Yulia Savitri, Palembang – A college student has died during basic training for members of a university paramilitary group (Menwa) in Palembang, South Sumatra.
The victim was identified as 19-year-old Muhammad Akbar, a second-year student at Taman Siswa Palembang University (Unitas). The training itself, located at Tanjung Senai village in Indralaya district, far from the victim's college, was a joint training exercise with students from Palembang Muhammadiyah University.
After a series of practice drills, Akbar reportedly suffered a cramp on Wednesday at noon and was taken to a hospital in Ogan Ilir.
However, he passed away before he was able to receive intensive treatment for his injury. His body was then taken to Bhayangkara Police Hospital in Palembang for an autopsy. His family had the body sent back to their home in Semarang Borang for a funeral service.
South Sumatra Menwa commander Rano Karno said there were four students from Unitas who participated in the training, including Akbar. He claimed the one-week training was only meant to introduce new members to concepts regarding the paramilitary group. "There was no physical abuse [during the activity]," Rano said.
However, Ogan Ilir Police chief Sr. Cmr Imam Tarmudi said the police were investigating the possibility of physical abuse in relation to Akbar's death. He said the victim's family had filed for a physical abuse case to be opened.
"We are still collecting statements from witnesses while we wait for the autopsy result to learn about his death," Imam said.
He further said that the forensics department at Bhayangkara Hospital suspected that Akbar was a victim of assault, as bruises were allegedly found across his body.
Separately, Unitas rector Joko Siswanto confirmed that Akbar was one of the university students who joined the training. However, Joko said the training was not a university activity.
"The university was not involved in the event's management," Joko said, adding that the campus allowed the group to join the training because it was organized annually.
"Such an incident had never happened before. That's why we allowed them to take part in it." (dpk)