Sukarno dispels talk of his death

Indonesian President Sukarno stressed that he "remained firmly" in charge of the country and the leadership of the Armed Forces.
Indonesian President Sukarno stressed that he "remained firmly" in charge of the country and the leadership of the Armed Forces.ST FILE PHOTO

Three days after a communist coup failed to seize power in Jakarta, Indonesian President Sukarno finally addressed the nation over Radio Jakarta, dispelling rumours of his death.

The President stressed that he is safe and well and "remained firmly" in charge of the country and the leadership of the Armed Forces.

The Indonesian government blamed the Sept 30 coup on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), which it said tried to wipe out the top anti-communist leadership.

Lieutenant-Colonel Untung, one of President Sukarno's presidential guards, led a gang to kill six generals, including the army commander-in-chief, General Achmad Yani.

But the rebellion was crushed less than 24 hours later by forces under Major-General Suharto's command.

General Suharto rose to power after this failed coup and would later became president.

The PKI was subsequently banned, after a bloody crackdown on its members and sympathisers.

Although there are no official figures, historians estimate that between 500,000 and three million people were killed during the communist purge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 04, 2015, with the headline 'Sukarno dispels talk of his death'. Print Edition | Subscribe