Indonesia gets new military chiefs

Updated On: Feb 22, 2005

Jakarta - The reshuffling of the top brass in the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) on Feb 17 may signal a change of stance towards conflicts in the country, such as the Aceh war.

The changes saw Lt-Gen Djoko Santoso, who is known to be a moderate, taking over as the Army's new chief of staff from the tough-talking Gen Ryamizard Ryacudu.

Vice-Admiral Slamet Seobijanto replaces Admiral Bernard Kent Sondakh as the Navy chief while Rear Marshal Djoko Suyanto is the new Air Force chief, replacing Marshall Chappy Hakim.

The government has yet to announce who will succeed Gen Endriartono Sutarto, who has passed the retirement age, as the new TNI chief.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is known to be keen to have Lt-Gen Djoko in the top post. However, according to military procedure, officers must first serve as chief of staff to qualify for the top TNI post.

According to The Straits Times, the appointment of Lt-Gen Djoko, 53, could lead to a gentler approach in the army's handling of conflicts, which is widely believed to be supported by the President.

Lt-Gen Djoko is known as a thinking general, businesslike and one who is comfortable with foreigners. Gen Ryamizard, on the other hand, is known for his anti-foreign views and harsh attitude towards separatists in the Aceh and Papua provinces.

* Indonesia appoints new military chiefs (The Straits Times, Feb 18)

* Three new military chiefs of staff announced (The Jakarta Post, Feb 18)