Indonesia: Family of Suspected Militant Killed by Police Seeks Probe

Ronna Nirmala
200713_ID_terrorism_1000.jpg A team of Indonesian special police take a suspected militant into custody in Bekasi, West Java, Oct. 13, 2019.

The family of a suspected Indonesian militant who was fatally shot by police while allegedly resisting arrest on Monday urged the National Commission on Human Rights to investigate the events that led to his death.

Police said they used deadly force against the suspect, Ikhsan Abdullah, because he resisted arrest and attacked officers with a sharp weapon.

The 22-year-old, whom police said was a member of the Islamic State-affiliated Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) militant group, was shot by anti-terrorism officers in the Sukoharjo regency of Central Java province on Friday. Ikhsan was taken to a hospital and died of his injuries a day later, said Inspector Gen. Argo Yuwono, national police spokesman.

Argo said police took “decisive and measured” action after Ikhsan tried to stab them with a knife.

Endro Sudarsono, the secretary of the Islamic Study and Action Center (ISAC) Muslim advocacy group, said Ikhsan’s family had not been notified formally by police about his arrest.

“We will ask Komnas HAM (the National Human Rights Commission) to investigate the circumstances that led to Ikhsan’s death,” said Endro, a lawyer representing the family.

Endro said police had told Ikhsan’s family that he was shot in his right thigh and abdomen. The lawyer cast doubt on police claims that Ikhsan was wielding a knife, saying he was riding a bicycle at the time.

“The shot to the stomach cannot be called measured because it was deadly. If they had taken measured action, they could have shot him in the legs,” Endro said.

Komnas HAM member Beka Ulung Hapsara said the commission planned to look into the complaint.

“Komnas HAM is ready to follow up on complaints from families by investigating this case and asking for information from the parties,” Beka told BenarNews while urging police to respect human rights even as they pursue suspected terrorists.

Argo said Ikhsan’s arrest was tied to an investigation into the June 21 knife attack that wounded Karanganyar deputy police chief Busroni and his aide. A former convict identified as Karyono Widodo was shot and killed by police.

Argo said Ikhsan, Karyono and three other suspects - whom police identified only by their initials, IS, Y and W - belonged to the JAD network and participated in a plot to attack a police station in Lampung province on Sumatra island. The other three suspects were arrested this month.

Karyono had been released last year after serving a three-year sentence for his role in the January 2016 gun and bomb attack in central Jakarta’s business district that killed eight people, including the attackers. The attack was the first claimed by IS in Indonesia.

Tinombala probe

Police and Komnas HAM in Central Sulawesi province, meanwhile, are investigating the deaths of three young people who were shot and killed in two separate incidents in April and June in Poso regency, allegedly by police taking part in Operation Tinombala.

Police withdrew 12 members of the Tinombala task force to Jakarta to be questioned as part of the investigation, the state-run Antara news agency reported last week. National police spokesman Awi Setiyono told the news agency that the officers had followed procedure.

Previously, officials said 41 Tinombala members had been questioned about the shootings, but no suspects had been named.

A joint task force established in 2016, Tinombala’s mission is to hunt down, capture or kill members of the Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT), a pro-IS militant group.

National police chief Idham Azis announced he was extending Tinombala, which was to expire at the end of June, through Sept. 30. Government forces killed MIT’s leader, Santoso, in 2016, but about a dozen members remain.

Meanwhile, Komnas HAM reported more than 110 suspected militants were shot and killed by police as of 2017.

While it did not release figures on killings since then, security analyst Zachary Abuza reported more than 280 suspected militants were arrested in 2019. In addition, more than 200 were arrested in the second half of 2018 after bombings at churches and police headquarters in Surabaya in May of that year.


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