Endangered Tiger Kills Indonesian Farmer, Injures Tourist

 

An endangered Sumatran Tiger has mauled to death an Indonesian farmer and seriously injured a domestic tourist, a conservation official said Monday.

The fatal attack happened Sunday at the farmer’s coffee plantation on Sumatra island where the 57-year-old wrestled with the big cat before it killed him, according to Genman Hasibuan, head of the South Sumatra conservation agency.

“The farmer was attacked while he was cutting a tree at his plantation,” he told AFP on Monday.

The mauling came a day after the same tiger attacked a group of Indonesian tourists who were camping at a local tea plantation in South Sumatra’s Mount Dempo region.

One of the tourists was rushed to hospital for wounds to his back after the cat stormed into his tent, Hasibuan said.

The animal, which remains loose in the protected-forest area, is believed to be one of just 15 critically endangered tigers in South Sumatra, which has seen five tiger attacks this year, including two fatal incidents, Hasibuan said.

Human-animal conflicts are common in the vast Southeast Asian archipelago, especially in areas where the clearing of rainforest to make way for palm oil plantations is destroying animals’ habitats and bringing them into closer contact with people.

In March last year, a man was killed by a tiger in Sumatra’s Riau province while several months earlier a tiger also killed a plantation worker in the area.

Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with 400 to 500 remaining in the wild.

 

AFP

One Dead, Six Injured In Suicide Bombing At Indonesian Police Station

 

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a police station in Indonesia on Wednesday, killing himself and wounding six others, according to authorities who described the 24-year-old attacker as a “lone wolf”.

The motive for the attack was not immediately known, but police stations have been frequent targets for radicals in the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy.

The blast happened around 8:45 am local time (0145 GMT) at the police compound in Medan on Sumatra island during morning roll call.

“For now, we believe he was a lone wolf,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told reporters in Jakarta.

“The anti-terror squad and forensics unit are still examining the crime scene,” he added.

READ ALSO: At Least 7 Killed In Kabul Car Bomb Blast

At least six people were wounded in the blast, including four officers and two civilians, but their injuries were not severe, he added.

The attacker — whose identification listed him as a student — wore an explosive device on his body, but Prasetyo did not say what kind of bomb was used.

A bloody corpse lying in the compound’s parking lot appeared to have been blown apart.

Police said the attacker was active on social media, while CCTV footage showed him entering the compound wearing a uniform worn by drivers of a popular ride-hailing service.

The attack came a day after Indonesia launched a website that lets the public report “radical” content posted by government workers, including material that promotes hate or intolerance.

The Southeast Asian nation of some 260 million has significant numbers of religious minorities — including Christians, Hindus and Buddhists — who have been targeted by radical Islamist groups amid concerns about rising intolerance.

Police stations have also been a frequent target of militants, some of whom have called for the pluralist country to become a strict Islamic state.

In August, authorities shot and arrested a militant who attacked officers at a station in Indonesia’s second-biggest city, Surabaya, while in June another was seriously wounded when he tried to blow himself up outside a police building on Java island.

Last month, Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered beefed-up security after two militants from an Islamic State-linked terror group stabbed his chief security minister.

He survived the attack, which led to the arrests of dozens of terror suspects.

The attackers were identified as members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an extremist network loyal to IS and responsible for several previous attacks — including deadly suicide bombings at several churches in Surabaya last year.

10 ‘Unlawfully Killed’ In Indonesia Election Riots

Indonesian security personnel gesture as they secure a street in Jakarta on October 20, 2019, as President Joko Widodo is inaugurated for his second five-year term. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo was sworn in for a second term on October 20, as helicopters flew overhead and troops kept watch in the capital Jakarta — days after Islamist militants tried to assassinate his top security minister. PHOTO: GOH CHAI HIN / AFP

 

Ten people, including several teenagers, were killed in Indonesia’s post-election riots, the human rights commission said Tuesday, as it accused police of beating up protesters.

