Wiranto will take over as army chief next week

THE Indonesian Armed Forces (Abri) will appoint Lieutenant-General Wiranto as the new army chief next week, signalling the movement of younger officers tokey positions within the military.

State Secretary Moerdiono said yesterday that Lt-Gen Wiranto, commander of the army’s Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad), would replace General Raden Hartono. He will also be promoted to a four-star general.

Mr Moerdiono said 55-year-old Gen Hartono, who is one week away from the military’s mandatory retirement age, would replace Mr Harmoko as Information Minister.

Lt-Gen Wiranto, 49, a Javanese Muslim from Yogyakarta, received Indonesia’s highest military award last October for commanding the largest ever combined exercise in the Natuna Islands.

Abri sources said speculation is rife he will take over from General Feisal Tanjung as armed forces chief next year.

Said a senior officer: “Wiranto has all the attributes of a professional soldier, which has won him many friends in Abri.”

He said Lt-Gen Wiranto had also earned the trust of Mr Suharto, having served as his adjutant from 1989 to 1993.

He was the first in his 1968 military academy class to take on a regional command. He was Jakarta military commander in 1994 before becoming a three-star general last year taking over Kostrad.

Mr Moerdiono said the new Kostrad commander will be Major-General Sugiyono, who heads the presidential security guard.

Central Java military commander Major-General H.S. Subagyo, 50, replaces Maj-Gen F.X. Soedjasmin as deputy army chief.

The central Java post will be filled by Brigadier-General Mardiyono, the deputy head of the military academy in Magelang.

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