Sarwo Edhie Revisited, 1965 PKI Nemesis
THE name of Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, alongside Suharto’s, rocketed to prominence after the political upheaval of 1965. As commander of the Army Para-Commando Regiment or RPKAD, Colonel Sarwo Edhie spearheaded the operations that would annihilate the PKI, the Indonesian Communist Party. More
In early November, 22 years ago, one Lt. Gen. (ret) Sarwo Edhie peacefully passed away, following an eight-month coma caused by a stroke. The soldier from Purworejo, Central Java, was 62 years old.
Many will remember Sarwo Edhie as the commander of the para-commando regiment, who played a vital role in the elimination of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), following the September 30, 1965 tragedy. He was the one who mobilized the army’s special forces around Java and Bali, to capture PKI leaders in the regions, and who trained youths of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) organization to spearhead major operations aimed at neutralizing the PKI support bases.
No definitive number is recorded on how many people died during that tragic period. Almost all historical research indicates it was in the hundred of thousand. In many remote areas of Java, villagers still recount stories of rivers turning red from the blood of victims. In a small or big way, Sarwo Edhie part of this tumultuous period.
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