Wed, 21 Jun 2000

TNI members attacked police station: Witness

JAKARTA (JP): Driver of the Kopaja public bus who drove a group of men on Monday to Mampang Police subprecinct in South Jakarta identified the mob, who violently attacked the police station and stabbed three men, as military personnel.

"I believe they are members (of the military) as they all had cepak (military haircut)," Supardi, the driver, told reporters on Tuesday after being questioned as a witness in the case by Jakarta Police detectives.

According to Supardi, the mob, comprising about 50 well-built men dressed in civilian clothes, forced him to drive them to the Mampang Police subprecinct and later, after the attack, also asked him to take them to Jl. T.B. Simatupang after the assault.

"It's only one kilometer away from the marine complex," the driver explained, referring to the Marine headquarters in Cilandak, South Jakarta.

Like in many cases allegedly committed by military personnel, the police refused to directly name the alleged suspects or their unit in this wild action.

South Jakarta Police chief Lt. Col. Edward Aritonang said: "We already have strong leads, but I still can not say which party committed the attack."

Separately, the Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Ibrahim Sadong said the corps had found no proof so far that its members had a role in the Mampang attack.

"We held an unannounced emergency roll call for all of our personnel right after I got a call from South Jakarta Police chief about the attack," Ibrahim said on Tuesday.

After checking all of the marine members at the Cilangkap base, he said, the force could not find any indication of involvement by their personnel in the attack.

However, Ibrahim was quoted by Antara as saying that his office would investigate the allegation further to help the police to solve the case.

Officer Edward explained that the mob attacked the Mampang Police headquarters on Jl. Pierre Tendean at about 8:20 p.m. on Monday shortly after most of the on-duty personnel had deployed for routine patrol around the area.

The three men -- Chief Corporal Sakino from the Mampang Police, Kamra (people's security) member Syarip, and Wanra (people's resistance corps) member Hasyim -- were seriously injured in the incident, he said.

Sakino, 45, was stabbed twice in his back and probably would have been more if the knife which was used had not stuck in his right lung, Edward said.

Syarip and Hasyim, who were having dinner at a street canteen not far from the police station, were stabbed several times in their backs and thighs, he added.

Sakino and Hasyim are being treated in the Intensive Care Unit at nearby Medistra Hospital, while Syarif is being treated at Sukanto Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta.

Besides storming the police building, the angry group also vandalized two cars including one police patrol car and one motorcycle parked in the building's compound.

Police sources told journalists minutes after the incident that the attack might be vengeance over a fight between a Matraman policeman and a Cilandak marine at Jimbani Cafe on Jl. Kemang Raya in South Jakarta in the early hours of last Thursday.

Edward explained that a Mampang policeman came to Jimbani Cafe in the wee hours to tell the manager to shut his business because the business hours of 1 a.m. had past as stipulated by the City Bylaw and to respect the birth of Prophet Muhammad to be celebrated by Muslims on that day.

Cilandak Marine Chief Private Soerya, who also worked at the cafe as a security guard, somehow got into a fight with the policeman, Edward said.

But the Thursday dispute had actually been settled, he added.

Manager of the cafe, Budiarto, told The Jakarta Post that he had no knowledge of the fight at the cafe on Thursday.

Separately, Governor Sutiyoso said he was unhappy with the attack at the police headquarters since Jakarta has been trying hard to uphold law supremacy. (08/06/asa)