Sat, 16 Dec 2000

Police to summon FPI leaders over brutal attack

JAKARTA (JP): Police will soon summon leaders of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) over Wednesday's brutal attack on a red- light district in Cikijing, Subang, about 105 kilometers east of here, an officer said on Friday.

National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Saleh Saaf said a local resident was killed in the attack by FPI, the Muslim group raiding entertainment centers in Jakarta.

"This was just outrageous ... FPI leaders, whoever they are, should be responsible for their men's actions," Saleh told reporters at the police headquarters.

He said that FPI chairman Reziq had promised that his men would no longer do anything against the law.

"The man has no ability as a leader because he cannot control his men," Saleh said.

Saleh said that FPI members arrived at the area at about 3 a.m. when it was already closed due to the fasting month. Using knives, they immediately cut the hair of three women they suspected to be prostitutes. The gang then destroyed several local residences.

"A young man, named Edi, tried to stop the gang but was beaten and stabbed to death," Saleh said.

"Nobody has a right to do such a horrible thing, especially since they claimed to have been acting in the name of religion," Saleh said in a loud voice.

The next day, Saleh said, angry locals burned the house of FPI leader, Saleh Al Habsy, who they believed organized the attack.

No one was in the house when revenge was taken, Saleh added.

Saleh also said that on Friday morning, FPI members led by Alawy Usman attacked a police station in Cikoko, Karawang, some 90 kilometers east of Jakarta. The attack left three police officers severely injured.

Saleh said that police would arrest people involved in the three incidents.

Following the FPI attack last week on four gaming centers in Jelambar, West Jakarta, in which police shot the tires of a truck fleeing with gang members and equipment allegedly stolen from the arcades, Saleh announced that police would no longer tolerate FPI's gangster activities.

Saleh said there had been many Muslim leaders who had come to police headquarters urging the police to take stern measures against FPI.

He said that the police had just received a letter signed by 76 Muslim leaders throughout the capital supporting police efforts to enforce the law against the group.

Separately, FPI executive Alawy Usman said that the death of the young man during the raid in Subang had been merely a result of a fight between FPI members and local residents.

"The locals blocked our way out of the area. There were about 200 of them while there were only 100 of us. Four of our men were injured, too, so if someone died, it was from the fight," Alawy told the Post when contacted by phone.

Alawy said that the group had raided the area because it had been open for business during the Muslim fasting month.

He also said that he had no knowledge of the three women who had their hair forcibly cut by FPI members.

Alawy also denied that FPI members had arbitrarily attacked the police station in Cikoko.

"We were just passing the police station when a police officer threw a rock at one of our members. The rock hit his head and he fell to the ground.

"Others thought he had been shot and attacked the station," Alawy, said adding that four FPI members had been injured during the clash. (jaw/edt)