The chief of the South Sumatra Police, the National Police’s supervision inspector and the head of the police’s internal affairs division (Propam) are leading an internal probe into the handling of a protest in the Musi Rawas district that left four civilians dead, an officer announced on Wednesday.
“The South Sumatra police chief arrived at the scene yesterday [Tuesday] to conduct on-site checks. The supervision inspector and the head of [Propam] are also present to assist with the investigation process,” Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto, a spokesman for the National Police, said.
The presence of the three high ranking police officers were at the order of National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo, according to Agus.
Agus added that evidence is being collected “because in the process of safeguarding protests, live ammunition shouldn’t have been allowed. Rubber bullets, if fired from a short distance, can also wound people.”
Four civilians were slain and 13 people were wounded, including five members of the police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob), after Monday’s demonstration. The protest, in favor of the creation of a new district, North Musi Rawas, included the blocking of parts of the trans-Sumatra highway.
The crowd burned two patrol cars and set the Rupit police office and that of the neighboring Karang Dapo police station ablaze.
Agus added that it was still unclear how the four civilians died.
”The enforcement of the law should not violate the law. The use of firearms should be to immobilize, not kill,” he said.
He mentioned that some of the protesters carried blades and homemade firearms.
Seven of the wounded were civilians injured by gun shots, while another was injured by a blunt instrument. The five police officers injured mostly suffered from wounds after having acid thrown at them.
“I do not yet have any data on the number of civilians questioned, but what is clear … is that both sides will monitor the development of the creation of North Musi Rawas and the investigation of the shooting,” Agus said.