Unaware where the guns would end up, the officers supplemented their police salaries by selling warehoused weapons.
Testifying as prosecution witnesses in a terrorism trial this week, two former police officers and a businessman described how in pursuit of profit, they accidentally facilitated the sale of weapons to a paramilitary group in Aceh.
Prosecutors presented the three Monday (December 10th) at the trial of Enjang Sumantri, a suspected member of the Cikampek terrorist network accused of sending weapons to Aceh and raising funds for a terrorist training camp there through robbery.
Testimony of the three witnesses revealed how they unwittingly supported that terror network, a crime for which they were convicted and sentenced in January 2011 to ten years in prison.
Tatang Mulyadi and Abdi Tunggal, former brigadiers in the National Police, were logistics officers tasked with guarding a National Police warehouse in Cipinang, East Jakarta. Ahmad Sutrisno was a businessman involved in weapons maintenance at the Indonesian Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) Headquarters in Kelapa Dua, Depok, outside Jakarta.
From June 2009 to March 2010, Tatang and Abdi sold 28 weapons, including 11M-16s, 4 AK-47s, 2 M-58s, and some 20,000 bullets, to Sutrisno.
“I sold the weapons simply because I was looking for profit. I did not know that the weapons were sold to a paramilitary group in Aceh. I only became aware of this after I was arrested,” Tatang told the West Jakarta District Court session.
“I knew that Sutrisno was actually a member of the Mobile Brigade’s weaponry warehouse, and he told me that the weapons would be used by the Brigade,” he added.
Tatang told the court that he sold the weapons for Rp 3 million to 10 million ($312 to $1,038) each, depending on the type of weapon. He also sold more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition to Sutrisno for Rp. 1,000 ($.10) each.
“The weapons, which were placed in the warehouse, actually could not be used anymore and they were set to be destroyed. I asked Abdi to fix them, and we shared the profit,” Tatang said.
Abdi told the court that he fixed five of the 28 weapons sold to Sutrisno and got a $415 commission for the work.
Sutrisno testified that he too did not know that the weapons would be used for paramilitary training. He resold them to an officer he believed was still active in the National Police.
“At that time, Muhammad Sofyan Tsauri ordered a number of weapons from me. He told me that he needed the weapons to secure the coal mining area in Kalimantan,” Sutrisno said.
“After I was arrested, I learned that the weapons were used for paramilitary training in Aceh,” he said.
From his business with Sofyan, Sutrisno received approximately Rp 60 million ($6,233).
Sofyan graduated from the Police Academy in Sukabumi in 1998 and was stationed in Depok. In 2002, he was posted to Aceh for seven months.
Dishonourably discharged in June 2009 due to a polygamy issue, he was later linked to the bombing of a police mosque in Cirebon and prosecuted for supplying weapons to a terrorist cell in Aceh. He too, is serving a ten-year prison sentence.
Sutrisno said he wondered at the time why Sofyan, a police officer, would buy weapons from him.
“I actually asked him why as a police officer, he ordered weapons through me. And he said that it is difficult for an ordinary officer to get weapons.”