A former member of the now-defunct Free Aceh Movement (GAM) has been arrested in connection with Monday’s attack on former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf, Aceh Police said on Saturday.
“[The assailant] admitted that he was a former member of GAM
and that he knew Pak Irwandi, but said that he was not a member of Aceh Party,”Aceh Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Gustav Leo said over the phone on Saturday.
The Aceh Party (PA) is a local political party made up of former Aceh separatists.
Irwandi told police that he was attacked and repeatedly struck on the head after the inauguration ceremony of Aceh’s new governor Zaini Abdullah and his deputy Muzakir Manaf — both members of the Aceh Party.
The former governor alleged that he was beaten by former GAM members who considered him a turncoat for running as an independent against Zaini in the 2012 gubernatorial election.
The alleged assailant, identified by police as “M.,” told police that he attacked Irwandi because he was disappointed with the former governor’s actions while he was in office, Gustav said.
M. told police that he attacked Irwandi at the ceremony simply because he saw an opportunity to work out his frustration with the former governor, Gustav said.
Irwandi, who moved to Malaysia after the attack, has been critical of the Aceh Police, saying that officers have failed to arrest others involved in the attack because they are afraid of the Aceh Party.
“The Aceh Police chief has said the case of my beating has been solved with the arrest of one of the perpetrators, and the police chief said [the perpetrator] was just a regular civilian. This is not acceptable,” Irwandi said in a letter to National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo and cc-ed to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Gustav denied the accusations.
“In law enforcement we need witnesses and evidence, we cannot base things on mere suspicions,” Gustav said. “As proof [that police are not afraid of the Aceh Party], the National Police’s anti-terror unit Densus 88 is now investigating 10 murder cases involving activists and supporters of the Aceh Party.
“This is because the Aceh Police have been busy securing the local elections [and the ensuing inaugurations].”