At least 125 Dead at Malang Football Stadium Crush; Police: 'Do Not Rush to Conclusions'

3 October 2022 07:36 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Malang - The tragedy caused by tear gas fired by the police at Kanjuruhan football Stadium, Malang, left 125 people dead, as stated by the Indonesian police chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo.

"The number of people who died has been verified to be 125. At first, they were informed of 129 dead victims. However, the latest data based on checking and verification with the Health Office is 125 because there were names who were recorded twice," Listyo said during a press conference at the Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, Sunday night (2/10/2022).

Joko, an Aremania from Ponorogo, saw firsthand the unfortunate supporters trying to save themselves after being shot tear gas by the police. Joko initialy had left the stadium, but he returned to help his colleague who had fainted. There, Joko saw a number of dead supporters lying on the steps of the Kanjuruhan Stadium.

"I actually left after the match, but went back into the stadium because a friend had fainted," Joko told reporters, as quoted from detikJatim, Sunday (02/10).

Joko said that, while he was inside the Kanjuruhan Stadium, he saw a number of dead supporters lying on the ground. He also felt the sting of the tear gas. "I saw corpses around the stairs, the atmosphere inside (the stadium) was chaotic. The smoke was like fog, it hurts the eyes, we can't even breath, all because of the tear gas fired by the police," he added.

He said he could only leave the stadium at 01:00 WIB (Western Indonesia Time) in the morning. Based on temporary data from the Malang Health Office, there are currently 186 people being treated at the hospital.

Police Evaluating the Use of Tear Gas

The use of tear gas by the police inside the Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, to disperse a crowd of supporters was highlighted when the International Football Federation (FIFA) stated that they actually banned the use of tear gas in the stadium. The Head of the Public Relations Division of the National Police, Inspector General Dedi Prasetyo, said that his party was currently conducting an evaluation.

"(We will) evaluated it first, so we do not rush to conclusions," said Dedi to reporters, Sunday (02/10).

Dedi said that the police is currently evaluating thoroughly and comprehensively regarding the use of tear gas. He will soon announce the results to the public. "It must be evaluated thoroughly and comprehensively and the results will be presented to the President later," he said.

It is widely known that the ban on the use of tear gas is contained in the FIFA Stadium Safety and Security Regulations. Article 19 b) reads: 'No firearms or "crowd control gas" shall be carried or used'. This rule states that firearms or gas for crowd control are prohibited from being carried inside the stadium and used.

The use of tear gas by the police in the Kanjuruhan stadium began when Arema fans stormed the pitch after their team lost against Persebaya. The number of supporters who was said to have been anarchic responded by the police by dispelling and firing tear gas. The tear gas shot made the fans panic, trampled on each other on their way to a narrow exit, and suffocated to death.

A police officer fired tear gas to dispel supporters who entered the field after the BRI Liga 1 match between Arema and Persebaya at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, East Java, Saturday night, October 1, 2022. The tear gas fired by the police resulted in a panic which causes a stampede that kills 129 people in the stadium's narrow exit point. ANTARA PHOTOS/Ari Bowo Sucipto

Police Excuses of Using Tear Gas

The East Java Regional Police Chief Inspector General Nico Afinta explained the reason his members used tear gas to control Arema FC supporters was because the Arema fans had acted anarchically by attacking officers, damaging police cars and the stadium facilities, and attacking the Arema FC players and officials.

"The police is taking preventive measures and making diversions so that they don't enter the field targeting the players," Nico said at a press conference at the Malang Police, Sunday (02/10).

Komnas HAM Urges Police to Thoroughly Investigate Kanjuruhan Tragedy

"We urge the police of the Republic of Indonesia to carry out a thorough investigation into this tragedy," said Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Indonesia Ahmad Taufan Damanik in his statement via video received by detik.com, Sunday (02/10).

Taufan said that his party would send a monitoring team to investigate. Komnas HAM asked the government to be responsible to the affected parties. "We ask the government to be responsible for dealing with health and humanitarian aspects as well as other losses caused by this incident," he said.

Komnas HAM then expressed deep condolences for the tragedy that killed hundreds of people. He regretted the Kanjuruhan tragedy that happened in Malang.

"The National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Indonesia hereby expresses its deep condolences for the humanitarian tragedy at the Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, after the end of the match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya last night, October 1, 2022," said Taufan.

TEMPO

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