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Indonesia

‘Militant’ inmates kill five police in prison where Jakarta’s ex-governor is held for blasphemy

Authorities reject claim from Islamic State made through its Amaq News Agency that it was responsible for the violence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2018, 6:32pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2018, 9:48pm

Five Indonesian police officers and a prisoner were killed in clashes at a high security jail that saw Islamist inmates take an officer hostage, authorities said Wednesday, with negotiations underway to secure his release.

The deadly riot broke out late Tuesday at the facility inside the Mobile Police Brigade headquarters in Depok on the outskirts of Jakarta.

It comes several days after the arrest of three terror suspects accused of plotting to attack the police headquarters and other facilities in the same area.

“There have been six fatalities – five of our comrades are dead and one of them also (died),” said national police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal.

“One of our officers is still being held hostage. To prevent things from getting worse, we’re going to keep negotiating so we don’t have to go to the last resort,” he added, without elaborating.

A dispute broke out after several prisoners demanded that they be given food sent to them by their families and managed to grab some of their jailers’ firearms, authorities said, adding that the secure facility was on lockdown.

Some of the prisoners involved in the clashes are Islamist militants jailed on terror-related charges, according to police.

However, authorities rejected a claim from Islamic State (IS) group made through its Amaq News Agency that it was responsible for the riot.

“Those (IS) claims are not true at all,” Iqbal told reporters on the scene.

“The trigger (for the riot) was food, which must be checked to make sure there is not other stuff hidden inside it.”

Police said they would hold a press conference later Wednesday.

Among the facility’s prisoners is Aman Abdurrahman, an Islamic radical jailed for orchestrating an attack in Jakarta in 2016 that left eight people dead.

Former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who was sentenced two years in prison for blasphemy after losing a re-election bid, is also held in the jail.

Abdurrahman and Purnama, better known as Ahok, are not housed in the part of the prison where the riot broke out.

Indonesia’s overcrowded prisons are notorious for their poor conditions and outbreaks of violence.

Two years ago, nearly 500 inmates broke out from a prison after complaining about overcrowding and extortion.

Agence France-Presse, Reuters