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Battalion 401

LtCol (Inf) Sukoso

Commander, Battalion 401 (Banteng Raiders), based in Viqueque district

Battalion 401, based in Semarang, Central Java, is an elite unit classified as Independent (Berdiri Sendiri, BS), meaning it can be sent anywhere as a strike force.[1]

LtCol Sukoso was mentioned as the battalion commander in April 2000.[2] His deputy commander at that time was Major (Inf) Dudung.[3] In August 1997 the battalion commander was LtCol (Inf) Setyo Sularso. It is not clear when the handover occurred, or whether Sukoso or Setyo Sularso was in charge in 1999.[4]

Throughout 1999 this battalion was seconded to the territorial command in East Timor. In June 1998 it was listed as a Territorial Combat Battalion (Batalyon Tempur Teritorial, BTT), based at the Viqueque district military headquarters in Venilale (Kodim 1630).[5] The military district commander was LtCol Djoko Soekarsono, but in practice the battalion would have been under the control of the combat Sector A commander, first Col Sunarko then Col Irwan Kusnadi.

Battalion 401 was often in battle. It was in the news in April 1998 over a firefight it had with Falintil guerrillas.[6] It was one of the last to leave East Timor late in September 1999.[7] On its way out, via the port of Laga near Baucau, troops including Battalion 401 reportedly engaged in 'widespread looting and property destruction by fire, as the TNI forces swept through Baucau and Lospalos.' Battalions 406 (commanded by LtCol Sonny Widjaja) and 621 (Maj Dedi Erimpi) were mentioned in the same report.[8]

After a brief period based in neighbouring Flores, where local NGOs protested that its presence seemed to signal a militarisation of the island,[9] it was sent in January 2000 to Halmahera, North Maluku, still with the brigade commanded by Irwan Kusnadi.

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.

See map of location

This individual is also mentioned in these profiles:
Maj Dedi Erimpi
Col Irwan Kusnadi
Col Sunarko
LtCol Sonny Widjaja

[1] 'Istilah satuan militer: Dari regu hingga divisi', TNI Watch!, 27 October 1999.

[2] '150 Senjata rakitan disita Batalyon 401 Diponegoro',  Afec/ Antara, Ternate, 11 April 2000.

[3] 'Kolonel Irwan Kusnadi cedera berat di Ambon', TNI Watch! 20 May 2000.

[4] 'Setyo Sularso Danyonif 401/BR', Suara Merdeka, 19 August 1997.

[5] 'Helikopter TNI AD jatuh di Timtim: Pangdam IX Udayana dan 11 lainnya gugur', Kompas, 5 June 1998. See also East Timor Observatory / Observatório Timor Leste / Observatoire Timor-Oriental, 'ETO - Numbers and identification of Indonesian mlitary in East Timor' (Reference: FA09-1999-07-06eng), 13 July 1999 ( Other seconded battalions in this category were Battalions 144, 315, 512, and 642.

[6] 'GPK: Bunker dan senjata di Baucau', Gatra, No. 23/IV, 25 April 1998; 'Security disturbance gang headquarters raided, three gangsters die', Kompas Online, 17 April 1998. A 1996 report has Battalion 401 located in Ermera, East Timor ('A Report from the Congressional Research Service [Translated From Portuguese by David Skelly, CRS Language Services]', Appendix to Senator Claiborne Pell, 'Democracy: An emerging Asian value', A report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, June 1996, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington: 1996).

[7] 'TNI di Timtim: Tinggal Yon 700 dan tiga kompi pasukan elite', Kompas, 27 September 1999.

[8] East Timor Human Rights Centre, 'Urgent action (Ref: UA18/99)', 30 September 1999.

[9] Pos Kupang, 28 September 1999.


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