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Outraged people torch police station in West Java

Antara - September 1, 1997

Garut – An outraged group of people torched a police station in Pameungpeuk, Garut, some 200 km south of Jakarta, on Sunday evening.

Head of Priangan police Colonel Sukamto could not give the details on the incident, saying it is still being probed.

Some local people who were at the police station said they did not know the motive of the group.

Witnesses said a number of angry people from Mancagahar village, some 2.5 km from the site, gathered the Pameungpeuk police station at around 19:30, local time, and suddenly threw cocktail bombs to the station.

Deputy Police Chief Lt Gen Luthfi Dahlan in a press conference in Jakarta Monday said the incident was instigated by a rumor on the murder of a local low-ranking police officer by a colleague.

"The rumor is of course untrue. The truth is that he (the officer) was killed accidentally during a routine shooting exercise last Friday (Aug 28)," Dahlan explained.

The officer was killed when a bullet exploded in the barrel.

Apparently, he did not realize that an unexploded bullet remained in the barrel when he was reloading his riffle.

Dahlan expressed his deep concern on the incident and pledged to investigate it thoroughly.

He said he would also launch a study on why people are easily provoked by issues now.

No casualty had been reported from the incident, however Dahlan declined to comment on how many people have been detained following it. He said he is still waiting for the reports from Garut and stressed that the investigation is still underway. Meanwhile, West Java Police Chief Maj Gen Chaeruddin Ismail in Bandung on Monday told the press that so far five suspects have been arrested.