Channel NewsAsia

Indonesia military leaders did not order 1998 abductions: ex-chief

Former commander-in-chief of Indonesia's armed forces, Wiranto, said the country's military leaders had never instructed its special forces to carry out abductions of pro-democracy activists in 1998.

JAKARTA: The former commander-in-chief of Indonesia's armed forces said the country's military leaders had never instructed its special forces to carry out abductions of pro-democracy activists in 1998.

In a news conference in Jakarta on Thursday, Wiranto said the abductions were an initiative taken by officers under the command of Prabowo Subianto, then head of the country's special forces.

Prabowo - a candidate in the upcoming presidential election - is facing public pressure about his past human rights records.

He had said that it was up to his superiors to judge his actions, thus implicating his superiors in the abductions.

Wiranto was Prabowo's superior when he was dismissed following an investigation and recommendation from the military's high council.

The former commander-in-chief is also head of the Hanura Party that is supporting candidate Joko Widodo in the presidential election.

Indonesia's Human Rights Commission had called on the military to come forward to clarify the 1998 incident.

It had taken place just before the fall of President Suharto. 

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia