Where's my stash?
A former soldier invalided out of the army with Gulf war syndrome is being questioned by police about the killing of his uncle, aunt and two cousins at close quarters with a silenced pistol.
He was named locally as David Bradley, 40, who fell ill after serving in Iraq in the first Gulf war and was looked after by his uncle and aunt as he struggled for years with psychiatric illness. Detectives are urgently trying to find out how he obtained and hid a lethal arsenal, including the pistol, a shotgun and an army-issue thunderflash device which had been wrapped in a cocoon of nails.
I'm only linking to this story as it is, in microcosm, a mirror of a major news story here
.Army chief Djoko Santoso announced last week that his office had discovered 145 rifles, 42 handguns, more than 28,000 bullets, nine grenades and 28 pairs of binoculars in
(recently deceased Brig. Gen.) Koesmayadi's house in Ancol, North Jakarta.
There is no suggestion that Koesmayadi was about to run amok and wipe out his family, but until there is full disclosure from the investigative team, consisting of members of the TNI Military Police Center (Puspom) and the Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS)
set up by SBY, rumours and conjecture are the order of the day.
Was the stash intended for taking up arms against the government
? Unlikely, given that Koesmayadi was in the same graduating class as Army Chief of Staff General Djoko Santoso.
What this case appears to demonstrate is that the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) have yet to come fully under civilian control. During the Soeharto era, the TNI had to largely fend for itself in terms of procurement of arms and funding, a habit it has not given up
.For the past four years, Koesmayadi dealt with the procurement of military equipment for the army. In this position, the duty of this one-star general was to search for guns and ammunition for the army.
One would expect there to be proper procedures and documentation regarding the movement of military arms, but as that hasn't yet been fully achieved in the UK, what hope is there here?
According to military observer Edi Prasetyono, this case is a reflection of the disarray regarding procurement in the TNI and the tip of the iceberg
regarding military problems in Indonesia.Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono tended to agree, saying, "We have known for the past several years that many are working independently in each unit of the TNI." This unofficial network involved in the purchase of weapons started before the US weapons embargo against Indonesia was lifted.
With an 'unofficial' network, it is seemingly inevitable that arms go 'astray' and end up serving nefarious purposes in, say, Aceh
where there appear to have been "systematic attempts
" to shatter the peace.The most visible trait in the systematic campaign was the sudden presence of roving vendors in Aceh, even in remote regions.
"They peddle goods that are actually not needed by poor Acehnese such as paintings, ice creams and electrical appliances and it is strange to see them being sold in remote villages," Otto Syamsuddin Ishak of the Jakarta-based Aceh Working Group (AWG) said, adding that the peddlers were all well-built men and had the freedom to get into government offices.
Another worrying trend is the rising illicit trade of small arms and light weapons. "Most illegal small arms went to the members of pro-Jakarta militia groups," Otto said.
So, what are your conclusions?POSTSCRIPT TUESDAY
The Jakarta Post today has Permadi, a PDI-P legislator saying that the TNI knew about the stash in 2002.