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Indonesia: Police chief sacked over stadium tragedy

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THE police chief in the Indonesian city where clashes and a stampede at a football stadium left 125 people dead has been removed from his position, a national police spokesman said on Monday.

The dead included 33 children aged 4 to 17.

At least, nine local police officers have been suspended and are currently under investigation.

“Based on the investigation carried out… tonight the national police chief has made a decision to relieve Malang police chief Ferli Hidayat from his duty and replace him,” Dedi Prasetyo told a televised press conference.

Thousands of supporters had gathered on Saturday in the city of Malang to see the home team, Arema, host Persebaya Surabaya. After Arema suffered a surprise 3-2 defeat, some fans ran onto the field but were allegedly attacked by police officers who kicked and clubbed them, then fired tear gas into the stands, according to eyewitnesses.

The situation caused people to flee into narrow exit corridors, resulting in the deadliest stadium catastrophe in history.

A member of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights Mohammad Choirul Anam said that only two exits were open in the stadium and that the use of tear gas by the police appeared to have been a key factor in the crush at the exits.

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The national police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said on Monday that the authorities had opened an internal investigation and interviewed 18 officers who had fired tear gas. Military personnel who were seen hitting fans would also face punishment, Mahfud said.

Prabowo added that the authorities would provide compensation of about $4,230 to the family of each victim. The average per capita income in Indonesia was $3,092 in 2020, according to World Bank figures.

 

 

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