Seven Soldiers Charged Over Fatal Brawl at Yogya Cafe

BY :ARI SUSANTO

JUNE 05, 2015

Solo. The Military Police announced on Friday that they have charged seven members of Army’s Special Forces Command for their involvement in a brawl that killed one Air Force officer.

“We have named seven officers, but the probe is not yet finished,” said Col. Arief Wibowo, chief of the Military Police detachment at the Diponegoro Military Command, which oversees operations in Central Java and Yogyakarta.

Arief said all suspects are from the Army’s special forces command, Kopassus.

The military police initially charged five Kopassus officers, but as the investigation widened, two more suspects were named.

Sgt. Major Zulkifli, 39, died at a hospital in Sukoharjo, Central Java, in the early hours of Monday after he and three other Air Force personnel were attacked by a mob of more than a dozen men from a local Kopassus unit.

The incident took place at a karaoke parlor on Sunday evening. One of Zulkifli’s peers is still unconscious in hospital, while the two other Air Force members have been released from hospital.

There were no reports of injuries from the Army side.

The charges dismiss an earlier claim by Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Wuryanto who said the Air Force members were involved in a fight with civilians, and the Kopassus soldiers were trying to break up the fight.

“We expect to solve this case immediately and bring [the case] to military court,” Arief said, adding that the Military Police has quizzed a total of 23 witnesses.

Meanwhile, Second Lieutenant Teguh is still in intensive care at the Hardjolukito Air Force Hospital in Yogyakarta.

The hospital’s director Benny Tumbelaka said Teguh is suffering from severe cerebral concussion from the injuries he sustained.

Chief security minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijanto has dismissed concerns of brewing tensions between branches of the Indonesian Armed Forces, or TNI, playing down the recent murder of an Air Force officer by Army personnel as “juvenile delinquency.”

While TNI members have often been involved in fights with police officers since the separation of the police force from the military in the late 1990s, rivalries between members of different branches of the TNI are uncommon.

Three members of the same Kopassus unit were found guilty three years ago of the murder of four drug detainees at the Cebongan prison in Sleman, Yogyakarta.

They stormed the prison and gunned down the detainees in cold blood because the latter had allegedly killed one of their colleagues who was also involved in a brawl.

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