The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Thu, 04/30/2009 7:39 AM | National
Army chief of staff Gen. Agustadi Sasongko flew to Sentani in Papua to meet protesting soldiers who had put Papua on red alert.
On Thursday, Papua Military spokesman Lt. Col. Susilo said Agustadi had left Jakarta on Wednesday night, soon after the soldiers’ violent protest over what they said had been the theft of their money.
“Last night, Bapak (Agustadi) left Jakarta and this morning arrives here, and will head to Sentani to meet the soldiers immediately,” Sasongko told Antara news agency.
Soldiers from Battalion 751 in Sentani had staged a violent protest on Wednesday during a ceremony commemorating West Papua’s integration into Indonesia. They had demanded the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Labok Sihotang, be held responsible for his actions, and questioned why he had needed them to provide funds for the burial of their fellow soldier, Private Joko, in his hometown in Nabire, Papua.
The soldiers said the army should have paid these costs.
Local journalists said the soldiers went on a rampage and had even hunted down journalists covering the incident.
The soldiers had ransacked reporters’ belongings and confiscated a video camera used to film the riot.
The protest ended when Cenderawasih [Papua] military commander Maj. Gen. Azmin Yusri Nasution met the soldiers and promised to bring Sihotang to justice.