Mon, 11 Sep 2000

Front Hizbullah lay siege to police HQs

JAKARTA (JP): Around 500 Front Hizbullah members on Sunday marched on the Presidential Palace and later the National Police headquarters, demanding justice for the group's leader, Cecep Bustomi, who was shot dead last month in Serang, West Java.

The Muslim organization called on the police to accelerate their investigation into the still-unsolved killing.

The protesters included relatives of Cecep.

"We want to know how willing the police are to investigate this case," said the slain man's brother, Iman Syaifudin Mutho.

Iman said the police seemed to be missing key facts and were trying to slow down the investigation. Cecep was killed on July 24.

"If the police can't solve (the case) then it is better if Rusdihardjo steps down from his position," said Iman, referring to National Police chief Gen. Rusdihardjo.

Most of the participants in the noisy but peaceful protest came from Tangerang and Bekasi on the outskirts of Jakarta.

Iman also urged Rusdihardjo to clarify his statement that his brother Cecep was a gang leader.

"Such a remark from the number one man in the police force is not acceptable. He shouldn't trash our member's reputation," Iman said.

Front Hizbullah is an Islamic organization that focuses on preventing communities around Serang from breaking Islamic syariah law.

The group often raids clubs that serve alcohol and are frequented by prostitutes.

Iman said the night before Cecep was murdered the group attacked a traditional jaipongan dangdut dance performance in Petir, Serang. Members became involved in a dispute with a man who tried to prevent the raid.

The man, an Army Special Force (Kopassus) officer, was found dead at the scene.

Cecep was summoned for questioning at Serang's Kopassus headquarters, he said.

On the way back home to Pandeglang, Cecep's vehicle was sprayed with bullets by a group of four men on two motorcycles.

Cecep was killed immediately but his driver survived, Iman said.

"The police have come to our houses but there have still been no results," he said, adding that there were several witnesses that could confirm the killing.

The protesters warned they would occupy police headquarters if they were offered no clear explanation. (07)