In its final report on the May riots, the agency Komnas HAM said four victims were underage and most had been shot in the capital Jakarta and demonstrations in Kalimantan, Indonesia’s section of Borneo island.

Indonesia’s rights commission called on police to find the perpetrators, who it suspected were “actors trained, organised and professional in using guns”. It did not elaborate.

“This is a tragedy,” commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara told AFP.

“These are unlawful killings — or killings that took place outside legal mechanisms — and that violates the criminal code,” he added.

The commission said it did not suspect authorities were behind the shootings.

But it accused police of using unnecessary force against protesters, including minors.

“The police used violence against children who joined the rally (in Jakarta) during which they said that they were beaten and kicked when arrested,” according to the report.

A Jakarta police spokesman declined to comment, saying that authorities had yet to see the agency’s report.

Supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto took to the streets after Indonesia’s Joko Widodo won re-election in the world’s third-biggest democracy.

Police detained some 465 people during two nights of street battles that paralysed central Jakarta, leaving hundreds injured, the rights agency said.

Also Tuesday, police on the island of Sulawesi said a half dozen officers had been slapped with three-week suspensions for bringing guns to protests last month in Kendari city, where two students died.

“They (the officers) were found guilty of not following orders by bringing firearms” to the rally, said Southeast Sulawesi police spokesman Harry Goldenhardt.

The force did not accuse officers of killing the students.

The pair died amid nationwide protests against a host of divisive legal reforms, including banning pre-marital sex and weakening the anti-graft agency.

Hundreds were injured in the demonstrations with police also accused of brutality against protesters.

AFP

Indonesia Marks Bali Bombings Anniversary

 

Dozens of mourners on Saturday commemorated the 17th anniversary of the Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people on the Indonesian resort island, as Islamic militant attacks continue to plague the country.

Grieving families and representatives from several embassies laid flowers and lit incense sticks at a memorial in the popular tourist hub Kuta, where radical Islamists detonated bombs in 2002.

A candlelight vigil was also being held to mark the country’s deadliest terror attack and remember the 202 victims — mostly foreign holidaymakers from more than 21 countries.

Local militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) was blamed for the bombings, which took place at two popular nightspots, which accounted for all the victims, and the US consulate.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation, has long struggled with Islamist militancy and on Friday President Joko Widodo ordered beefed-up security measures to help prevent further attacks.

The intervention followed Thursday’s assassination attempt on chief security minister Wiranto, a 72-year-old former army chief, by two militants from an IS-linked group.

Last year suicide bombers from the same IS-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) detonated explosives in three churches in the country’s second-largest city Surabaya, killing more than a dozen people.

Suspected IS Radical Stabs Indonesian Security Minister

 

A suspected IS radical stabbed Indonesia’s chief security minister Wiranto as he was stepping out of a vehicle Thursday, leaving two deep wounds in his stomach and injuring three others in the attack, officials said.

Television images showed security officers wrestling a man and a woman to the ground outside a university in Pandeglang on Java island after the attack on the 72-year-old, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

“Someone approached and attacked him,” National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo, adding that the couple had been arrested.

Berkah Hospital spokesman Firmansyah said the former military general suffered “two deep wounds” in his stomach and may need surgery, but was conscious and in stable condition.

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Wiranto was later rushed by helicopter to the capital Jakarta.

The other three victims — a local police chief and two aides — had non-life threatening injuries, the hospital said.

The suspects were identified as 31-year-old Syahril Alamsyah and Fitri Andriana, 21. Police said Alamsyah had been “exposed to ISIL radicalism”, without elaborating.

It was not immediately clear if either were members of one of the dozens of radical groups that have pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation.

The attack comes just over a week before President Joko Widodo kicks off a second term after his April re-election.

In May, police said Wiranto and three other top officials were targeted in a failed assassination plot linked to deadly riots in Jakarta after Widodo’s victory.

A group of six people — arrested before they could carry out the killings — planned to murder the officials and an election pollster in a bid to plunge the country into chaos, police said at the time.

Wiranto, the former chief of the armed forces and a failed presidential candidate, is a major figure in Indonesian politics.

