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Jakarta Post

Thirteen police officers questioned over deaths of student protesters in Kendari

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, October 1, 2019   /   04:50 pm
Thirteen police officers questioned over deaths of student protesters in Kendari Face to face: Students try to break through a police line to get into the legislative complex in Central Jakarta on Sept. 24. The students were protesting the Criminal Code bill, which many consider a threat to democracy. (JP/Narabeto Korohama)

The National Police’s internal investigation team is questioning 13 police officers after a demonstration in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, resulted in the deaths of two students from Halu Oleo University last week.

As part of the probe, the team also confiscated 13 firearms from the officers, National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said. 

“[The team] has questioned 13 police officers who possessed the firearms. The findings will be reviewed by newly inaugurated Southeast Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Merdisyam,” he said on Monday, kompas.com reported.

The team found three bullets, he said. The bullets are currently undergoing ballistic examination and Indonesia Automatic Finger Print Identification System (Inafis) testing at a forensic lab in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

As part of the investigation, the new police chief will also communicate with the local government and related institutions, such as the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Southeast Sulawesi Ombudsman, Dedi added.

Southeast Sulawesi Ombudsman head Mastri Susilo said two of the bullets were discovered in different locations, namely in a street vendor’s cart on Jl. Abdullah Silondae, Kendari, and in the thigh of a pregnant woman named Putri.

“We [South Sulawesi Ombudsmen] do not yet know where the third bullet was found. But the police have combed the crime scene and found three bullets and three bullet casings,” he said on Monday, kompas.com reported.

He explained that the 13 police officers were questioned for allegedly failing to follow police protocol in their handling of protesters that gathered in front of the Southeast Sulawesi Legislative Council (DPRD) building on Thursday. 

Two Halu Oleo University students died after taking part in the protest that ended in clashes between the police and protesters. 

A student identified as La Randi died on Thursday afternoon after succumbing to what police have confirmed were gunshot wounds after being shot by an unidentified perpetrator, while another student, Muhammad Yusuf Fardawi died on Friday morning after undergoing surgery for severe head injuries.

Jokowi has since called for an investigation into their deaths and ordered National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian to probe the entire police force.

Moreover, the investigation team has asked the police’s internal affairs division to inspect the coordination team in charge during the incident, as well as examine the police’s procedures for handling the demonstration.

The 13 police officers are being detained at the police’s headquarters while the probe is completed. (sau)