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Former Defence Minister, Prof Juwono Sudharsono
The real issue is the residual power of former President Suharto
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The BBC's Richard Galpin
"The people of Jakarta continue to live in fear of further bomb attacks"
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Monday, 18 September, 2000, 07:06 GMT 08:06 UK
Wahid sacks Indonesia's police chief
wreckage from Stock exchange bomb in Jakarta
Police seem incapable of preventing the bombings
President Abdurrahman Wahid has sacked Indonesia's Chief of Police amid escalating violence in the country.

General Rusiharjo will be replaced in the short term by his deputy, Lieutenant General Bimantoro, until a long-term successor is appointed

The move follows a spate of violent attacks in the country, including last Wednesday's bombing of the Jakarta Stock Exchange, which killed 15 people.

A BBC correspondent says the sacking may be in response to the apparent ineffectiveness of police, who have made little headway in solving or preventing such incidents.

"Because of the security situation, we need a replacement," said President Wahid, speaking to reporters.

Firmer Grip

The move coincides with calls from Indonesia's influential Head of Parliament Akbar Tandjung for President Wahid to take a firmer grip on security affairs.

President Wahid
President Wahid is facing mounting pressure over the bombings
"We'd like the president to take action to prevent bomb blasts in the future, to instruct the armed forces and the head of the police to investigate the bomb blasts," he said.

Last week's stock exchange bomb was the worst single incident the capital has seen, and it followed a series of bombings during the last three months, including an attack on the house of the Philippines ambassador.

All the attacks have coincided with steps by the authorities to prosecute former president Suharto on corruption charges.

The stock exchange bomb occurred the day before Mr Suharto was due to appear in court.

The government has accused pro-Suharto elements within the armed forces of orchestrating the upsurge in violence.

But so far, police have made no arrests for any of these incidents and investigations seem to be making little headway.

Hutomo 'Tommy' Madala Putra
President Suharto's son was arrested but released uncharged
Last Friday, President Wahid took matters into his own hands by ordering the national police chief to arrest one of Mr Suharto's sons, Tommy, in connection with the bombings.

However, when he appeared at police headquarters on Saturday, he was not detained as the police said they had no evidence to arrest him.

International pressure

Akbar Tandjung criticised the arrest, saying President Wahid should not have acted without first collecting sufficient evidence.

Protests have been staged calling for firmer action
Indonesia is also facing mounting pressure from the international community to bring pro-Jakarta militias operating in the troubled West Timor border region under control.

Last month, three UN aid workers were killed by militias in a refugee camp in East Timor while, according to witnesses, police stood aside.

US Defence Secretary William Cohen has warned that Indonesia must disarm and disband the militias or risk international isolation.

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See also:

18 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Cohen warning over West Timor militias
16 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Tommy Suharto denies bombing
13 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia's fragile archipelago
06 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Wahid's many problems
30 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor marks year of freedom
11 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesia pledges to disarm militias
08 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
'20 dead' in Timor clashes
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