Wed, 18 Oct 2000

Parents, son mobbed by ex-neighbors

JAKARTA (JP): A man, his wife and son were beaten by some of their former neighbors in the Sawah Besar area, Central Jakarta, on Tuesday.

Relatives and witnesses said the mob had been hunting for Wahyar, 53, wife Hani, 49, and son Deden, 27, as the residents believed they caused a fire which gutted their densely populated area in April this year.

Wahyar suffered slight wounds all over his body after being mobbed by his ex-neighbors, while his wife and son suffered head injuries.

According to a local resident, who asked not to be named, the family moved from the area after their house was also destroyed in the April fire. But they returned to the premise on Tuesday morning.

Housewife Hani said that after the fire the family temporarily moved into a relative's house in Central Java. They returned on Tuesday to assess the damage to their house, she said.

The fire on April 5 destroyed 93 shanty homes and a mosque in two slums in Karang Anyar subdistrict of Sawah Besar, leaving 116 families comprising 324 people homeless.

No fatalities were recorded and local police officer said the blaze was possibly caused by a short circuit.

But rumors spread that the fire originated from Wahyar's house after the family burned incense derived from gum benzoin.

The police are still investigating the case. (07)