A clash broke out on Jl. Malengkeri in Makassar, South Sulawesi, late on Thursday between two student groups defending their respective regions, resulting in a fire at a student dormitory.
It was the first time such a clash took place at the Makassar Muhammadiyah University campus.
The clash reportedly occurred at 11 p.m. local time on Thursday, followed by the blaze at the dormitory at 2 a.m. local time (1 a.m. Jakarta time) on Friday.
A number of youths from Palopo city, South Sulawesi, allegedly set ablaze the dormitory housing 22 university students from South Sulawesi’s Bulukumba regency, according to Makassar Police chief Sr. Comr. Erwin Triwanto.
“The two groups of youths have been involved several clashes. They also repeatedly attacked each other’s dormitory. This [latest] attack was the climax,” Erwin told the press on Friday.
He said nobody was harmed in the fire, but all the students’ belongings were burned.
The latest clash is just one in a series of attacks that happened on May 12.
“We tried to prevent this incident from happening. [We stood guard at] the dormitory but they launched the attack after our officers had left,” Erwin said.
He said the police had arrested 34 people from Palopo and eight from Bulukumba from various clashes. Of the 42 people arrested, 15, all of whom are from Palopo, have been named suspects.
The police seized 10 handmade firearms (locally known as papporo), 71 arrows along with the bows, 29 sharp weapons and one sack of ammunition powder used in the papporo.
The police will charge the suspects under the 1951 emergency law on ownership, which carries a maximum 20 years’ imprisonment for owning firearms and a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment for possessing sharp weapons.
Erwin said the police were still investigating the case to find out the root cause of the problem and to prevent further clashes from recurring.
The police are also calling on the Bulukumba regency administration and the Palolo city administration for guidance in the matter. (mtq)