Sat, 10 Jul 2004

Betawi group furious over death of friend

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Dozens of members of the Betawi Brotherhood Forum (FBR) could not conceal their anger when they collected the body of their colleague Aji Mustofa from the Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital morgue in Salemba, Central Jakarta, on Friday.

Mustofa died due to a loss of blood from deep cuts on both of his wrists, injuries he sustained in a brawl at Pulomas Apartments, East Jakarta, late on Wednesday.

"Mustofa was trying to stop the brawl, but the attackers were savage. We won't ignore this incident. If the police cannot catch his attackers, I won't accept responsibility if my members vent their anger," forum leader Fadholi El Muhir was quoted as saying by

Mustofa was rushed to the Islamic Hospital in Cempaka Putih in the small hours of Wednesday.

The brawl started at a billiard hall in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, on late Tuesday, when several residents of Pulomas Apartments snatched a pool cue from an FBR member. One of them later broke the cue and hit the FBR member when the latter tried to get it back.

The FBR member later brought his friends to the apartments at about 1 a.m., armed with wooden sticks and metal poles.

The targeted man apparently had expected retaliation as he and dozens of his friends had armed themselves with sharp weapons.

Three FBR members: Mustofa, Tarmiji and Burhanuddin, were injured. One of the rivals was reportedly injured.

Burhanuddin suffered a gash to the stomach while Tarmiji suffered bruising to the head.

Pulogadung Police, who arrived at the scene at about 3 a.m., arrested two Pulomas residents identified as Ramlan and Anis.

East Jakarta Police personnel were deployed to guard the apartment compound to anticipate further attacks.

One of the Pulomas residents, Harry Roboth, said that other tenants of the apartment had been seriously concerned for their safety after the brawl.

"We hope the brawl won't drag on," Harry said.

FBR is known in the city for their hostility toward the Urban Poor Consortium, which strongly criticizes the city administration's discriminatory policies against the poor.