He has long been accused of human-rights violations and for crimes against humanity linked to violence following East Timor’s 1999 independence referendum.

Indonesia Slapped With FIFA Fine Over Match Crowd Trouble

FIFA Bans Ex-Zambian Football Chief Bwalya Over Bribery Allegations
File

 

Indonesia’s national football association has been fined by FIFA over crowd trouble during a World Cup qualifier against Malaysia, the organisation said Wednesday.

The Football Association of Indonesia was slapped with a $45,000 sanction over the chaos in Jakarta last month, when Malaysian fans were threatened and pelted with projectiles during the visiting side’s 3-2 win.

Malaysia’s visiting youth and sports minister Syed Saddiq had to be evacuated from the match as violence broke out, sparking a formal apology from his Indonesian counterpart.

“PSSI respects the legal process and FIFA’s decisions,” the association’s secretary general Ratu Tisha Destria in a Wednesday statement, adding that changes were being made so violence “will not happen in the future”.

An qualifier match against Vietnam slated for next week has been moved from Jakarta to holiday island Bali to avoid similar crowd problems.

It also came after the PSSI said earlier this year that Indonesia and Australia were in preliminary talks about making a joint bid for the 2034 World Cup.

The incident marked another black eye for football in Indonesia, where the professional league has been tarnished by a host of problems, including match fixing scandals and deadly hooliganism.

AFP

At Least 20 Killed, Dozens Injured In Papua Unrest

Indonesian activists protest against the government’s proposed change in its criminal code laws in Bandung on September 23, 2019. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo on September 20 called for a delay in passing a new law that would outlaw gay and pre-marital sex after the controversial plan sparked a public outcry.
Timur Matahari / AFP

 

At least 20 people were killed and dozens more injured as fresh unrest erupted in Indonesia’s restive Papua region Monday, with some victims burned to death in buildings set ablaze by protesters, authorities said.

Papua, on the western half of New Guinea island, has been gripped by weeks of violent protests fuelled by anger over racism, as well as fresh calls for self-rule in the impoverished territory.

Sixteen people were killed in Wamena city where hundreds demonstrated and burned down a government office and other buildings, authorities said.

“Most of them died in a fire,” said Papua military spokesman Eko Daryanto.

“The death toll could go up because many were trapped in burning kiosks,” he added.

Among the victims, 13 were non-Papuans and three were Papuans, Daryanto said, adding that a soldier and three civilians also died in provincial capital Jayapura, where security forces and stone-throwing protesters clashed Monday.

The soldier was stabbed to death, while three students died from rubber bullet wounds, authorities said, without elaborating.

About 300 people were arrested in connection with Monday’s protests, Daryanto said, adding that about 65 people had been injured.

The clashes in Papua had quietened down in recent days, but flared up again as hundreds took to the streets — and houses and stores went up in flames.

Monday’s protests in Wamena — mostly involving high-schoolers — were reportedly sparked by racist comments made by a teacher, but police have disputed that account as a “hoax”.

Indonesia routinely blames separatists for violence in Papua, its easternmost territory, and conflicting accounts are common.

Demonstrations broke out across the region and in other parts of the Southeast Asian archipelago after the mid-August arrest and tear-gassing of dozens of Papuan students, who were also racially abused, in Indonesia’s second-biggest city, Surabaya.

 Insurgency 

A low-level separatist insurgency has simmered for decades in Papua, a former Dutch colony after Jakarta took over the mineral-rich region in the 1960s. A vote to stay within the archipelago was widely viewed as rigged.

Earlier Monday, authorities said the situation had been brought under control in Wamena, while an AFP reporter there said Internet service had been cut.

“Security forces have also taken steps to prevent the riots from spreading,” said National Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo.

The airport in Wamena was shut Monday with some 20 flights cancelled due to the unrest, local media reported, citing an airport official.

Indonesia has sent thousands of security personnel to Papua to quell the recent unrest, and dozens were arrested for instigating the earlier riots.

