Tue, 26 Sep 2000

Two more suspects arrested for JSX bombing

JAKARTA (JP): National Police chief Gen. Suryo Bimantaro revealed on Monday that two more suspects had been arrested over the bombing of the Jakarta Stock Exchange building.

At least one of the suspects is believed to be a military officer.

The two add to the 25 earlier arrested in connection with the bombing.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri, Suryo said the two were arrested in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung.

He quickly stressed, however, that the military as an institution was not involved in the bombing.

"(The military) was not institutionally involved ... but we arrested two individuals in Bandung."

When asked whether the two were from the elite Army's Special Force (Kopassus), Suryo said: "I haven't checked which unit, but they are from Pidie, Aceh".

A source at the Jakarta Police said on Sunday that one of the two was a member of Kopassus.

Suryo added that the police were still unable to fully interrogate the two as one of them was recuperating from a gunshot wound sustained during the arrest.

A source at the Bandung Police said later in the day that only one of the two could be confirmed as a military member.

The source said the two were identified as Irwan, a 30-year- old Kopassus sergeant and Ibrahim Abdul Manaf, 32, a civilian.

They were arrested at the Permata Hotel on Jl. Surya Sumantri on Sunday afternoon and Irwan was shot as he tried to flee from the police, the source said.

Irwan is currently being treated under tight guard at the Sartika Asih Hospital in Bandung.

The police source also said that the two admitted that they surveyed the stock exchange building three days before the bombing on Sept. 13 to decide where they would plant the bomb.

It was Irwan, however, who carried out the plan on Sept. 13, the source said.

Commenting on growing doubts over whether the 25 suspects were the actual perpetrators, Suryo said on Monday the police "would not make an arrest unless we are sure".

"The arrests were not only based on our belief but also based on the facts we obtained from weeks of investigation," he said.

He said police were still unable to find evidence that former president Soeharto's youngest son Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra was involved in the bombing.

"From what we have right now, the investigation still cannot be directed at Tommy, but we are continuing the investigation," Suryo said.

A fortnight ago, President Abdurrahman Wahid ordered police to arrest Tommy "to prevent stock exchange-like incidents from happening again".

Meanwhile, in North Aceh on Monday, spokesmen for the separatist Free Aceh Movement (GAM) Abu Sofyan Daud and Ayah Muni flatly denied suggestions that the rebel group was involved in the incident.

"GAM members aren't responsible for the spate of bomb attacks in Jakarta and there is no connection between GAM and those bomb attacks," Abu Sofyan said.

In addition to the blast at the stock exchange building, there have been several other bombings recently, including a car bomb explosion outside the Philippine ambassador's residence, which killed two people.

Some of the blasts have coincided with major developments in the corruption case against Soeharto and many have speculated that the attacks were the work of his supporters and elements of the security forces opposed to Abdurrahman's administration.

The accusation has been denied by Soeharto's family and lawyers. (25/50/byg/lup)