Balanced reporting required

Indonesian Military spokesperson writes in to 'The Jakarta Post' to give the military's side of the story

The Jakarta Post
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The article, "Papua rejects heavy military presence" (The Jakarta Post, Nov. 4) contradicts the facts.

The article was published without seeking confirmation from the Indonesian Military (TNI) and only quotes Buchtar Tabuni, coordinator of the International Parliament for West Papua (IPWP), on the military's presence in the province.

In this context, it should be affirmed that the TNI's primary duty is to uphold state sovereignty, defend the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia and protect the entire nation and country.

Deploying TNI troops is not prohibited in any part of the country. TNI's leadership has the authority to deploy military forces consistent with the interests of the nation and the state.

Apart from the existing regional military forces of the Army, Navy and Air Force, the TNI stations its soldiers to help enhance Indonesia-Papua New Guinea border security. The arrival of such troops is frequently blown up by certain circles as increased TNI strength in Papua, ignoring the fact that troops are withdrawn from Papua upon completing their tasks.

The presence of TNI soldiers and police forces on Oct. 16 was done in anticipation of the possible contingencies related to the street action staged by protesters supporting the formation of the IPWP caucus in Britain.

Sagom Tamboen, Rear Marshal, TNI Chief Spokesman, Jakarta