Gang Watfare in Jakarta’s Streets

Jakarta Police deployed 250 officers in an all out pursuit of a
motorcycle gang believed to be behind a series of attacks
this week which left two people dead and four more
seriously injured. (Antara Photo/Iggoy el Fitra)

The Jakarta Police and military have deployed 250 officers in an all-out pursuit of a motorcycle gang believed to be behind a series of attacks this week that left two people dead and at least nine more seriously injured.

“There are between 150 and 200 perpetrators using dozens of motorcycles,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said on Friday, adding that based on witness reports, the group’s members were wearing yellow ribbons on their left wrists and were armed with wooden clubs and machetes.

Police suspect that some gang members might be members of the Indonesian Navy, he said, adding that the death last month of enlisted Navy Seaman Arifin Sirih, 25, may have been responsible for setting off the violence.

Last Saturday, one person was killed and three injured outside a gas station near Lake Sunter in North Jakarta. On Sunday, five people were injured in an attack in Kemayoran. Both attacks were believed to be retaliation for Arifin’s murder, Rikwanto said.

Early on Friday morning, in an unprecedented rampage, the gang attacked seven different locations across Central and North Jakarta.

At 1.30 a.m., the gang set upon a group of youths near the Tanjung Priok port in North Jakarta. Two area security guards identified as Zaenal Arifin and Heri Susanto were badly injured.

A local police station was the next stop, where 10 minutes later the mob stabbed a bystander, 17 year-old Nachrowi, who was standing just 30 meters from the station. Nachrowi is now in critical condition at the Koja State Hospital.

The group also attacked Ramdani, 20, who suffered lacerations on his head and left arm, before they rolled out to another location where they left Tohirman Awidodo, 25, badly bruised with injuries to his face and head.

Thirty minutes later, they attacked a group of youths at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Salemba, Central Jakarta. Two teenagers, Ade Kirmawan and Robi, were injured while three motorcycles were destroyed.

The carnage did not stop there. The gang attacked two passersby on Jalan Pramuka in Central Jakarta at 3 a.m. Hendi Aharyanto was stabbed while Anggi Darmawan, 19, suffered several blows to her head and died later at the hospital without ever regaining consciousness.

Two alleged gang members were shot at 2:30 a.m. on Jalan Pramuka by unidentified assailants using a Toyota Yaris car. Witnesses said the car fled the scene, speeding off to Rawasari before entering the toll road in Rawamangun, East Jakarta. Police identified the two who were shot as Second Pvt. Akbar Fidi Aldian and Seaman Sugeng Riyadi.

Navy spokesman Rear Adm. Untung Surapati confirmed that both men were members of the Navy but declined to comment on whether the two were involved in gang-related activities.

“When it comes to crime, we’ll leave it to the police,” he said.

Rikwanto said police were coordinating with the Navy’s military police unit to track down the gang members and determine the motive for the attacks.

A source close to the case said Arifin had indeed been a member of the gang and was killed by the rival Yagen gang, based in Cilincing, North Jakarta.

“They have been wanting to avenge his death,” the source told the Globe. Police are on high alert for possible retaliatory attacks by the Yagen gang.

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