At least five demonstrators and a soldier were killed, but activists say the civilian death toll is higher.

Last week the military said a toddler and teenager were among three people killed in a gunfight between security forces and independence-seeking rebels.

AFP

 

Indonesia Deploys 6,000 Troops To Battle Forest Fires

This handout picture taken on September 17, 2019 shows Indonesian President Joko Widodo inspecting the damages from the ongoing forest fires in Pekanbaru.  AFP

 

Indonesia is battling forest fires causing toxic haze across southeast Asia with aircraft, artificial rain and even prayer, President Joko Widodo said during a visit to a hard-hit area Tuesday.

Forest fires are raging on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, sending a choking fug across the region — including towards neighbours Malaysia and Singapore.

During a visit to Riau province in central Sumatra Tuesday, Widodo said nearly 6,000 troops had been sent to hot spots to help put out fires.

“We have made every effort,” he said.

As well as firefighters on the ground, dozens of aircraft were being used to seed clouds and bomb blazes with water, he said.

“We have also prayed,” he added, after a visit to Amrulloh Mosque in Pekanbaru.

The toxic smoke caused by deliberate burning to clear land for plantations is an annual problem for Indonesia and its neighbours, but has been worsened this year by particularly dry weather.

Authorities on Monday said they had arrested nearly 200 people suspected of being involved in activities that led to the out-of-control fires.

Four corporations were also being investigated, authorities said.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meteorological agency said Tuesday the number of hotspots had stabilised, but a thick haze continued to cloak the region.

On Borneo island, which Indonesia shares with Malaysia and Brunei, pollution levels were “hazardous”, according to environment ministry data. Hundreds of schools across Indonesia were shut.

In peninsular Malaysia, the met office and air force were working together to seed clouds with chemicals in the hope that rainfall would clear the haze.

But hundreds of schools were closed Tuesday, affecting more than 350,000 students.

Air quality was at “unhealthy” or “very unhealthy’ levels in many parts of peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak state on Borneo, officials said.

Air quality improved in Singapore and was in the “moderate” range after slipping to “unhealthy” levels over the weekend, officials there said.

AFP

Two-Headed Serpent Spotted In Indonesia

A rare two-headed snake is seen in the palm of a person’s hand in Tabanan, on the resort island of Bali on September 5, 2019.  OKA WIDIARTANA / AFP

 

Residents of a village in Bali got a shock when they spotted a two-headed snake in their midst — a rare find in the wild.

The reptile was seen slithering in the central part of the Indonesian holiday island last week.

“When I got home from work, I parked my motorbike next to the snake,” said local resident Gusti Bagus Eka Budaya.

“I looked more closely and it turned out to have two heads. I was shocked.”

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A video shows several children gathered around the tiny serpent — small enough to fit in the palm of a human hand — as it slides about a banana leaf decorated with a traditional Balinese Hindu offering.

It was not clear what kind of snake it was or whether it was venomous.

Experts have previously been quoted as saying that two-headed snakes rarely occur in the wild and have usually been bred in captivity.

AFP

Indonesia Shuts Internet Over Unrest Fears

Papuan students taking part in a rally push toward a line of police and military blocking them in front of the army’s headquarters in Jakarta on August 22, 2019, as riots and demonstrations have brought several cities in Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua to a standstill this week.
PHOTO: BAY ISMOYO / AFP

Indonesia has blocked internet access in unrest-hit Papua over fears that a stream of offensive and racists posts online will spark more violent protests in the region, the government said Thursday.

Riots and demonstrations brought several Papuan cities to a standstill this week, as buildings were torched and street battles broke out between police and protesters in Indonesia’s easternmost territory.

A rebel insurgency against Jakarta’s rule has simmered for decades in the island region, which shares a border with Papua New Guinea.

But the riots appear to have been triggered by the arrest of dozens of Papuan students — who were also pelted with racist abuse — in Java at the weekend.

Indonesia slowed internet service in recent days to clamp down on hoaxes, provocative comments and racist abuse targeting Papua’s ethnic Melanesian population. But it shut down service completely late Wednesday.

