Cablegate: Police and Soldiers Clash in Central Maluku: Three Dead
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0016 0360938
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050938Z FEB 08
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0152
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0072
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0074
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0139
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0157
UNCLAS SURABAYA 000016
DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, INR/EAP, DRL/PHD, INL, S/CT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PREL ID
SUBJECT: POLICE AND SOLDIERS CLASH IN CENTRAL MALUKU: THREE DEAD
REF: JAKARTA 217
This message is Sensitive but Unclassified. Please protect
1. (SBU) According to police and media contacts, early Saturday
morning, February 2, a group of Indonesian armed forces (TNI)
soldiers from the 731 Kabaresi infantry battalion in Central
Maluku attacked local police offices in the city of Masohi on
the island of Seram. After an exchange of gunfire that lasted
six hours, two policemen and one soldier were dead and three
policemen injured. The soldiers reportedly used combat rifles
and grenades, burned nine police barracks, and destroyed the
official residence of the Police Chief of Central Maluku.
2. (SBU) According to the Pattimura Military Commander, the
incident was triggered by a misunderstanding. Reportedly, after
a dispute with his girlfriend, a TNI soldier from the 731
Kabaresi infantry battalion failed to return to his barracks.
After rumors circulated that he was being detained by police,
his colleagues decided to attack the local police station to
secure his release. No civilians were involved in the clash.
3. (SBU) Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu, the Pattimura
Military Commander, and the Maluku Provincial Chief of Police
(Kapolda) traveled to Masohi to take control of the situation.
On February 4, TNI soldiers and police officers met in a tearful
reconciliation ceremony at a sports stadium in Central Maluku.
The Military Commander expressed his apologies to the Kapolda
and pledged to help rebuild the burnt residences and other
facilities. As of February 5, all contacts tell us that the
situation is Masohi city is "back to normal."