Sat, 27 Jul 1996

Six soldiers to stand trial for shooting

JAKARTA (JP): Three high-ranking officers and three soldiers will stand trial on Monday for suspected involvement in the shooting of West Kalimantan demonstrators in April, Antara reported yesterday.

The news agency quoted unnamed sources identifying the six only as Capt. Su, First Lt. Za, Second Lt. Si, First Sgt. JM, First Sgt. WS and First Sgt. NP. The military tribunal proceeding will be open to public.

When investigations over the shooting, which led to the death of one person, started, 26 soldiers were arrested. Commander of the Alambanawai military resort Col. Zainuri Hasyim said later in the capital city Pontianak that further investigation revealed only 12 were actually involved; the others were released.

However, "even further and more intensive investigation later decided that only six will be brought to court, the remaining six will be punished for indisciplinary actions", Zainuri said.

The Ngabang case started with the alleged abduction and torture of a resident named Jining on April 5 by 10 Armed Forces soldiers following a minor road accident.

Two days later, over 2,000 angry residents stormed onto the streets after hearing a rumor that Jining had died in the hands of his abductors.

A regional military chief, Maj. Gen. Namoeri Anom, said recently that the troops acted in self-defense after the mob attacked the Ngabang military headquarters. One protester was shot dead and four others injured during the incident.

Some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have accused the military of committing human rights violations.

Zainuri has also said that the military has complied with Armed Forces Chief Gen. Feisal Tanjung's instruction to take stern action against those involved in the shooting.

Zainuri said he does not object to the National Commission on Human Rights' reported plan to investigate the case. "We'll be ready. We will provide them with the necessary data," he said.

He pointed out that there should be enough proof of the military's openness in the fact that the soldiers will be tried in an open court.

Some NGOs recently urged the human rights commission to investigate the shooting by visiting those injured in the incident. Activists claimed that 15 demonstrators were injured when soldiers opened fire on the crowd. (swe)