Commander, combat Sector A (eastern East Timor); Intelligence assistant to Kopassus commander
The sectoral commands played an important role in training, arming and managing militias. They also controlled combat troops who often conducted joint military operations with militias, and they nominally controlled the intelligence units SGI. Sunarko handed over his sector command to Col Irwan Kusnadi on 21 June 1999.
According to TNI Watch!, while commanding Sector A in East Timor, Sunarko simultaneously held the post of Intelligence Assistant to the Commanding General of Kopassus (Asintel Danjen Kopassus). Afterwards, Sunarko was called before the Indonesian inquiry into atrocities committed in East Timor (KPP HAM). Despite allegedly playing a key role in East Timor in 1999, he was not punished, either by the inquiry or by the military itself. This is reflected in his later appointment as a military sub-area commander (Komandan Korem) in Pare Pare, Sulawesi. While not technically a promotion, it increased his experience and his promotion prospects.
Among the combat battalions under his control at this time were Battalions 401 (commanded by LtCol Sukoso), and 406 (LtCol Sonny Widjaja).
The following officers may have acted under his command within Sector A (based on 1998 data), and are mentioned in one report as possible war crimes suspects:
- LtCol (Inf) Sunindyo. Institutional home: Kopassus Group 3; position: Deputy Commander (Wadan) Sector A; Serial no. 29608.
- Capt (Inf) Agus Subiyanto. Kopassus Group 3; Head, Operations Section (Kasi Ops) Sector A; Serial no. 11910029630867.
- Lt (Lettu Inf) Indra Heri. Battalion 327; Head, Intelligence Section (Kasi Intel) Sector A; Serial no. 11930068460568.
- Lt (Lettu Inf) Bambang Yudi. Battalion 327; Head, Territorial Section (Kasi Teritorial) Sector A; Serial no. 11940024300872.
The first two are Kopassus officers whose institutional base was Group 3. This training unit (Pusdik Passus), based in West Java, also had a clandestine role of coordinating combat operations in East Timor (see the item on MajGen Syahrir). Battalion 327 (Yonif 327/ Brajawijaya), is based in Cianjur, West Java but was not, as far as we know, in East Timor in 1999.
It seems likely that two Lospalos-based Kopassus officers indicted in Dili for crimes against humanity, Lt Rahman Zulkarnaen and Sgt Syaful Anwar, answered to Col Sunarko and his successor. Both spent most of their time managing the Alfa Team militia.
This long time Kopassus and intelligence officer was born in about 1952. He graduated from the military academy in 1975. In August 1996 he was promoted to command the Dili military district (Kodim 1627) from his previous post as head of the operations section at the East Timor military command (Korem 164). In November 1997 he was withdrawn to Abri headquarters in Jakarta. It is not known when he became sector commander in East Timor.