Indonesia confirmed Friday that government soldiers could be seen torturing suspected separatists in video posted online.
In a short video, men tied in contorted positions are held down on the ground and questioned. At one point, one man's genitals are burned. Another answers questions while a knife blade is jammed under his nose and occasionally dragged across his face and neck. The perpetrators' faces can't be seen, but a uniform is sometimes visible.
Senior Security Minister Djoko Suyanto said Friday that the abusers were in fact soldiers and that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had launched an investigation. The victims were thought to be from the restive eastern province of Papua.
"A comprehensive investigation of the unprofessional behavior is under way," he told reporters after a Cabinet meeting to discuss the footage, which was posted online and has drawn condemnation from newspapers, legislators and rights groups.
Suyanto said proper action would be taken against any troops involved in torture in accordance with military regulations.
According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, a metadata analysis indicated the footage was filmed on a cell phone camera on May 30.
Indonesia took over Papua from the Dutch in 1963 and formalized its sovereignty six years later through a stage-managed vote by about 1,000 community leaders.
Human rights groups say more than 100,000 people _ a fifth of the impoverished province's population _ have died as result of military action.