Indonesia dismisses commander over troop revolt

Updated at: 1600 PST, Thursday, April 30, 2009

JAKARTA: The commander of an Indonesian army battalion which revolted against its officers in the restive province of Papua has been dismissed from his post, an army spokesman said Thursday.

The move came a day after about 200 troops rioted over their officers’ reported refusal to pay the full costs of returning a dead soldier’s body to his family in another province.

“We have dismissed battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Lambok Sihotang. He has been having a leadership issue,” army spokesman Christian Zebua said. Officers said the situation was under control on Thursday as the country’s top brass rushed to sort out what had happened in one of Indonesia’s most sensitive military commands.

Military chief General Djoko Santoso met President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, an ex-general himself, to discuss the incident and army commander General Agustadi Sasongko went to the scene of the uprising in Sentani, Papua.

“I regret the incident and apologise to the people in Sentani who were disturbed, including the journalists,” Santoso told reporters after meeting Yudhoyono in Jakarta.

“The army chief is in the area and the situation now is under control.” He said the rebellious troops would be punished according to the law.

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