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Kostrad commander

LtGen Djamari Chaniago

Kostrad commander

As head of Kostrad, the Army Strategic Reserve Command, Chaniago commanded approximately 27,000 elite troops from May 1998 until November 1999, including several battalions in East Timor before and after the ballot.

Kostrad was the key element in reviving the sectoral command structure in the weeks of martial law under MajGen Kiki Syahnakri. This was the time when East Timor was subject to the worst and most comprehensive Indonesian army assault.

Chaniago is not on the public record as having made any statement on East Timor throughout 1999, nor is he mentioned in any public document in connection with the territory. He does, however, bear quite direct responsibility for the behaviour of his troops in East Timor and for this reason is listed here. Those troops included Battalion 521 under Maj Ahmad Susetyo, Battalion 432 under Maj Eriet Hadi Uriyanto, and 700 Airborne Battalion under LtCol Lukito. Like the general staff officers in Armed Forces and Army headquarters, Chaniago was based outside East Timor. However, the responsibility Chaniago bears is more direct than those officers, since he was the commander of one of the two most powerful and militarily elite forces in the country (the other being Kopassus). East Timor was a primary area of operations for Kostrad units, and serious allegations of criminal behaviour have been made against most of these units and many individuals within them.


Djamari Chaniago was born to an army family in West Sumatra in 1949 and graduated from the military academy in 1971. He was appointed to a Kostrad unit in 1974 and occupied several combat command positions in Aceh and East Timor in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. In 1995 he was appointed Commander of the Kostrad Second Infantry Division near Malang in East Java.

In July 1997 he moved to Bandung as commander of the West Java military area (Siliwangi) where he served until Suharto's resignation less than a year later. Chaniago's Kostrad background and his Minangkabau Muslim origins saw him emerge as the favoured candidate to take over the reigns of Kostrad on 23 May 1998 following the precipitous removal of Prabowo.

He is reportedly close to Kiki Syahnakri, who lobbied for him to become Jakarta commander after leaving Kostrad. He was instead  made Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army (Wakasad), and in March 2000 became Armed Forces Chief of Staff for General Affairs (Kasum TNI).

Extra Information

Current Status:
2 - Priority 2 for further investigation. Not included in any other formal list, but mentioned in other independent reports, bearing structural responsibility, but with minimal data so far for involvement in ET violence.

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