Soldiers 'admit killing inmates'

Military says killing of suspects in prison was revenge
Members of a Special Forces unit have admitted to the killing of four inmates in a prison in Yogyakarta province last month, according to military investigators.

Masked gunmen allegedly broke into Cebongan prison on March 23 and shot dead four men suspected of killing a soldier from the Special Forces Command (Kopassus).

The killings caused an outcry, with many believing the attack was an act of revenge carried out by the dead soldier's colleagues.  

“The perpetrators admitted their guilt immediately when investigators questioned them on March 29,” the head of the investigation team, Brigadier General Unggul Yudhoyono, told reporters at a press conference yesterday in Jakarta.

There were 11 soldiers involved. One committed the killings and the others secured the perimeters, he said.

“They decided to carry out the attack in response to what they said was the sadistic and brutal killing of their corps member,” General Yudhoyono said.

On March 19, Sergeant Heru Santoso was allegedly killed by the four suspects during a brawl in a café in Yogyakarta.

Following their arrest they were transferred to Cebongan prison where the attack took place a few days later.

The four victims were all from East Nusa Tenggara province.

Lawyer Johnson Panjaitan later urged the Indonesian army reevaluate itself in light of the lack of control and air of impunity the attackers displayed in their alleged act of revenge.

“The integrity of our military is marred by the incident,” he told ucanews.com. “Indeed, a member of Kopassus died. But retaliation shows that members of Kopassus can kill anyone, any civilian who irritates them,” he said.

Military spokesperson Rear Admiral Iskandar Sitompul said the soldiers who admitted to the attack would receive the appropriate punishment.

“Don’t doubt the integrity of a military court,” he said.

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