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Indonesian prison riot leaves five officers and one prisoner dead

The Guardian - May 10, 2018

Kate Lamb Inmates who started a deadly riot controlled three cellblocks inside a maximum-security Indonesian jail for more than 36 hours before the siege ended on Thursday morning with five officers and one prisoner dead.

The riot broke out at the Mako Brimob detention facility in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta, on Tuesday evening and resulted in five officers being taken hostage and brutally killed. A sixth victim was a prison detainee.

Most of the officers, members of Indonesia's elite counterterrorism squad Densus 88, had their throats cut, said a police spokesman, Brig Gen Muhammad Iqbal.

After hours of negotiation and the release of one final police hostage overnight, police confirmed the siege was over on Thursday morning.

"The operation ended at 7.15am, just now," said Gen Syafruddin, deputy commissioner of police, adding there were no further casualties and all of the inmates had surrendered.

Explosions and gunfire were heard outside the prison on Thursday morning before the police announcement.

More than 150 prisoners were involved in the fatal riot, in which inmates seized dozens of guns. The riot occurred in an area reserved for suspected and convicted terrorists.

Unconfirmed grisly footage of the incident including what were said to be images of prisoners dressed in balaclavas and brandishing guns, as well as one showing them next to a black and white Isis flag circulated on social media and jihadist sites.

At least one prisoner reportedly broadcast the events live on Facebook and Instagram before the accounts were disabled.

Isis's Amaq media also spread the images shortly after the incident and claimed responsibility for the attack. But Indonesian police have denied any Isis link, saying the riot was sparked by a dispute over food. "The trigger is trivial, the trigger is the problem of food," Iqbal said.

Analysts have regularly highlighted how extremist ideologies can flourish inside Indonesia's notoriously overcrowded prisons. Detainees at Mako Brimob rioted last November, taking photographs of themselves next to an Isis flag.

Among its high-profile detainees is the convicted terrorist Aman Abdurrahman, Indonesia's leading Isis proponent and alleged mastermind of the 2016 Sarinah bombing.

His lawyer told Kompas.com that Abdurrahman was in another cell block and not involved in the riot, although there were reports that inmates had requested to meet him.

The prison also houses the former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as Ahok, who is serving a sentence for blasphemy.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/10/indonesian-prison-riot-leaves-five-officers-and-one-prisoner-dead.

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