Indonesia launches its first air raid on Malaysia

Indonesia staged its first air attack on Malaysia during the Confrontation or Konfrontasi, when it sent two bombers to a remote highland settlement in Pa' Umor, Sarawak, with machine guns blazing.

No casualties were reported at the longhouse settlement of 200 Kelabit tribespeople, where the attack took place.

The Mitchell bombers appeared over the settlement at around 1.15pm on Sept 1, 1965, and started strafing the village and padi fields. Villagers young and old fled to safety in the jungle.


It wouldbe amad man’swork to take awaythe British base in Singapore – the only defencewehave against Indonesian aggression.

MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN,speaking to reporters after a combined defence council meeting in Kuala Lumpur that included Singapore representatives. Uncertaintyhad arisen over the base after Singapore’s separation from Malaysia

Royal Air Force fighters were immediately scrambled, but could not find the Indonesian planes.

The military authorities in Sarawak said the Indonesian raid had absolutely no military value, and was meant to boost the morale of the Indonesian forces, which had been badly beaten in their incursions elsewhere in Sarawak.

A Malaysian Ministry of Defence spokesman said Indonesian planes had violated Malaysian airspace many times in the previous two years, as Indonesia demonstrated its opposition to the formation of Malaysia, but the raid on Sept 1 was the first air attack.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 30, 2015, with the headline 'Indonesia launches its first air raid on Malaysia'. Print Edition | Subscribe