Sat, 04 Aug 2001

Provocateurs monitored in East Java

SURABAYA (JP): At least 12 people suspected of being provocateurs have been allegedly trying to incite riots in six towns in East Java, province military chief Maj. Gen. Sudi Silalahi said on Friday.

"Our intelligence officers have been observing their activities. They have been distributing antigovernment leaflets and terrorizing the public," Sudi said after Friday prayers at the military headquarters.

These provocateurs have even tried to terrify the public with bomb threats, but they have failed, he said.

Agreeing with Sudi, head of the military intelligence unit Lt. Col. Liliek Kushadiyanto said two of the alleged provocateurs, identified by the initials SY and RD alias IL, were from outside Java and two others, identified as PR and KR, were from Jakarta.

"They have been targeting 12 towns in the country, including six towns in East Java, namely Pasuruan, Probolinggo, Situbondo, Bondowoso, Jember and Banyuwangi."

East Java is the stronghold of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organization, which was once chaired by former president Abdurrahman Wahid.

Sudi said the activities of the alleged provocateurs might be linked to the Bondowoso incident where eight people, including two National Awakening Party (PKB) faction legislators, were arrested for distributing antigovernment leaflets and posters last Thursday morning.

The PKB faction legislators, identified as Mustawiyanto and M. Rozak, and the six other people have been detained at the East Java Police Headquarters on charges of undermining a legitimate government. PKB was founded by former president Abdurrahman Wahid.

"I am not confirming that these provocateurs' actions are linked to the eight people arrested in Bondowoso. But, judging from their modus operandi, their activities are probably linked."

When asked why the police did not arrest the alleged provocateurs, Sudi said, "The police will arrest them when it has sufficient evidence. We cannot act arbitrarily." (nur/sur)