Mon, 12 Jun 2000

9 houses burned in vengeance

JAKARTA (JP): Nine homes were set on fire and 17 others were vandalized in Pisang Batu village in the Cibitung district of Bekasi regency on Sunday by some 300 men from Kampung Baru village, Tambelang district, the Bekasi Police chief said.

Lt. Col. Sutarman said on Sunday that no fatalities were reported, but a woman, said to be over 100 years old, suffered severe burns to a portion of her body.

"Her name is Sap. She was with her son Robby in the only home which was still occupied. Frightened residents vacated the other homes," Sutarman said.

He said at about 2 a.m., hundreds of angry screaming Kampung Baru residents marched into Pisang Batu, armed with Molotov cocktails, sticks and rocks.

"When the Pisang Batu residents heard the cries, they immediately left the village, except Robby and his mother. Some residents managed to drag Sap out of her burning house and threw her into a nearby pool to put the flames out on her body," Sutarman said.

"Luckily, the fire was put out."

Sutarman said the attack was in retaliation of the murder of Rochim bin Taman, a Kampung Baru resident, who was killed in Pisang Batu on the night of June 3.

Rochim was visiting his girlfriend, Si Bule, in Pisang Batu at the time. He left his girlfriend's house to buy a pack of cigarettes, when some 12 men, led by a man named Oman, 20, reportedly started to beat Rochim.

"Oman was crazy about Bule. In fear, Rochim ran to the house of a chief of a neighborhood unit. He was pulled out by Oman's friends. Oman then set him on fire," Sutarman said.

"Oman then went around the village, announcing on loud speakers that he and his friends had just set fire to a motorcycle thief." (ylt/08)