Jakarta. The Indonesian army said on Friday that it was investigating allegations that soldiers had visited a neighborhood to encourage people to vote for Prabowo Subianto in the presidential election.
Army chief of staff Gen. Budiman said the investigation was ongoing and that he had instructed all soldiers — who are not eligible to vote — to stay neutral.
The army's spokesman, Brig.Gen. Andika Perkasa, said that the army chief of staff had acknowledged reports by media that a sergeant from the military had visited a neighborhood in Central Jakarta where most of the population were of Chinese descent and were Christians.
Kompas.com reported that the residents — many of whom were affected by the 1998 riots — were intimidated by the sergeant.
The residents claimed the sergeant who claimed to be from the local district-level military command tried to persuade the residents to vote for a presidential candidate under the pretext of updating the voters list.
Andika said the army chief of staff held an emergency teleconference with all local military chiefs to reconfirm the military's neutral stance in the election.
"The army chief of staff also issued an instruction to investigate the Babinsa case in Central Jakarta," Andika said referring to the Indonesian Military's (TNI) local council.