Agents paid to kill, probe shows

INDONESIA IN TRANSITION

People were paid to kill protesters on Friday to undermine the military’s credibility, an investigation reveals.

INVESTIGATIONS into the bloody crackdown by the Indonesian armed forces on Friday showed that there were “operatives” on the ground killing people with live bullets not issued by the military.

Gangsters were also being paid 20,000 (S$4.60) to act as agent provocateurs in the demonstration that led to at least 11 people being killed and hundreds injured in the capital.

A well-connected source told The Straits Times yesterday that the “operatives” were taking orders from an undisclosed “third party” who wanted to further undermine the military’s credibility.

A more specific aim was to dislodge Abri chief General Wiranto from his position for failing to control the violence.

The source said that it was plausible for pockets of two to three agents to have blended in with thousands of demonstrators.

The agents were aided by gangsters who were expected to instigate the masses and invite troops to fire, thus allowing the armed operatives to strike.

“In the chaos, all they needed to do was to kill a few people and many would naturally assume the military is responsible,” he said.

He argued that ballistic tests by the police showed that bullets used in the killings were not issued by Abri.

They were of a different make and size.

The autopsies of the dead victims also indicated that they were shot at long range.

Security officers, he disclosed, had rounded up several gangsters in East Jakarta.

During interrogation, they confessed to having been paid 20,000 rupiah to take part in the massive demonstrations on Friday and Saturday.

He said that they were asked to invite other gangsters to the protests.

Their brief: To pit Abri against the masses.

There were reports that former Jakarta Governor, retired Marine General Ali Sadikin was picked up from his home here by police yesterday night in connection with a subversion probe, friends and family members said.

He is the fifth prominent opposition figure to be taken in by police for questioning since Saturday.

Earlier yesterday, retired army General Kemal Idris and former political prisoner and political party leader Sri Bintang Pamungkas were taken in for questioning at police headquarters.

The first to be taken in on Saturday were head of the University Indonesia Alumni Association Hariadi Dharmawan and Roh Basuki Mangunprojo of the National Reform Movement.

The two were released early yesterday after being interrogated for hours, also on suspicion of subversion.

Another man, Mr Roch Basuki, of the National Reform Movement, was arrested on Friday near the Parliament complex for allegedly trying to incite violence, legal aid workers said.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s official Antara news agency said yesterday that Jakarta police had detained several people in connection with looting and arson, but no students were included.

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