of Aceh to participate directly in maintaining peace and prosperity in their province by reporting illegal activities to the security forces.


Col Sunarko

Commander, combat Sector A (eastern East Timor); Intelligence assistant to Kopassus commander

The sectoral commands played an important role in training, arming and managing militias. They also controlled combat troops who often conducted joint military operations with militias, and they nominally controlled the intelligence units SGI. Sunarko handed over his sector command to <>Col Irwan Kusnadi on 21 June 1999.[1]

According to TNI Watch!, while commanding Sector A in East Timor, Sunarko simultaneously held the post of Intelligence Assistant to the Commanding General of Kopassus (Asintel Danjen Kopassus). Afterwards, Sunarko was called before the Indonesian inquiry into atrocities committed in East Timor (KPP HAM). Despite allegedly playing a key role in East Timor in 1999, he was not punished, either by the inquiry or by the military itself. This is reflected in his later appointment as a military sub-area commander (Komandan Korem) in Pare Pare, Sulawesi. While not technically a promotion, it increased his experience and his promotion prospects.[2]

Among the combat battalions under his control at this time were Battalions 401 (commanded by <>LtCol Sukoso), and 406 (<>LtCol Sonny Widjaja).

The following officers may have acted under his command within Sector A (based on 1998 data), and are mentioned in one report as possible war crimes suspects:[3] * LtCol (Inf) Sunindyo. Institutional home: Kopassus Group 3; position: Deputy Commander (Wadan) Sector A; Serial no. 29608. * Capt (Inf) Agus Subiyanto. Kopassus Group 3; Head, Operations Section (Kasi Ops) Sector A; Serial no. 11910029630867. * Lt (Lettu Inf) Indra Heri. Battalion 327; Head, Intelligence Section (Kasi Intel) Sector A; Serial no. 11930068460568. * Lt (Lettu Inf) Bambang Yudi. Battalion 327; Head, Territorial Section (Kasi Teritorial) Sector A; Serial no. 11940024300872.

The first two are Kopassus officers whose institutional base was Group 3. This training unit (Pusdik Passus), based in West Java, also had a clandestine role of coordinating combat operations in East Timor (see the item on <>MajGen Syahrir). Battalion 327 (Yonif 327/ Brajawijaya), is based in Cianjur, West Java but was not, as far as we know, in East Timor in 1999.

It seems likely that two Lospalos-based Kopassus officers indicted in Dili for crimes against humanity, <>Lt Rahman Zulkarnaen and <>Sgt Syaful Anwar, answered to Col Sunarko and his successor. Both spent most of their time managing the Alfa Team militia.


This long time Kopassus and intelligence officer was born in about 1952. He graduated from the military academy in 1975. In August 1996 he was promoted to command the Dili military district (Kodim 1627) from his previous post as head of the operations section at the East Timor military command (Korem 164). In November 1997 he was withdrawn to Abri headquarters in Jakarta.[4] It is not known when he became sector commander in East Timor.

[1] 'Sjafrie mengaku berada di Mabes TNI', Kompas, 30 December 1999.

[2] TNI Watch! 'Rekomendasi KPP HAM tidak mempengaruhi karir perwira', Indonesia-l, 18 February 2000; 'Kemenangan di pihak TNI', TNI Watch! 5 January 2000.

[3] 'Prajurit Yonif 406/ Ck digaji uang palsu', TNI Watch! 9 December 1999.

[4] Angkatan Bersenjata, 20 November 1997.

Back to July menu 

World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu