Four killed, eight wounded in bungled Indonesian military exercise

Soldiers in position during a VVIP security exercise in Nusa Dua, Bali, in March. Image: Nyoman Budhiana/Jakarta Post/Antara

By Fadi In Batam, Ruiau Islands, Indonesia

A Chinese-made cannon has malfunctioned and fired off shots randomly during military exercises in Indonesia’s Tanjung Datuk, Natuna, Riau Islands province, on Wednesday. Four soldiers were killed and eight were wounded.

During the exercises, held by an Indonesian Army quick response team (PPRC TNI AD) at the Air Defence Artillery 1/K compound, soldiers were undergoing target practice with the Giant Bow cannon.

The exercises were reportedly part of preparations ahead of an event scheduled for today during which a military parade was to be be conducted in front of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

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However, Army spokesperson Colonel Alfret Denny Tuejeh denied the exercises were connected to a parade, saying they were just regular exercises.

He had previously confirmed that the incident occurred during a “rehearsal”.

“The incident occurred during the second round of exercises [on Wednesday],” he said, adding that the incident happened about 11 a.m.

The gears “malfunctioned”, Tuejeh said.

The first round of exercises proceeded smoothly, he said.

Denny said there were 12 victims, including the four fatalities. The eight wounded soldiers were taken to Natuna General Hospital.

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