Speaking to journalists at the Presidential Office here on Wednesday, the TNI chief said that soldiers of the Air Force were actually trying to prevent residents from coming close to the crash site in order to safeguard them from the dangers posed by the crashed jet.
However, they used excessive force while doing their duty, Admiral Suhartono said.
"I understand that the conduct while guarding the site was beyond propriety. Therefore, in my capacity as the commander of the TNI, I extend my apology to the affected people. I have ordered the Air Force chief to take legal steps against the soldiers who committed the violent acts," Admiral Suhartono added.
"I am concerned about the incident. Therefore, in my capacity as the TNI commander, I apologize to the journalists involved and to their publications," the TNI commander said.
He added that the TNI had ethics-based standard procedures to be followed while carrying out its tasks and had eight obligations that must be fulfilled.
"If they had adhered to these principles, the incident would not have happened," he said.
As was reported earlier, Air Force personnel allegedly attacked six journalists attempting to take pictures and cover the crash of an Indonesian Air Force jet in Pekanbaru, Riau, on Tuesday. They allegedly physically assaulted one photojournalist and confiscated cameras of two others.
The six journalists were Didik Herwanto, photographer of Riau Pos, Fakhri Rubianto, a reporter of Riau TV, Rian FB Anggoro of ANTARA News Agency, Ari of TV One, Irwansyah of RTV and Andika, who is a photographer of the Vokal media.
A BAE Systems/British Aerospace Hawk 200 fighter jet crashed during a routine flight exercise over Pekanbaru at 9:47 am on Tuesday.
But when journalists arrived at the scene, soldiers of the Indonesian Air Force reportedly became hostile and allegedly beat and choked photojournalist Didik Herwanto, of the Riau Pos.
"I was covering [the crash] and the distance was considerable," Didik said, adding that he was about to take a picture of the aircraft wreckage when he was allegedly attacked by the soldiers guarding the site.
"Fortunately, there was a soldier who knew me and intervened on my behalf," he added.
Antara`s Febrianto B. Anggoro said that he was struck on his shoulders and stomach by soldiers.
"More than ten people in uniform mobbed me. Some of them [in] sports uniform, [others in an] orange uniform like a pilot and the uniform of the military special corps [Paskhas]," Febrianto added. (*)