Indonesian police said they are investigating more than a dozen officers responsible for firing tear gas that sparked a crush that killed at least 125 people at a football match.
The distraught family members struggled to come to terms with the sudden loss of loved ones during the game in the East Java town of Malang which was watched only by Arema FC fans. The organizer had banned fans of visiting team Persebaya Surabaya due to Indonesia’s history of violent football rivalries.
But most of the deaths occurred when riot police, attempting to stop the violence, fired tear gas, including at the spectator stands, triggering the disastrous crush of fans who ran in panic for the exits. Most of those who died were trampled on or suffocated.
National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told a press conference that 18 mid- to high-ranking officers responsible for firing tear gas were being investigated along with “internal issues related to security management”.
He said police were still interviewing witnesses and analyzing footage from 32 security cameras inside and outside the stadium and nine mobile phones belonging to the victims as part of the investigation to also identify the vandals. presumed. Two police officers are among the dead.
Arema FC president Gilang Widya Pramana said the club was ready to accept all sanctions from the Indonesian Football Association and the government, adding: “I hope this will be a very valuable lesson.”
Security Minister Mohammad Mahfud said he would carry out a separate investigation to investigate violations of the law during the disaster. The team will also determine compensation for the victims and complete the task in three weeks.
Rights group Amnesty International has urged Indonesia to investigate the use of tear gas and ensure that those responsible are tried in open court. Although FIFA has no control over domestic matches, it has advised against the use of tear gas in football stadiums.