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Matraman witnesses commonplace brawl JAKARTA - Hundreds of angry Kebon Manggis and Pal Meriam residents of Matraman, East Jakarta, strung arrows, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at each other, and exchanged stick blows on Thursday over a sudden stabbing of a man who incidentally got off a bus in their area.

No fatalities were reported, but six were injured. Two residents suffered wounds from air rifle shots, two sustained head injuries, and one man was struck by an arrow on his cheek. Matraman Police chief Capt. Bambang Hadipurnomo said on Thursday the brawl occurred due to an unrelated incident.

"A Mampang resident of South Jakarta, Nanang, got off the public bus 916, which serves the Tanah Abang-Kampung Melayu route, in front of the Surya Padang restaurant, near Jl. Tegalan, at about 2 p.m... the Pal Meriam side," Bambang said. "He got down, and eight people surrounded him... one man stabbed him. Others grabbed his wallet and left." Nanang was rushed to the Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital, but some ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers managed to chase after a fleeing suspect.

"The suspect disappeared somewhere in Berlan, in the Kebon Manggis area," Bambang said. After that, Pal Meriam and Kebon Manggis residents just came out with their machetes, rocks, arrows, sticks and air rifles and started aiming at one another. Less than 100 officers from East Jakarta Police, the Matraman Police, the Jakarta Police and the Military Police, were seen in the area standing by and watching. "What can we do? We do anything crazy, the residents will aim at us," Bambang said.

East Jakarta Police could not send for reinforcements, since its personnel were deployed in Duren Sawit, to watch over the possibility of another protest by City Tap Water Company (PDAM Jaya) employees, and in the area of the paint factory PT Danapaint, on Jl. Pemuda in East Jakarta. The paint factory's empty warehouse, which was filled with chemicals, was burned down on Thursday morning in unclear circumstances.

Separately, East Jakarta Police Chief of Detectives Capt. Agus Irianto said on Thursday that police had yet to find the source of the fire, which burned down the factory's warehouse, containing chemicals and basic materials to manufacture paint, at 8:50 a.m. on Thursday.

"It happened when the factory workers were all on a holiday in Yogyakarta," Agus told reporters. A warehouse security guard Suryanto said there were only three guards when the incident happened, namely Sumarmo, Amir Machmud and himself. "Sumarmo was the first to notice the smoke, coming out from the locked warehouse. We tried to get help, but in a very short time, the fire became very big. We were frantic when we heard the loud bursts of the chemical drums inside the warehouse," Suryanto said.

"Local residents came to help put out the fire... the fire was quite enormous by the time the 19 fire engines from South Jakarta, East Jakarta and North Jakarta arrived." The fire was put out in an hour's time.



Posted in Violence @ 02 June 2000 09:37 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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