Mon, 17 Sep 2001

Two die, 15 injured in police-military clash in Madiun

SURABAYA (JP): Two civilians were killed and 15 others were injured during a fierce clash between members of Infantry Battalion 501 of the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) and police officers in Madiun, East Java, on Saturday night.

Acting spokesperson for the East Java Police, Comr. Penny Handayani, confirmed the clash on Sunday, adding that five police stations, two buildings, including the police hospital in Madiun, and several vehicles were also destroyed.

Quoting police intelligence sources, she identified the victims as M. Adi Nugroho and Adi, two students at SMU 5 senior high school in Madiun, a town some 170 kilometers southwest of here. They were shot during the clash.

Comr. Penny said the clash started when Second Lt. Azis, a member of the Military Police at Infantry Battalion 501, Navy Second Lt. AM Jeremy and Military Police Second Insp. Tatit Muji Widodo became involved in a heated argument with two men on a motorcycle, who were members of Infantry Battalion 501, at a gas station.

"The three lieutenants are friends and they got upset when the two men on the motorbike ignored all the vehicles lining up for gas and cut in front of their car. A heated quarrel erupted between the three officers and the two men," she said.

All the officers were out of uniform.

"Suddenly, other members of Infantry Battalion 501, who happened to be in the area, rushed to the aid of the two officers when the fighting began. Outnumbered, Second Insp. Tatit fired a warning shot, but the military men were not deterred."

An eyewitness said that one of the military men was shot in the leg as he tried to grab the gun from Tatit's hand.

The brawl led to an attack on Madiun Police station and other stations in the area. About 300 members of Infantry Battalion 501 ransacked the police stations as police officers tried to resist, she said.

Some policemen, including Adj. Brig. Sutaryin, Adj. Brig. Aris, Chief Brig. Syamsul Hadi, Adj. Brig. Sumardi and Second Insp. Sunarto, First Brig. Andri and First Brig. Trisna, were taken to hospital for gunshot wounds.

"The attack was at midnight. Most of the policemen were seriously injured," Penny said.

The first attack was followed by a second raid about an hour later.

More than 50 Army members on motorcycles, along with civilians, returned to Madiun Police station. The officers in the station fired warning shots in a bid to stop them but the warning shots were ignored.

"The two students were allegedly shot during the second clash. Some members of Infantry Battalion 501 were also injured in the second attack," said Penny.

Reports indicate that two Infantry members were seriously injured, one member of the National Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) suffered stab wounds to his head and four teenagers were shot during the second attack. The two victims could have been killed during the second attack, said Penny.

Last April police and Navy officers clashed in the West Java town of Cirebon, following the escape of a detainee with a crewcut.

Dozens of Navy officers from KRI Krakatau warship, which was anchored at Cirebon Port, retaliated after a group of officers from the Cirebon Police attacked a Navy officer. No fatalities were reported.

Less than a week later in Jayapura, Irian Jaya, a Mobile Brigade officer, Second Brig. Dani Pamungkas, was shot dead after he attempted to stop a brawl involving local youths.

Also in Irian Jaya, a policeman was shot dead during a struggle with members of the Indonesian Military (TNI) in Nabire. Antara did not name the victim and no information was available on what triggered the clash.


In Jakarta, spokesman for the National Police Brig. Gen. Didi Wijayadi said on Sunday that the National Police Headquarters deeply regretted the incident in Madiun.

"All police detachments are on top alert. No police officers are allowed to leave without good reason or permission from their superiors," Didi said.

"The National Police chief has promised to take tough measures against police officers who were found to have violated regulations. This is in line with an agreement between the National Police chief and TNI chief Adm. Widodo AS, and those that are found guilty will be strictly punished."

Asked to comment on the policemen's involvement in the brawls, Didi said, "We cannot generalize policemen. Those were just (individual) cases."

Penny, who was in Madiun on Sunday, said the situation was gradually returning to normal there.

She said that the total loss had not been calculated yet, but the Madiun Traffic Police suffered more than Rp 50 million in losses due to damage done to five cars and six other vehicles in the attack. (emf/sur)