Tue, 18 Apr 2000

Marine sergeant's wife upset by mistaken reports

JAKARTA (JP): The wife of an injured marine sergeant complained on Monday about media reports which quoted police sources as saying her husband was shot dead at a bar.

"After the media reported the death of my husband, my family members and relatives came to my house to deliver their condolences. It caused a lot of distress to our family," she told reporters at Cilandak Marine Hospital in South Jakarta where her husband was being treated.

She refused to give her first name.

Based on the police report and statement, several media reported on Monday that marine Chief Sgt. Beni Silaban, 45, was shot dead by police First Sgt. Ruban Butar-Butar during a heated argument at Palm Garden Pub in East Jakarta early on Sunday.

The sources included East Jakarta Police chief Col. Hidayat Fabanxio and head of the Jakarta Police Internal Affairs division, Lt. Col. Mustofa.

"He was shot to death," Hidayat had said on Sunday.

Both officers could not be reached for comment on Monday.

None of Beni's superiors could be reached on Sunday. On the same day his family members were not available for comment in Cililitan Besar, Kramatjati, which was the address collected by the police.

Sere Silaban, a relative, said on Monday that Beni's family moved to Depok several months ago.

City police spokesman Lt. Col. Zainuri Lubis said on Monday the mistake was made by his staff but they should not be blamed.

"People make mistakes ... police stations are never clear when they give us data. I cannot come every day to Jakarta Police Headquarters to confirm whether a murder occurred or not. I need my holidays too," Zainuri said.

Beni appeared to be having trouble breathing in his hospital bed in Cilandak on Monday. Hooked up to intravenous drips, he occasionally talked in his sleep. A bandage covered the upper left part of his chest.

It was not disclosed if surgery was performed to remove any bullets.

Ruban, who immediately reported the incident to his superiors, was still under questioning by the city police on Monday. (asa/ylt)