One inmate, five police officers killed in jail riot in Indonesia

Officers at Indonesia's police mobile brigade headquarters in Kelapa Dua, West Java province, securing the area yesterday. Inmates broke out of their cells and took control of parts of the maximum-security facility on Tuesday night, taking weapons fr
Officers at Indonesia's police mobile brigade headquarters in Kelapa Dua, West Java province, securing the area yesterday. Inmates broke out of their cells and took control of parts of the maximum-security facility on Tuesday night, taking weapons from a storeroom and holding officers hostage for hours.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Armed terrorist inmates hold officers hostage for hours in overnight clashes

A terrorist inmate and five anti-terror police officers were killed after a group of inmates held officers hostage, sparking clashes over-night at a maximum-security police lock-up outside Jakarta.

Another anti-terror police officer was still being held by armed terrorist inmates at about 6.30pm local time yesterday, and police were trying to negotiate his release. His condition was not known.

"Negotiations are ongoing. As part of negotiation tactics, we don't set a deadline. We hope to reach an agreement," the chief spokesman, Inspector-General Setyo Wasisto, told reporters at a 6pm press conference, some 20 hours after the clashes had broken out.

Insp-Gen Setyo said the inmates still had weapons they had taken from a storeroom in the facility.

The inmate who was killed was identified as Beni Samsu Trisno alias Abu Ibrahim Syamsurela. The 31-year-old was arrested last October in Kampar, Riau province.

Police deployed reinforcements from the military to the detention centre at the headquarters of the police mobile brigade (Brimob) in Kelapa Dua, an area in West Java province that borders Jakarta. The road outside the Brimob headquarters was blocked, while stores, restaurants and other business activities in the vicinity were told to close early for the day.

At around 10pm on Tuesday, a mob took control of parts of Brimob's detention facility, police said. At least six assault rifles and five pistols were taken from a storeroom used for confiscated items from past raids, a police source told The Straits Times yesterday.

HOSTAGE SITUATION ONGOING

Negotiations are ongoing. As part of negotiation tactics, we don't set a deadline. We hope to reach an agreement.

INSPECTOR-GENERAL SETYO WASISTO, speaking at a 6pm press conference yesterday, some 20 hours after the clashes broke out at the maximum-security facility.

The source said the mayhem was sparked when inmate Wawan Kurniawan, alias Abu Afif, a member of the Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) terrorist group, became furious that guards would not allow visiting family members to give him food on Tuesday. Brigadier-General Muhammad Iqbal, another spokesman, confirmed the clashes were triggered by a misunderstanding when officers required the meals to be inspected.

At around 8pm on Tuesday, Wawan incited other inmates to try to break free. A group of five to 10 inmates in a cell applied pressure on their cell door and managed to break it open. Most of them were supporters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

They then stormed into an interrogation room, where a female police officer was attending to a newly arrived inmate. They snatched her weapon and beat her up.

The group went into the storeroom for confiscated items and took the weapons there. They attacked other officers and held them hostage for hours.

Several inmates had mobile phones and posted videos of the stand-off on the Telegram messaging application. The mob, according to the police source, posted videos to several Telegram channels, including Selamat Dunia Akhirat, which translates as "stay safe on earth and in heaven", Al-Hujaraat and Ganti Presiden, or "change the president".

Police have started investigations to determine if they used mobile phones previously smuggled into the facility or took the phones of the officers held hostage.

The maximum-security lock-up currently houses radical Islamic cleric Aman Abdurrahman, the founder of JAD, whose ongoing trial is expected to see a verdict passed in the coming weeks.

Aman, who pledged allegiance to ISIS, was charged on Feb 15 with inciting others to commit various terror attacks in Indonesia, including an attack in Jakarta in 2016 that left four bystanders dead.

Former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is serving a controversial two-year jail term for blasphemy, is also being held in the facility.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2018, with the headline 'One inmate, five police officers killed in jail riot in Indonesia'. Print Edition | Subscribe