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General Wiranto
A taste of the album
 real 28k

General Wiranto
"I want to help"
 real 28k

Sunday, 22 October, 2000, 17:12 GMT
Wiranto swaps gun for mike
Wiranto
Wiranto: From soldier to crooner
The former commander of Indonesia's armed forces, General Wiranto, has swapped the barracks for the recording studio, launching a new career as a singer.

The disgraced general has released an album of love songs to raise money for the country's refugees.

General Wiranto was dismissed from his cabinet position after being held ultimately responsible for the atrocities committed by Indonesian forces and their militia allies in East Timor.

Before a packed house in a five-star hotel in Jakarta, the former military strongman sang a selection of numbers from his album, For You, My Indonesia.

He strutted on a stage before dinner guests who had paid $100 each for the pleasure of listening to him.

wiranto
Wiranto: Sang to a packed house
He told the audience that 7,300 copies of the CD had already been sold, raising some 500 million rupiah ($56,000) for the more than half a million internal refugees in Indonesia.

He raised a further 351 million rupiah from auctioning several golden discs at the launch.

The refugees include some 130,000 East Timorese left in West Timor.

Human rights groups have denounced his actions as a gross insult to the people of East Timor.

Controversial general

General Wiranto was military chief when pro-Jakarta militias went on the rampage in East Timor last September after the territory voted for independence.

He has been partly blamed for the rioting which left hundreds dead and sent hundreds of thousands fleeing their homes.

The general launched his new career as a crooner on the same day the authorities disbanded a nationwide force of tens of thousands of civilian auxiliaries, called the Kamra.

The Kamra, recruited in December 1998 by General Wiranto, have been widely criticised as thugs.

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See also:

01 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Timor inquiry: The list of suspects
30 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor marks year of freedom
13 Feb 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wiranto - survivor with iron will
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