Fri, 18 May 2001

Police to question governor, musician over bombing

JAKARTA (JP): Jakarta Police Chief Insp. Gen. Sofjan Yacob said on Thursday that police would question prominent people whose names have emerged amongst the evidence at the Guntur blast site in South Jakarta, that claimed three lives.

Sofyan said that among the prominent names to be summoned were Aceh Governor Abdullah Puteh, legislator Zulvan Lindan and musician Fariz RM.

Their names were mentioned in documents belonging to the Aceh Referendum Information Center (SIRA), a non-governmental organization which police believe is responsible for the fatal blast at an Acehnese dormitory in South Jakarta on May 10.

"Governor Abdullah Puteh was also mentioned by our primary suspect, Taufik Abdullah, as the man who gave his blessings for certain Acehnese events ... police will need to hear what the Aceh governor has to say about these matters," Sofjan told The Jakarta Post over the phone from Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Sofjan was in Makassar to officially hand over his former post as South Sulawesi Police chief, to Brig. Gen. Firman Gani on Friday in a police ceremony.

Sofjan said all other names mentioned in the SIRA documents, including Zulvan of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle and musician Fariz, would be summoned for questioning.

Fariz, according to the documents, sent letters to separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) war commander Tengku Abdullah Syafiie to express sympathy and support for the group's struggle, the general said.

A letter was also found amongst the evidence at the Guntur blast site.

Meanwhile, Fariz admitted on Thursday that he had sent the letter to the GAM commander because he was very concerned about Acehnese refugees.

"My concern was for the refugees," Fariz told private television station SCTV here on Thursday.

He added that he wanted to write songs, and hand over whatever profits he received from the sale of the songs to those refugees. That's the reason why he wrote the letter to the GAM commander.

Meanwhile, SIRA Jakarta chapter coordinator Faisal Saifuddin, who is scheduled to arrive at city police headquarters for questioning on Monday, said on Thursday that evidence found at the Guntur blast site could have been engineered.

"If SIRA documents were found at the site, then I demand to know what those documents say since to date, all documents issued by SIRA are open to the public, and do not contain any sensational material," Faisal was quoted by Antara as saying.

The blast on May 10 claimed at least three lives, and destroyed a major portion of the Iskandar Muda student dormitory, which police say was a front for bomb-assemblers.

Meanwhile, a sound-system speaker found among the ruins of the blast site, suspected of being a bomb, scared local residents on Thursday of Jl. Perahu in Guntur.

Parwi, a chicken-noodle vendor, said that residents panicked when police officers informed them of "a possible active bomb" in the ruins of the blast site, and ordered them to stay 100 meters away from the blast site.

Setiabudi Police subprecinct chief Comr. B. Soetrisno said that four diggers, hired by the National Police Forensics Laboratory (Puslabfor) to clear away the ruins, were the first to find electric cables, running from a "dark box" in the ruins.

The workers told reporters that police had told them to be careful while digging.

"Police told us that if we found any cables connected to an object, we must report it. So, we did," one of the diggers, Toto, told reporters.

A bomb squad official at the site, Sr. Comr. Amri Kamil, said that his team arrived and blew up the box at the site.

"The dark box connected with the electric cables, turned out to be just a sound-system speaker," Amri said. (27/01/ylt)