Mon, 10 Feb 2003

Policeman's career in danger after shooting

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Taufiq Ridha has pledged to dishonorably dismiss a member of the elite Mobile Brigade unit for causing the death of a civilian after randomly opening fire in the troubled regency of Poso.

Provincial police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Agus Sugianto said on Sunday that Pvt. Jeck Cuan would soon be fired, saying his crime had tarnished the police's image.

"That action is not tolerable. A harsh measure will soon be taken," Agus said, quoting Taufiq, as reported by Antara.

Agus said the Central Sulawesi Police chief had coordinated with his East Kalimantan counterpart, Insp. Gen. Winarto, to decide on the penalty for Jeck.

Jeck was one of the Brimob members who were sent from East Kalimantan to help restore peace and security in Poso.

Agus said that Winarto, in principle, had agreed with the decision to dismiss the suspect.

Jeck was blamed for firing shots at the intercity bus as it passed through Kayamanya village on Thursday.

The incident killed at least one passenger, identified as Sulaiman, and damaged the rear window of the bus plying the Palu- Luwuk route.

Sulaiman, 33, was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died. His body was brought to his hometown of Tuilli village in Banggai regency for burial.

Dozens of local villagers tried to take revenge against Jeck, but police rushed him to their station for protection.

Apart from the dishonorable discharge, Jeck is also facing a trial for the crime.

Head of the Central Sulawesi military police Comr. Masru Tubo said they had questioned seven witnesses, including the bus driver, over the shooting incident.

"Based on the testimony from those witnesses, Jeck Cuan was drunk when he opened fire," Tubo said.

He added that Jeck and another soldier, Pvt. Jumali, had left their checkpoint post in Poso and went to Kasiguncu in the subdistrict of Poso Pesisir.

In Kasiguncu, both Jeck Cuan and Jumali were offered to join a group of young men who were drinking. The two got drunk later.

"Unfortunately, he (Jeck) opened fire without any reason," Tubo added.

Both Jeck and Jumali are currently being detained at the Central Sulawesi's military police office in the provincial capital of Palu.