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Killing strains ties between Police, military in Makassar

Jakarta Post - October 10, 2001

Makassar-Another police officer was killed in the city on Monday, further straining ties between the Provincial Police headquarters and the Military Command headquarters.

Second Brig. Charles of the provincial police headquarters was allegedly stabbed to death by First Private Darwis, a member of the combat unit of the military headquarters, in Losari coastal area on Monday night. According to witnesses, the incident occurred when the victim tried to reprimand Darwis, who was scolding a parking attendant at the scene.

Darwis, who was riding a motorcycle with two of his colleagues, took offense at the victim's approach. The two thenbecame involved in a fight. "The victim put up strong resistance but his feet slipped and he lost his balance, giving a chance for Darwis to stab him with his dagger several times," said a witness who asked for anonymity.

After learning of Charles's death, Darwis ran away and jumped into the sea to escape a number of police officers who arrived on the scene a few minutes later, he said.

Another witness said locals visiting the coastal area saw an interesting spectacle as police jumped into the sea to apprehend the suspect. Some bystanders punched the suspect. After being badly beaten, the suspect was brought to the Municipal Policeoffice for an intensive investigation.

Charles's death followed that of 2nd. Brig. Haris, who was allegedly killed by a soldier of the military headquarters last month.

Tension in the city mounted when eight officers of the military command's Military Police arrived at the Municipal Police office and ordered dozens of police officers then on duty to hand over the suspect. The Military Police officers left empty-handed.

Dozens of police personnel remain on high alert in the Municipal Police following spreading rumors that dozens of servicemen from the combat unit were prepared to take revenge for the eviction of Military Police officers from the police office.

Comr. Idris Kadir, head of the detective unit of the Municipal Police, said that police would continue monitoring the situation to avoid any unwanted incident that might result from the police officer's death and the eviction of the Military Police officers. "The police are still conducting a preliminary investigation into the case before the suspect is handed over to the Military police for further investigation. The Military Police should notmisunderstand the police's refusal to hand over the suspect, which is an attempt to avoid a wider conflict between local police and the military," he said.

He hoped the incident would not further damage the strained ties between the police and the local military and said it should be solved peacefully. He said that the police were deeply concerned with the incident because two police officers had been killed in less than 30 days.

Ties between the police and military have been deteriorating following two fatal incidents between the two sides over the last two months. On September 16, 2001, three civilians were killed and many others were injured in a gunfight between the Army Strategic Reserved Command's members and police personnel in the East Java town of Madiun. Previously, on August 27, 2001, two infantrymen were killed and two police staff were injured in a similar clash in the Irian Jaya town of Serui.