The Indonesian Military (TNI) will deploy more personnel and additional weapons to protect eastern outer islands, which currently lack security, saying an improved watch on border areas will prevent smuggling, sea crimes, incursions and other threats to Indonesia’s sovereignty.
(TNI) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo is paying more attention to the outer islands. These areas should be managed and equipped not only with additional personnel, but also with weaponry, said Army spokesperson Brig. Gen. Sabrar Fadhilah.
The reinforcement, he said, would be adjusted to conditions on the outer islands, including poor infrastructure that renders them unsuitable for large troop numbers and heavy weapons.
If we gave (the personnel) motorcycles, it would be useless because the areas have no proper roads. We will calculate and manage the facilities needed, including the personnel because they will directly face the threats, such as incursion, smuggling or any crimes involving sea lanes, Sabrar said.
He stressed that the TNI would also add more security posts in the eastern border area and outer islands, but the decision would depend on the threat level and needs.
If we learn of threats, of course we will establish security posts, however, if the area just needs monitoring, we don’t have to build a security post, Sabrar said.
He declined to elaborate on the estimated number of personnel that would be deployed or how many security posts would be established.
We will manage gradually by deploying the personnel first, then the weapons later to support their tasks, he said, adding that the military would focus on eastern outer islands near Maluku and Papua.
Gatot earlier revealed to journalists that many outer islands located in eastern Indonesia lacked security personnel and were abandoned.
He cited for example Saumlaki, the main town on Yamdena Island in the southeastern border of Maluku Islands, which has only two Navy security posts and two units of the village supervisory non commissioned officers (Babinsa).
This island has one radar, however, if the radar detects foreign planes entering Indonesian territory, the personnel just pray the plane will leave the area soon, because it is impossible to inform Kohanudnas (the National Air Defense Command) to deploy fighter jets from Makassar, South Sulawesi, Gatot said.
Other outer islands such as Liran, Wetar, Kisar and Leti in South west Maluku and Alor in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), lack infrastructure and suitable accommodation.
The Navy chief of staff, Adm. Ade Supandi has said the Navy is developing more main naval bases in several areas in Indonesia to guard the eastern border areas. Some of the naval bases are in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, in Tarakan, North Kalimantan and Sorong, Papua.
It has been reported that the TNI will prioritize building infrastructure as a solution to problems in the outer islands and border areas next year. We will be prioritizing outer islands and border areas, Gatot said after closing an executive meeting at the military headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, last month. (Sumber: HU The Jakarta Pos)