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Kontras rejects TNI's plan to add military commands: 'No urgency'

Tempo - March 6, 2024

Yohanes Maharso Joharsoyo, Jakarta – The Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) headquarters plans to add 22 more military commands across the country. The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) believed this notion based on no urgency and will strengthen the militarization in Indonesia, as well as a burden to the state budget.

The plans for additional military commands were relayed by Military Commander General Agus Subiyanto on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, during a military meeting. With this addition, the military commands will increase from 15 to 37.

KontraS coordinator Dimas Bagus Arya said there was no urgency in the current discourse. Until today, Dimas said, the TNI has not provided concrete and clear reasons for the addition of regional military commands. This plan, he said, should be explained transparently and accountably.

"The claim of public demand concerning the addition of 22 military commands must be proven by open-to-access data, not subjective and manipulative statements," Dimas said in an official statement quoted on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

Dimas said that the addition of military commands raised suspicions of the return of the long-gone dual function of ABRI. "It will automatically return us to the concept of territorial command in the New Order era," he said.

KontraS believes that this plan seems to prioritize a security approach to dealing with problems in the region, especially in the context of Papua. Dimas is worried that the addition of military commands will instill fear in the general public. "Moreover, the culture of violence is still inherent in the TNI institution."

In addition, Dimas said, this plan will impact the state budget, since additional military commands mean the construction of military resort commands, military district commands, military rayon commands, and village development officers. "Increasing the number of military commands will inevitably burden the state budget without any no clear goals," Dimas said.

Head of the TNI Information Center Brigadier General Nugraha Gumilar previously denied that the addition of 22 new regional military commands throughout Indonesia was carried out to interfere in political and social affairs.

"The Indonesian National Armed Forces is not in practical politics. The TNI's duties are in accordance with the TNI Law," Nugraha told Tempo on Saturday, March 2, 2024.

He explained that the TNI only carries out duties according to the law, namely maintaining the sovereignty of the state, maintaining the integrity of the territory from Sabang to Merauke, and protecting the entire nation from all threats, disturbances, obstacles, and disruptions. "[TNI's duty] is clear," he concluded.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1841673/kontras-rejects-tnis-plan-to-add-military-commands-no-urgenc