Security Remains High after Man Killed in Bangli Clashes


One person were killed and at least 13 injured during violent clashes between villagers in Bangli on Tuesday. The violence, which saw much of the regency capital shut down under subsequent tight security, was prompted by an altercation between students attending a soccer match.

The trouble began when students from Banjar Kawan in Bangli, and Songan in the Kintimani district, clashed at a football match in Bangli on Tuesday afternoon. All the students were reportedly from the same Bangli technical college.

Bangli Police received complaints from four Songan students injured in the fight on the sidelines of the match, but before they were able to gain control of the situation hundreds of villagers from Songan had arrived on the scene, many armed with sharp staves.

In the ensuing clashes between Songan and Banjar Kawan residents a Songan man was killed, and at least 13 people – including a local journalist, Ari Santosa – were injured, some of them seriously.

Roads were damaged and a police car was also destroyed in the violence.

Bangli Police had to call for assistance from the elite Mobile Brigade to stop the violence, and strict security measures were put in place once the streets were cleared.

Bangli Police chief Agung Dewa Rai said Mobile Brigade officers had successfully escorted the bulk of the Songan residents back to their village.

“The important thing is that the Songan people have now been escorted home by the Mobile Brigade teams and the situation is now calm,” he told reporters late on Tuesday night.

Street lighting was turned off after dark in the affected areas to prevent fresh mobs from gathering. A total of 500 officers, including many from the Mobile Brigade, remained on duty overnight to maintain order.

Officers continued to patrol on Wednesday, and many shops, government offices and schools in Bangli remained closed.

“The situation is under control, but the level of alert is still high,” said top Bali Police spokesman Hariadi on Wednesday. He added that a number of arrests had been made.

“Three people have already been proved to have been carrying sharp weapons including staves and crowbars,” he said, adding that many other weapons, including swords, daggers and sharpened bamboo staves had been seized as evidence.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning the Bangli regent, the chief of police, and other officials travelled to Songan to meet community leaders in an effort to prevent further clashes.

The man killed in the clashes was identified on Wednesday as 50-year-old Jero Wi from Songan.

Following an autopsy at Denpasar’s Sanglah Hospital, doctors revealed that Wi had suffered multiple injuries.

“The victim had suffered wounds from a sharp weapon on his head and legs.  As well as that he had suffered bruising to his head from a blunt object, and a wound on his back from being shot with an air rifle,” said Dudut Rustyadi, head of forensics at Sanglah.

“The injuries from the sharp weapon were not the cause of the fatality.  The cause of death was the blunt force injury to the back of his head which caused bruising to his brain,” Rustyadi said.

Senior physician at Sanglah Dr Sudiana said that among those wounded during the violence was a Banjar Kawan man who had also been shot in the shoulder with an air rifle.  Others had received cuts, bruises and stab wounds.

Ari Santosa, the journalist injured during the violence, said he felt he had had a lucky escape, after rioters spotted him photographing their actions and attacked him.

“Because of their action my camera was totally destroyed, but fortunately the police were able to rescue me, so I could survive the rampaging masses,” he said.

Speaking on Wednesday, Bali Police chief Totoy Herawan Indra called for calm.

“We ask for cooperation from the community, to calm down and make Bali safe.  As well as that, it is hoped that a similar incident will not happen again,” he said.

Governor I Made Mangku Pastika said the violence did not represent Balinese culture, given that the island was supposed to be an international symbol of peace and harmony.

“I am very sorry and embarrassed by this riot. Only because of a clash between school kids, all these citizens became involved. This is contrary to the local values of Bali,” Pastika said.

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