Surrender ends Indonesia detention centre riot

  • ASEAN+
  • Friday, 11 May 2018

Breathing space: Police officers resting in an armoured vehicle parked outside the detention centre in Depok, West Java. — AP

JAKARTA: Dozens of prisoners who took over a police detention centre near Indonesia’s capital and killed five officers surrendered to police, the country’s top security minister said.

The riot erupted late Tuesday at the headquarters of the elite Mobile Brigade police in Depok, on Jakarta’s southern outskirts, where four days earlier authorities arrested three militants they accuse of planning to attack police.

Most of the prisoners surrendered before dawn yesterday following an ultimatum from security personnel, said Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Wiranto, who goes by one name.

About 10 inmates refused to give up but shortly were subdued when police fired smoke bombs and tear gas.

He said those involved were “detained terrorists”.

“They committed cruelty by seizing weapons, holding hostages, torturing and even killing the officers in cruel and vile manners, beyond the limits of humanity,” Wiranto said at a news conference.

He said inmates had controlled about 30 guns and weapons they took from officers and a store room.

Earlier, Deputy National Police Chief Muhammad Syafruddin said all 155 inmates were involved in the riot.

He said they took nine officers hostage and killed five of them, while another four were tortured.

The last hostage, a chief sergeant, was released just after midnight in exchange with food.

One inmate was killed, police said.

Syafruddin said the inmates would be moved to other penitentiaries, including the prison island of Nusa Kambangan off the southern coast of Java.

The Islamic State group’s Amaq news agency published a report after the riot broke out saying the melee was between its fighters and the counter-terrorism squad.

Those provoking the riot were about 30 to 40 inmates from Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a network of Indonesian extremist groups that pledges allegiance to Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, national police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said in an interview with local MetroTV.

Police have said the incident was triggered by a trivial disagreement about a delay in an inmate getting food from his family.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expresses gratitude to all security forces involved in the efforts to control the situation and restore security in the Mobil Brigade’s headquaters.

“I need to emphasise, the state and the whole nation are never afraid and will never give any room to terrorism and efforts that disturb the security of the country,” Jokowi said.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has carried out a sustained crackdown on militants since the 2002 Bali bombings by the Jemaah Islamiyah network that killed 202 people. — AP

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