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Widow of Mistaken Militant Demands Justice

Banda Aceh, TAG. Kamaruddin approached his wife and told her that he would go out and try to catch fish for their next meal. What Laili Fajri didn’t know was it was the last time she would ever see him alive.

Kamaruddin was killed on the night of Feb. 22, when he was shot by police officers who mistook him and three others for paramilitary trainees. 


On Tuesday, Laili filed murder and brutality complaints against the Aceh Police.
Speaking to reporters, Laili, 28, said she has been unable to cope with her family’s loss. 


“I haven’t stopped crying,” said the mother of two — Muhammad Rajihul Anfasa, 7, and Naila Syahira, 15 months. 


“I can’t stop thinking about him and my children. My son keeps asking me where his father is and I don’t know what to say to him.” 


Kamaruddin, 37, was with three others at the time of the incident: Abdul Majid, 40; Wahyu, 14; and Suheri, 14. 


Majid, head of Lamleupung village, said they had been headed to Krueng Lintang River when they encountered men in civilian clothes and carrying rifles. 


“The men asked us where were going, and we said we were going to fish in the river,” Majid said, adding that he wasn’t sure whether the strangers were police officers. 


Majid said he and his companions headed home at around 10 p.m., carrying with them their catch. 


Riding their motorcycles, Majid said he heard gunshots followed by another round of fire, then a group of police officers told them to stop. 


“I didn’t know at what point Kamaruddin and [Suheri] got shot. I just heard one of them saying, ‘I’m hit,’ and Suheri crying out in pain,” Majid said. 


“There were 12 of them, the officers. I saw Suheri was shot in the leg, while Kamaruddin was shot in the chest and the leg. The police asked us who we were. I said we were going home after we had fished in the river. They asked if we had seen armed men and I said ‘yes.’” 


The police transported the wounded men to the hospital in Jantho, where Kamaruddin died. 


Hospi Novizal Sabri, a representative of the Banda Aceh Legal Aid Foundation, which is providing lawyers for Laili’s case, said the police were liable for Kamaruddin’s death. 


“This was a clear case of police brutality,” Hospi said. “They were careless and their carelessness cost the life of Laili’s husband.” 


Laili said she would seek justice for Kamaruddin’s death. 


“I demand that those who killed my husband be punished. My husband was innocent,” she said. “He was a victim of a wrongful shooting and all he wanted to do was find food for us.” 


National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang said on Tuesday that at least 13 people have been arrested by antiterror police for conducting paramilitary training activities as part of an armed group in the forested regions of Aceh Besar. 


Edward said those arrested originated not only from the resource-rich province of Aceh but also Jakarta, Riau and Central Java, among other provinces. 


“We seized three rifles and about 8,000 bullets from these 13 men,” Edward said, refusing to provide more details. 


The night Kamaruddin was killed, police arrested at least four suspects in Aceh Besar. 


One of the suspects was identified as Yudhi Zulfahri, 27, an Acehnese resident. His parents told the Globe a day after the arrest that police had not informed them about their son’s arrest.[]
Widow of Mistaken Militant Demands Justice Widow of Mistaken Militant Demands Justice Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on March 03, 2010 Rating: 5

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