Jakarta – Six members of the Army Strategic Reserves Command (Kostrad) and two members of the Gorontalo Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) were injured on Sunday in what appears to be the latest in a line of clashes between personnel of the two institutions.
Of the eight injured, four suffered from gunshot wounds, Antara news agency reported.
The incident began in front of the Gorontalo regency General Elections Commission (KPU) office in Gorontalo Province in the early hours of Sunday morning, as a group of Brimob members were patrolling in a truck. An unidentified group of people suddenly pelted the truck with stones and bottles.
Two of the Brimob members suffered head injuries and were treated at Dunda Limboto Hospital. They were named as Chief Brig. Asrul Sani and First Brig. Saripudin.
Not long after, several bursts of gunfire were heard as a number of Brimob members engaged in a sweep of the area. Four men, later identified as Kostrad members, suffered gunshot wounds.
An Indonesian Military (TNI) source named the four as Apriadi who was hit in his back and knee; Firman who was hit in the arm and chest; and Yanris and Tiflif who received ankle and thigh wounds, respectively. All the soldiers hold the rank of second private.
Two other TNI members, also second privates, suffered stab wounds. They were named as Rahim who was stabbed in the arm, and Adrian who suffered a head wound. The source gave no information as to why the clash had occurred.
As of Sunday afternoon, Brimob officers were seen guarding their headquarters in Isimu district, Gorontalo regency.
TNI spokesman Rear Adm. Iskandar Sitompul confirmed that the clash had occurred and that the TNI would launch an investigation into the incident. "There was a clash in Gorontalo. It will be investigated further," he said.
Iskandar said that any disciplinary measures against soldiers involved in the clash would be handled by Kostrad. "The institutions should know better about proper disciplinary measures; it will be up to them," he said on Sunday.
National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. M. Taufik said the cause of the dispute between the police and TNI personnel remained unknown, and that the police were still investigating the incident.
"Our personnel had to fire rubber bullets to paralyze the soldiers as they were resisting the raid," he said. "The soldiers even tried to chase our injured personnel on their way to hospital," he said.
Clashes between soldiers and police officers have taken place recurrently, especially since the separation of the two institutions in 2000.
Since then, TNI officers have had less access to "extra financial resources" than their peers in the police, as businesses turn to them for protection following a law that defined the police as the country's sole law enforcement authority.
Before the separation, the TNI also had the authority to enforce the law and detain people, even without a trial.
A recent spate of motorcycle-related violence in North Jakarta also allegedly involved members of the two institutions, although this has not been officially confirmed. In relation to this violence, two soldiers were injured from shots fired by unidentified gunmen on Jl. Pramuka, Central Jakarta early this month.
In December last year in Medan, North Sumatra, a soldier and an officer from the North Sumatra Police were also injured in a clash involving TNI and police officers. It was recorded as the third case that year in the region.
A number of police personnel were previously involved in a clash with soldiers in North Sumatra during a raid on a gambling den.
The raid, in Medan in April the same year, a police officer was injured after being hit with a wooden beam by an individual believed to be a soldier, who apparently tried to interfere in the raid. (fzm)
Police vs soldiers
Dec. 12, 2011: A TNI officer and a member of the North Sumatra Police are injured in a clash. The incident is triggered by a minor traffic accident.
April 2011: Dozens of police officers clash with members of the TNI in Medan, North Sumatra. The clash occurred during a police raid on a gambling den.
July 4, 2010: TNI officers attack Muaraenim Police station in South Sumatra.
Aug. 17, 2010: Dozens of soldiers attack the Siantar Police station in Pematang Siantar, North Sumatra.
June 7, 2009: An officer from Megangsakti Police station in Musi Rawas regency, South Sumatra shoots dead a soldier during a police raid at a night spot.
Sept. 5, 2009: Dozens of unidentified men mob the Matraman Police station on Jl. Matraman Raya, Central Jakarta, hurling stones and flower pots. Matraman Police chief Comr. Kasworo says that the incident arose after police arrested soldiers in a motorcycle-theft case.