Alleged hitman in Jakarta plot blames ex-army general

Former Army Strategic Reserve Command chief Kivlan Zen has denied the accusation. The unrest in Jakarta last month followed the announcement by the elections commission that Mr Joko Widodo had won the presidential election over Mr Prabowo Subianto.
The unrest in Jakarta last month followed the announcement by the elections commission that Mr Joko Widodo had won the presidential election over Mr Prabowo Subianto.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
Former Army Strategic Reserve Command chief Kivlan Zen has denied the accusation. The unrest in Jakarta last month followed the announcement by the elections commission that Mr Joko Widodo had won the presidential election over Mr Prabowo Subianto.
Former Army Strategic Reserve Command chief Kivlan Zen has denied the accusation.

Kivlan Zen named as mastermind of plan in which four state officials were targeted

A hitman allegedly hired to assassinate four high-profile state officials during riots in Jakarta last month has named former army general Kivlan Zen as the mastermind of the plot in an interview with Indonesia's leading news magazine Tempo.

The officials targeted were Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto; Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan; State Intelligence Agency chief Budi Gunawan; and Presidential Intelligence and Security Adviser Gories Mere.

None of the men was hurt.

Mr Iwan Kurniawan, one of the suspects apprehended, said the murder plot was hatched during a casual discussion at a restaurant in North Jakarta.

Major-General (Ret) Kivlan Zen, former chief of the Army Strategic Reserve Command and a close ally of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, has denied the accusation. "I'm not aware of it," he said at the police's criminal investigation agency on May 29, according to Tempo.

He is, however, in custody because of offences over illegal arms and treason in conjunction with "people power" rallies held last month to call for Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin to be disqualified from the presidential race.

Mr Iwan told Tempo that the initial assignment was to kill a publicist of Mr Joko's, and he was surprised to be given the other four names. "Hearing the names of the targets soon got me shaking," he was quoted as saying.

Mr Iwan claimed he had tried to avoid Maj-Gen Kivlan so that he would not be asked to lead the assassination plan.

 
 

The alleged plot, aimed at destabilising the country, was first exposed by the national police on May 28 after they arrested six suspects who they said were linked to the riots.

The unrest followed the announcement on May 21 by the elections commission that Mr Joko had won the April 17 election over his old rival, Mr Prabowo.

Eight people died and more than 700 were injured.

The national police said the street violence was a deliberate and coordinated strike, planned through WhatsApp.

Former general Wiranto, who also goes by one name, said "paid thugs" received between 200,000 rupiah (S$19) and 500,000 rupiah to foment unrest.

Among the rioters were domestic militants loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said the police.

According to news reports, Maj-Gen Kivlan was reported to the police last month by Mr Jalaludin - a resident of Serang, Banten - for spreading false news.

Maj-Gen Kivlan was formerly a politician with the United Development Party, which now supports Mr Joko.

The retired general was a senior of Mr Prabowo's at the Military Academy in Magelang, Central Java, and was on his presidential campaign team in 2014, though not this year's.

His lawyer Muhammad Yuntri has rejected Mr Iwan's account and said that his client did not order the assassinations. "It doesn't make sense for Pak Kivlan to arrange a murder plot against national figures," the lawyer was quoted as saying by Tempo.

National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo could not be reached immediately for comments.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2019, with the headline 'Alleged hitman in Jakarta plot blames ex-army general'. Print Edition | Subscribe