Sun, 08 Apr 2001

Sampit still tense after police killing

SAMPIT, Central Kalimantan (JP): Following the death of three of their colleagues in a clash on Friday with locals, members of police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) intensified their street operations in Sampit on Saturday, netting people carrying sharp weapons.

They also stopped people wearing red headbands, which is associated with the Dayak.

Witnesses said the police beat up those netted and then let them go. No fatalities were reported.

The action apparently crippled the town of Sampit and created tension. Rumors spread that the troopers were entering villages and searching for Dayaks.

"People are afraid to go about their daily activities," one Sampit resident, who asked for anonymity, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

He said that shops closed before midday.

Three Brimob troopers and a Dayak were killed in fierce fighting some 40 kilometers west of Sampit on Friday.

The troopers, identified as Second Adj. Insp. Asep Dedi, Second Brig. Rikho and Second Brig. Rohman, were from the Kelapa Dua Brimob Headquarters in Jakarta. Another trooper, Second Brig. Marwan, was seriously wounded in the clash.

The resident said that many Javanese migrants had left their homes in Sampit, believing that a fresh clash between locals and troopers would soon erupt.

However, many residents expressed relief at official the search of citizens on the streets of Sampit.

"Unlike the days before, there were no Dayak people roaming about on the streets with spears and swords in their hands on Saturday," said a migrant.

People living close to the scene of Friday's fight said that a large number of Dayaks fled into the jungle following Brimob's search.

Police were not available for comment. The Post also failed to contact Kota Waringin Timur Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Petrus Hartono.

Violence first broke out in Sampit in February when local Dayaks attacked Madurese migrants, killing hundreds. (32/sur)