Nurdin Hasan, Banda Aceh – The Indonesian Military (TNI) said on Wednesday it was investigating allegations that several soldiers had rented their guns to the perpetrators of an attack on a National Democratic (NasDem) Party campaign office in the district of North Aceh last month.
"Kodam Iskandar Muda [the Aceh military command] has formed a team to investigate the alleged involvement of TNI members," Iskandar Muda spokesman Col. Subagio Irianto said on Wednesday. He said that six soldiers had been questioned so far, and four others would be interrogated soon.
The 10 soldiers were all stationed to guard facilities of US oil giant ExxonMobil in North Aceh. Subagio only identified one of them – Chief Private Heri. "The team... has questioned Chief Private Heri and five others out of 10 personnel tasked with guarding the [facilities]," Subagio said.
Heri, according to Subagio, is a friend with Rasyidin, 30, one of the two men arrested recently over the alleged attack of a campaign office set up by NasDem legislative candidate Zubir H. T. in the Kunyet Mulee village of North Aceh.
Two members of Zubir's campaign team were injured in the attack that took place on Feb. 16. Police said Rasyidin, also known as Mario, was a former combatant with the now-defunct separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM).
The second attacker has been identified as Umar Adam, 35, reportedly an official with the Aceh Transition Committee (KPA), an organization formed after the signing of a peace deal between GAM and the Indonesian government in 2005 to accommodate former GAM members.
National Police chief Gen. Sutarman said on Tuesday that Rasyidin and Umar claimed to have rented their guns, which were used in the Feb. 16 attack, from TNI personnel. "[But] Chief Private Heri denied ever lending nor renting any gun to anyone, including Mario," Subagio said on Wednesday.
He added the 10 soldiers' ammunition, based on preliminary investigations, were still intact. "The TNI has deepened their investigation by borrowing a shell casing found by the Aceh Police at the crime scene," Subagio said. "We will test it in a forensic lab to determine whether or not the guns were from the TNI."