Jakarta. The Indonesian Military, or TNI, has dropped Lt. Col. Ubaidillah from his position as the District Military Commander in Lebak, Banten, after involving members of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, in the military-run "Bela Negara," or Defend the Nation, program.
The call was made after a picture showing FPI members involved in an agility training with the soldiers went viral on social media.
Initial investigation revealed Ubaidillah failed to report the Bela Negara event to his superiors – Banten Military Commander Col. Wirana Prasetya Budi and Siliwangi Regional Military Commander Maj. Gen. Muhammad Herindra.
"The Siliwangi Regional Military Commander decided to drop the Lebak District Military Commander and his replacement will be installed soon," spokesman for the Siliwangi Military Command Col. M. Desi Arianto said in a statement on Sunday (08/01).
Hendardi, chairman of Jakarta-based human rights group Setara Institute, said TNI's swift decision to drop the Lebak District Military Commander should serve as a warning for everyone in the institution not to play nice with intolerant groups.
"Our democracy needs a disciplined and united TNI, not one easily swayed by other groups," Hendardi said.
The activist also called on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to re-evaluate the Bela Negara program, which has come under fire from a skeptical public since it was introduced by the Defense Ministry in 2015.