Mon, 06 Mar 2000

City police to further probe illegal gun trade

JAKARTA (JP): South Jakarta Police handed over on Saturday two illegal gun trade suspects to the city police for a further probe into the recent arrest of 12 fellow suspects, the South Jakarta Police chief of detectives said.

Maj. Rycko Amelza Daniel identified the suspects as Muhammad bin Yusuf, alias Rohmat M, an alleged official of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) who was arrested by Medan Police on March 1, and First. Sgt. Prabawa of the West Java Mobile Brigade.

"North Sumatra Police handed Rohmat over to us on Saturday, and on the same day we handed Rohmat over to the city police, along with Prabawa," Rycko told reporters.

"I'll present the investigation results and techniques used to get to the core of the illegal gun trade network in a meeting with city police detectives at the city police headquarters on Monday morning."

A city police source said on Sunday evening that a high- ranking GAM official was shot dead in a raid in Medan, in which Rohmat was arrested as he had tried to escape.

"We have learned a lot from them. We can identify these officers from the 'passwords' they use," the source said.

"To identify one another, GAM officials use signature coins. High-ranking officials carry yellow-colored coins. Between middle-rankers, they use the same type of coin, one half is white and the rest yellow. Between the low-rankers, the lower-half of the coin is white."

Rohmat, a resident of Pulanga village in Gandapura, North Aceh, has confessed to having bought 2,200 AK-47's and 500 M-16 bullets, and other kinds of bullets, all worth Rp 50 million (US$6,700), from a man he identified as Nasir, who lives in Pondok Gede, East Jakarta.

Rohmat said the purchase was based on orders from another GAM official, identified as Zulkifli.

Rycko said Rohmat was arrested at the home of Haris Bustami, at the Sunggal Mas housing complex in Medan.

Police seized two grenades, a military cap and Indonesian Military (TNI) regulation shoes from the house in three plastic bags.

"Rohmat says that during the raid at the house, Haris and another GAM official managed to get away," Rycko said.

Rohmat said, as quoted in the police report, that the plastic bags and the grenades had been at the house since Feb. 29, the day Rohmat arrived at Polonia Airport, Medan, from Jakarta on a Mandala Airlines flight.

In his report, Rohmat said Zulkifli had entrusted him to make the transaction, and that he only had to show the payment receipt to Zulkifli at Pulawi village in North Aceh.

Rohmat also confessed to having arrived in Jakarta a week after the Idul Fitri holiday, where he stayed for a week at Nasir's house.

Separately, Prabawa has confessed to buying AK-47 bullets and M-16 bullets from a member of the Indonesian Shooting Association (Perbakin) in West Java, who has since died.

"He said he sold the bullets to Andi Sunarto from Bandung (one of the 12 suspects arrested during an almost five-day raid here over the illegal gun trade)," Rycko said.

"But Andi said he bought at least 20 boxes of ammunition from Prabawa." (ylt)