|Parmo (centre) dan Azwar Khaili (right). Photo: thejakartapost/oyos saroso hn|
JAKARTA–Victims of the bloody 1989 Talangsari incident in Central Lampung have demanded that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo instruct one of his advisors, Gen. (ret.) Hendropriyono, to reveal the truth of what happened in Talangsari.
Azwar Khaili, 76, one of the victims, claimed that he had not been a member of the hard-line Warsidi group, which was accused of attempting to establish an Islamic state, and yet his house and store had been burned down by the Army.
Furthermore, his son, Warsito, who was only 11 years old at the time, lost his life in the incident.
Azwar said he had been informed by a resident that Warsito, who had been climbing a tree, had been shot by soldiers, who then dragged him into a house and set it on fire.
“Our legal status has been unclear for years. We are still considered rebels and our sons and daughters face difficulty whenever they apply for jobs,” he said on Thursday.
He said the Yudhoyono administration had been a big disappointment because it had not delivered justice to the victims during its 10 years in power.
Azwari, 63, another victim, said the current administration gave him hope. He also said that victims must be compensated.
“Hundreds of victims were brutally murdered in the incident. Others were tortured and detained without due process. I lose my civil servant status because of the incident,” he said.
The victims’ demand was made in response to a recent statement by Hendropriyono, who claimed that the Talangsari incident was a suicide pact by Warsidi members. He also denied that soldiers had burned down houses.
The Talangsari tragedy, also known as the Warsidi incident, occurred on Feb. 7, 1989, in Cihideung hamlet in Rajabasa Lama district, Central Lampung (now part of East Lampung).
Lampung’s Garuda Hitam Military Command soldiers reportedly laid siege to the village at dawn, leaving hundreds of followers of Islamic religious leader Warsidi dead.
The incident occurred following the discovery of Way Jepara military commander Capt. Sukiman’s body the previous day near the 3.5-hectare religious complex overseen by Warsidi. The captain’s body was covered with arrow and slash wounds.
Local military leaders and district officials at the time believed the religious group was part of a movement to form the Indonesia Islamic State (NII).
Warsidi was reportedly a student of Abdullah Sungkar, a key NII figure who went into exile in Malaysia.
The Lampung Students Solidarity Committee recorded 246 people died in the attack. Official government reports put the death toll at 27.