Subject: AP: Indonesia's Gen. Andi Muhammad Jusuf Dies

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Indonesia's Gen. Andi Muhammad Jusuf Dies

By IRWAN FIRDAUS, Associated Press Writer

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Gen. Andi Muhammad Jusuf, a former Indonesian army chief who played a pivotal role in the rise to power of former dictator Suharto (news - web sites) nearly four decades ago, has died. He was 76.

Jusuf, a retired four-star general, passed away late Wednesday from kidney failure and other complications in the central city of Makassar, his doctor, John F. Adam, said Thursday.

Jusuf joined the Indonesian army in 1945, as the new state fought to prevent the return of Dutch colonizers after World War II. He rose through the ranks and was eventually promoted to general.

In 1966, Jusuf was involved in events that led to the ouster of then-President Sukarno and his replacement by Suharto after mutinous junior officers assassinated six top generals.

In the chaos that followed the killings, Suharto — who had inexplicably been left off the mutineers' hit list — assumed command of the armed forces, blaming communists and other leftists for the insurrection.

According to the dictatorship's version of history, on March 11, 1966, Sukarno formally transferred power to Suharto by signing an order which he handed to Jusuf, the junta's representative who had visited him in the presidential palace.

Sukarno loyalists maintain that the original document — known by its Indonesian acronym as Supersemar — was simply an instruction to Suharto to use the armed forces to maintain security and end the massacres.

Sukarno's bodyguards said that Jusuf and two other generals forced the country's founding president to sign the paper at gunpoint.

Historians have never been able to ascertain the truth because the original document — which ushered in 32 years of brutal dictatorship — immediately vanished and was never seen again.

Jusuf himself refused to comment on the whereabouts of the document.

After Suharto assumed power, he launched a massive purge of the Communist Party in which up to 800,000 people died. The U.S. government supplied thousands of names of suspected leftists to the right-wing junta.

He was later promoted to army chief and commanded Indonesian troops during the invasion of East Timor (news - web sites) and the subsequent killings of tens of thousands of civilians in that country.

Jusuf was buried Thursday at a cemetery in Makassar. He is survived by his wife, Elly Saelan Jusuf.

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