Mon, 09 Oct 2000

Killing sparks Matramam clash

JAKARTA (JP): A fresh brawl broke out between the feuding neighborhoods of Palmeriam and Berlan in East Jakarta on Sunday, shortly after the burial of a Berlan resident who was murdered a day earlier by a group of unidentified men.

No fatalities or serious damage were reported during the fierce afternoon clash in which locals from both areas pelted each other with rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Some of them were seen arming themselves with air rifles, swords, sickles, smoke bombs and firecrackers.

The situation was tense in the no-man's-land of Jl. Matraman Raya, which marks the borderline between the two rival neighborhoods. As usual, traffic on the busy thoroughfare was halted for at least one hour as no vehicles dared to pass through.

The mobs, however, demolished parts of the newly-constructed two-meter-high steel fence passing down the median strip of Jl. Matraman Raya.

The disturbance, which started at about 1 p.m., involved hundreds of people from the two warring subdistricts and was finally quelled an hour later upon the arrival of some 50 riot police.

The officers, equipped with guns and backed up by water cannon, remained on guard in the area until dawn.

The Berlan resident, Yosef Suryahadi, 24, who had earlier been buried, was said by witnesses to have been fatally stabbed in the head, face and right arm by a group of unidentified men.

Yosef, who worked as a parking attendant in the area, was rushed to the emergency room of Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital in Central Jakarta, but died on arrival.

As in the case of previous clashes in the area, such an unresolved issue was capable of reigniting the conflict between the two neighborhoods, which have had a long history of destructive infighting, despite the reconciliation efforts made by the authorities.

In the last clash in July, some 20 people from Palmeriam subdistrict were shot by air rifles fired by people from the Berlan subdistrict. (07)