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Angry mob kills man suspected of elementary school knife attack

  • Djemi Amnifu

    The Jakarta Post

Kupang | Wed, December 14, 2016 | 07:14 am
Angry mob kills man suspected of elementary school knife attack Survivors: Victims of an attack on Seba 1 elementary school in East Nusa Tenggara are treated at Seba Hospital on Tuesday. A man, identified as Irwansyah, reportedly attacked the students with a knife, leaving seven injured. The man was later killed after a mob broke into his cell at the local police station. (JP/Djemi Amnifu)

A man who allegedly attacked students of a state elementary school in West Sabu district, Sabu Raijua regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), on Tuesday was later killed by a mob at a local police station.

At about 11 a.m. local time, thousands of people attacked the police station, broke into the detention room and beat the suspect to death, said NTT Police spokesperson Adj. Sr. Comr. Jules Abast.

Drastically outnumbered, the 13 police personnel at the station were unable to stop the mob.

“The security condition in Sabu is once again peaceful as the people have returned to their homes,” Jules said, adding that security personnel would remain alert.

The alleged attacker, identified as Irwansyah, was arrested after the attack at state elementary school SDN 1 Seba in Sabu Raijua regency on Tuesday morning that left seven students injured.

Jules said no fatalities were reported in the incident but the seven injured students had to be admitted to the hospital for medical treatment.

The seven students were identified as Juniarto Ananda Apri Dimu, 11, Naomi Oktoviani Pawali, 10, Maria Katrina Yeni, 8, Gladis Riwu Rohi, 11, Dian Suryanti Kore Bunga, 11, Alberto Tamelan, 10, and Aldi Miha Djami, 11.

At the time of writing the seven students were all still in intensive care at Seba Hospital while the other students were sent home in anticipation of other incidents.

West Sabu Police chief Comr. Silfeston said Irwansyat earlier managed to escape after being arrested, but he was caught back by locals and taken to the West Sabu Police precinct. As of now, the police have not been able to find a possible motive behind the attack.

“The perpetrator has been identified as Irwansyah, 32, of Bekasi, West Java,” Silfeston said, adding that the perpetrator traveled around Sabu Island every day selling home appliances door to door. It is alleged that Irwansyah carried out the brutal attacks because of personal
problems.

“He entered the grade five classroom carrying a knife in his hand and went to the rear bench where Naomi sat,” he said, adding that he then sliced at her neck with the knife and proceeded to attack the students one by one.

He also confirmed that the police had examined seven friends of the perpetrator who were on board the Andhika Express ferry from Sabu to Kupang. The police had found no indication that they had been involved in the attack, he added.

The incident has sparked fears of sectarian and ethnic violence in the regency as the alleged attacker was found to be a Muslim migrant from Bekasi.

About 90 percent of the population of NTT are Christians.

The local chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) condemned the attack and called on NTT residents to maintain religious harmony and not be provoked by rumors surrounding the incident.

Chair of the synod of the Evangelical Church in Timor (GMIT), Merry Kolimon, also condemned the attack, saying that violence against children was violence against humanity.

“We ask the government and law enforcement bodies to make serious efforts to reveal [...] the motive behind the attack,” Merry said.

She also called on religious figures in the regency to maintain harmony and ensure that tolerance was preserved and justice demanded for all the children.

“Let’s wait for the right information from the authorities. Please, don’t spread information that will only worsen the situation,” she said, expressing hope that the wounded students would recover soon.

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