Zaky Pawas – Police have arrested 18 men following a fresh clash between two organizations with a long history of hostility, the Betawi Rempug Forum and the Pancasila Youth, police said on Tuesday.
Members of the two groups fought street battles in at least three locations in South Jakarta on Monday night, South Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Imam Sugianto said. A platoon of about 15 police were deployed to the sites, with the last clash taking place around midnight.
"The total number of people arrested stood at 18, from both groups," Imam said, adding that dozens of knives, machetes, golf clubs and even Molotov cocktails were confiscated from three locations.
Imam suspected that the violence was prompted by rivalries between members of the two groups, which have fought each other many times in the past.
Adj. Sr. Comr. Yossie Prihambodo, the operational head of the South Jakarta Police, said the Betawi Rempug Forum (FBR) held a rally in Pondok Aren and members then drove by Kebayoran Lama, which is considered Pancasila Youth (PP) turf.
"They then engaged in anarchic actions," Yossie said, leading to the first clash erupting on Jalan Raden Fatah in Ciledug, South Tangerang, around 4 p.m. on Monday. Hundreds of FBR members, carrying bamboo and wood sticks, then conducted a sweep to find PP members and in the process damaged an angkot (public minivan).
Yossie said the crowd then dissolved before later brawling and throwing rocks. Two people were injured in the violence, one from each side.
Ciledug Police chief Comr. Sukirman said the FBR crowd then moved from Ciledug to Cipulir, also in South Jakarta, where the men laid a PP outpost to waste. There was no one injured in that incident.
Police moved in and disbanded the mob, but they apparently moved on to near the Sudimara train station in Kerbayoran Lama, where they once again clashed with PP members. The violence finally came to an end around midnight.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Baharudin Djafar said police will no longer mediate between the two groups and vowed to act firmly against any future unrest caused by members of the factions. "We will not try to mediate the conflict anymore. We will pursue legal action from now on," he said.