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01 March 2024

Indonesia’a Suharto to get state funeral in Solo

By Agencies



The body of former Indonesian president Suharto arrived in the city of Solo after being flown from the capital ahead of his state funeral later Monday.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the airport in Solo to watch the arrival of the military plane carrying Suharto's casket, which was to be driven to the family mausoleum outside of the Central Java city.

Suharto's plane was the last to land in a procession of aircraft carrying relatives and officials from Jakarta, television pictures showed.

Suharto, who died on Sunday aged 86 three weeks after going into hospital with heart, lung and kidney complaints, ruled Indonesia for 32 years until he was forced to step down in 1998.

His body lay at a family residence in a leafy district of Jakarta overnight before being taken through the streets in a motorcade to a military airport watched by a waving crowd of tens of thousands.

The airforce Hercules transport carrying Suharto's body was greeted in Solo by an honour guard of about 100 military soldiers and police, state television station TVRI showed.

His body was loaded into a hearse by eight soldiers and left in a slow convoy to the Astana Giribangun mausoleum in the small town of Matesih about 35 kilometres away.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to lead the funeral.

Hundreds of people gathered outside of the airport, which was temporarily closed to other flights, to watch the procession pass.

Heads of state and representatives from Australia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand arrived by planes at the airport earlier on Monday.

East Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao is expected to arrive later Monday for the funeral along with the tiny nation's justice minister and armed forces commander, officials in Dili said..

Suharto invaded East Timor in 1975 but Indonesia relinquished its sovereignty there following a UN-held referendum in 1999. (AFP)