The brawl between some members of the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police officers was allegedly triggered by an incident that took place during an attempt to raid a suspected illegal fuel-storage facility at a housing complex in Batam, Riau Islands.
Riau Islands Police chief Brig. Gen. Arman Depari said a group of police officers from the General Crime Directorate General asked for support from the National Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) to conduct a raid at the suspected location.
"When they arrived at the location it was crammed with residents, including members of the TNI. The police reportedly fired a warning shot when they were about to place a police line at the crime scene," he told The Jakarta Post at Embung Fatimah Hospital in Batam on Monday.
Arman was visiting four members of the Army from Battalion 134 Tuah Sakti who were shot by police during a brawl that happened after the attempted raid.
He said some Army members who were bothered by the presence of the Brimob during the raid later went to the Brimob's headquarters, which is located near Batallion 134 Tuah Sakti. The brawl occurred shortly after they arrived at Brimob headquarters.
Meanwhile, commander of Wira Pratama military command post (Korem) 033 Brig. Gen. Bujang Zuirman confirmed that the Army members were at the suspected fuel-smuggling location and that they were irked by the warning shots.
"Our members went to Brimob [headquarters] because they were offended by the warning shots. They aren't involved with oil smuggling," he said.
Bujang said the four members of Batallion 134 Tuah Sakti who were shot in their thighs during the brawl were chief Pvt. Eka Basri, First Pvt. Eko, First Pvt. Ari and First Pvt. Hari. "This [brawl] was caused by a misunderstanding," he said.
The National Police and the Army both dispatched an internal investigation team to Batam. Both pledged to take stern action against the misconduct of their members. "The team will investigate whether violations took place," Arman said.
Four Army members shot during brawl at Brimob headquarters in Batam on Sunday The police and the military deploy a joint team to investigate the brawl
According to eyewitnesses, a physical altercation occurred before the Army members were shot. An eyewitness said the situation was very tense when the shots were fired.
"I left my shop because I was afraid. The situation calmed after the military police arrived on the scene," Khatab, a stall owner, said.
The situation at Embung Fatimah Hospital was also tense as it was guarded by military personnel.
Some members of the House of Representatives also paid a visit to the Riau Islands Police headquarters to discuss the matter behind closed doors.
Arman said the police would continue investigating the oil-smuggling case although they had yet to name any suspects or confiscate any evidence in the case.
Brawls between the military and police have occurred several times in the past.
Clashes between TNI and police
Nov. 19, 2013: Soldiers from the Army Infantry Battalion (Yonif) 305 stormed members of the Brimob guarding a protest in front of the Karawang regent's office. Six Brimob personnel sustained injuries in the attack.
March 7, 2013: Almost a hundred soldiers from a training center in Baturaja, Ogan Komering Ulu (OKU), South Sumatra, attacked police offices in connection with the killing of a soldier in January. Four police officers and a janitor were injured; at least 70 motorcycles and nine cars were also damaged during the incident.
April 22, 2012: Six members of the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) and two members of the National Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) are injured in a clash in Gorontalo.
Dec. 10, 2011: A soldier from the Indonesian Military (TNI) and personnel from North Sumatra Police are injured in a traffic accident.
April, 2011: Dozens of police officers clash with members of the TNI in Medan, North Sumatra, when police raid an illegal gambling den.
July 4, 2010: Two members of the police, one TNI soldier and five civilians are injured when 30 TNI members ransack three police posts in Muara Enim, South Sumatra.