“As of this morning, there is still a full block on internet access,” communications ministry spokesman Ferdinandus Setu told AFP.

“The amount of racist and provocative content online was very high… and it went viral.”

The region’s three internet providers cooperated with the shutdown, but many users managed to get around the block, Setu said.

“The restrictions have not been that effective,” he added. “We’re still evaluating the situation… and will probably lift the block by this afternoon if possible.”

Calm appeared to have been mostly restored Thursday after Indonesia sent in 1,200 extra police and military to Papua, with some 45 protesters reportedly arrested.

Indonesia’s chief security minister Wiranto, who goes by one name, flew to the island late Wednesday with the head of the military and Indonesia’s national police chief.

They were expected to hold a press briefing Thursday in riot-hit Manokwari city.

In Jakarta, more than 100 demonstrators calling for Papuan independence scuffled with police near the presidential palace, while dozens of placard-holding demonstrators protested in Bali’s capital Denpasar.

The unrest was sparked by reports that authorities tear-gassed and briefly detained some 43 Papuan university students in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-biggest city, on Saturday — the country’s independence day.

Police in riot gear stormed a dormitory to force out students who allegedly destroyed an Indonesian flag, as a group of protesters shouted racial slurs at them, calling them “monkeys” and “dogs”.

Papua has been the scene of a decades-old rebel insurgency aimed at gaining independence from Indonesia, which took control of the former Dutch colony in the 1960s.

Security forces have long been accused of committing rights abuses against Papuans who say they have not shared in the region’s vast mineral wealth.

AFP

Indonesia Police Shoot Suspected Militant After Station Attack

 

Indonesian authorities said Sunday they shot and arrested a suspected militant who attacked police officers at a station in the country’s second-biggest city.

The incident in Surabaya on Saturday — Indonesia’s independence day — came as the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation is on high alert for attacks by local groups sympathetic to the Islamic State.

A 30-year-old man walked into the station and said that he wanted to make a report, according to police.

“Then he suddenly took out a sickle and started slashing the officer on duty,” East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told AFP on Sunday.

The officer, who sustained wounds to his head, face and hand, was recovering in hospital while another who intervened was lightly injured, police said.

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The wounded suspect was an “IS sympathiser”, they added.

“We haven’t determined which group he may be affiliated with,” Mangera said.

“He just said he wanted to commit jihad.”

A surge in Islamist-inspired attacks in the past decade has dented Indonesia’s reputation for religious tolerance.

Last year, Surabaya was rocked by a wave of suicide bombings carried out by families — including a nine and 12-year-old girl — who attacked several churches, killing a dozen congregants.

Indonesia, which has detained hundreds under tougher anti-terror laws, is also grappling with how to reintegrate returning IS jihadists and their relatives as the extremist group’s caliphate lies in ruins.

Seven Killed In Indonesia Ferry Accident

 

Seven people, including two children, were killed and four others missing after a ferry carrying dozens of passengers caught fire off Indonesia’s Sulawesi island early Saturday, a police officer said.

The ferry, heading from Southeast Sulawesi to an island in Central Sulawesi, caught fire shortly after midnight.

“Suddenly there were sparks in the engine and fire quickly spread to other parts of the boat,” local police spokesman Harry Goldenhard said in a statement.

Police suspect the fire was triggered when the diesel tank exploded.

It was unclear how many people were aboard the vessel at the time.

The passenger manifest listed 50 but rescuers and locals recovered 61 survivors while seven people, including two children aged two and four, were found dead.

A search has been launched for four passengers reported missing.

Marine accidents are common in Indonesia, an archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands, where many use ferries and other boats to travel despite poor safety standards.

Ferry operators often sell illegal tickets, exceeding the allowed capacity.

More than 160 people died when a passenger ferry sank in one of the world’s deepest lakes on Sumatra island last year.

In 2009, more than 300 people are estimated to have drowned when a ferry sank between the islands of Sulawesi and Borneo.