A journalist was assaulted and threatened by Pattimura 16 Cavalier Military Command officers while covering the New Year's Eve celebration early on Tuesday.
Ambon Independent Journalists Alliance (AJI) leader Insany Syahbarwaty said in a press release on Tuesday that the incident occurred when kompas.com contributor Rahman Rahmat Patty and other journalists were covering the New Year's Eve celebrations on Jl. Pattimura in Ambon at 12:30 a.m.
Insany said the journalists saw dozens of military personnel, later identified as being from Pattimura Cavalier Military Command, chase someone who allegedly assaulted a child of a soldier stationed with the unit at Pattimura Park.
The soldier’s pursuit of the perpetrator, allegedly member of the Maluku Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob), caused chaos and panic among bystanders near the park, Insany added.
Insany said the soldiers got mad when Rahman and other journalists followed them and photographed the incident. They asked Rahman to delete the pictures he had taken.
One of the officers, identified as Chief Sergeant Abdullah, threatened to hurt Rahman unless he deleted the photos.
"Hey, delete those photos or I'll kill you!" Insany said, quoting Abdullah’s demand.
Rahman beaten and kicked by other officers although he had deleted the photos, Insany said.
According to Insany, the military officers also threatened Molluka TV reporter Yani Loupatty and nearly confiscated her video camera.
Insany said Abdullah had apologized to Rahman for the assault but the journalist insisted on filing a report for the incident.
Rahman underwent a medical examination he, escorted by AJI Ambon, filed a report with Military Police.
Members of the press were assaulted by military personnel several times last year. (cor/iwa)