Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA News) - East Java`s military command chief, Maj Gen Murdjito, has admitted that a number of servicemen were suspected of involvement in a recent people smuggling attempt that ended in tragedy in Prigi waters, Trenggalek.

He was referring to the case of hundreds of illegal immigrants whose boat sank in Prigi waters recently on its way to Australia. Most of the asylum seekers from Middle Eastern countries were found dead or are still unaccounted for.

"I have indeed received information on indications that some military individuals were involved. But to what extent they were involved, I still don`t know," Murdjito said here Friday.

To ascertain the truth of the early information, he had instructed the regional military police commander to submit a report on the matter.

"After I have received the military police report, we will have a more credible picture. Meanwhile, we will wait for further developments," he said.

According to the preliminary information he had received, three army men were suspected to be involved in the people smuggling operation. They were identified as Sub Lieutenant First Class S, Chief Private K and Chief Private KA (head of the Besuki military area in Tulungagung).

Murdjito said if in the investigation to be conducted by the military police proof was found substantiating the present suspicion against the three servicemen, they would face severe penalties, including possible dismissal.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2011