Fri, 01 Dec 2000

24 named suspects in killings

BANDUNG: West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Yun Mulyana said on Wednesday the police had completed questioning 24 suspects in connection with the murder of several men accused of practicing black magic recently.

The suspects are expected to go on trial soon at the Cianjur District Court.

"The legal proceedings will hopefully put an end to the shaman killings in the area, which have claimed 20 fatalities," Yun said.

He identified the 24 people as provocateurs, executors and those responsible for the selection of the victims.

Yun said their motives were mainly revenge, rivalry and inheritance, while so far there was no direct evidence linking the victims to black magic.

He added that two special teams, from the Cianjur Police and the Bogor City Police, had been deployed to the area to intensify security while handling the case.

He dismissed reports that a tracker had seen 20 bodies hanging from trees in Gunung Sawo, Tanggeung district, some 80 kilometers south of Cianjur.

Meanwhile, Cianjur Police chief Supt. Mamat R. Bekti told reporters on Wednesday that the police had checked the Gunung Sawo area with Heru, a witness who had apparently mistaken bats for human bodies. (25/lup)