Following Deaths of Two Student Protesters in Indonesia, Six Police Officers Are Now Under Investigation for Carrying Firearms

The police said that five non-commissioned officers and one commissioned officer are suspected of mismanaging the protest.

by Rani Rahayu; translated by Yudhistira Agato
04 October 2019, 5:36am

Himawan Randi's funeral. Randi was a victim of police shooting during student protest in Kendari on September 26, 2019. Photo by Grace Santi/AFP

This article originally appeared on VICE Indonesia.

The investigation on the deaths of two college students from the Halu Oleo University in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi in Indonesia is still ongoing. This has sparked a probe on six local police personnel who allegedly violated procedures when they carried firearms while securing a protest in front of Southeast Sulawesi’s Legislative Council (DPRD) building, where the two students were at, on Sept. 26.

“We have conducted an investigation, and there are members who violated SOP, and we have stated these six personnels as suspects,” Police Chief Sr. Commissioner Hendro Pandowo told Detik.

The Profession and Security Division of the National Police has been conducting the probe since Wednesday, local news reported. According to the division's Brigadier General Pandowo, the six personnels are from Southeast Sulawesi Police and consist of five non-commissioned officers and one commissioned officer. They are part of the intelligence and criminal investigation agencies.

The National Police headquarters has sent out a special team to investigate the deaths of the two students, since the cases provoked public outrage. One of the victims was Himawan Randi, 21, a fishery student and member of the Muhammadiyah student association. His right chest was hit by a bullet during the protest, Detik reported. The other victim, also a protester, is Yusuf Kardawi, 19, who sustained a serious wound on the head after being assaulted with a blunt object.

After an independent doctor conducted an autopsy on Randi’s body, it was confirmed that the cause of death was a gunshot. The Ombudsman of Southeast Sulawesi found five bullets in a martabak (stuffed pancake) cart stationed near the crime scene.

Randi was shot in front of the BPR Bahteramas building on Abdullah Silondae St., around 600 metres away from Southeast Sulawesi’s Legislative Council building. Randi’s parents, La Sali and Wa Nasrifa, were shocked to find out about their son’s death. According to Detik, the family refuses to see the police until the perpetrator is arrested.

“Our family won’t see anybody until the police deliver the good news that the perpetrator has been identified,” said Ryfains, a spokesperson for Randi’s family.

They’re asking for a transparent and swift investigation into the cases.

“We need transparency, from the investigation process all the way to the trial,” Ryfains added.

The Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education, as well as the higher-ups of Halu Oleo University demand for the case to be resolved. The Student Alliance of Halu Oleo University went further and demanded for Kendari’s chief of police to be discharged. So far, the National Police has already discharged Brigadier General Pol Iriyantanto, who was previously the Head of Southeast Sulawesi Police, due to the poor handling of the protest.

Randi and Kardawi, along with hundreds of other University Halu Oleo students, were part of the youth rallies that protested against controversial amendments and additions to Indonesia’s laws. The movement succeeded in forcing the government to delay the ratification of some amendments, but it did not stop officials from passing a law that weakened the country’s anti-corruption body.

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