Soldiers allegedly attacked five journalists attempting to take cover the crash of an Indonesian Air Force jet in Pekanbaru, Riau, on Tuesday, choking one photojournalist and confiscating cameras from two, according to Antara News Agency reports.
A BAE Systems/British Aerospace Hawk 200 fighter jet crashed during a routine flight over Penkanbaru at 9:30 Tuesday morning.
The pilot was able to safely eject before the crash.
But when journalists arrived at the scene, soldiers with the Indonesian Air Force reportedly became hostile, Antara reported.
Soldiers allegedly beat and choked photojournalist Didik Herwanto, of the Riau Pos, the news wire reported.
“I was covering [the crash] and the distance was quite far,” Didik told Antara. “I was about to take picture of the aircraft wreckage.”
But he was then allegedly attacked by the soldiers guarding the site.
“Fortunately, there was a soldier that knew me and who intervened,” he said.
Riau Pos uploaded a video of the attack to YouTube.
Didik was taken to the hospital after the attack. He plans to report the incident to military police.
Antara’s Febrianto B. Anggoro said he was struck on his shoulders and stomach by soldiers.
“Those who mobbed [me were] more than ten people in uniform, some of them [in] a sports uniform, [others in an] orange uniform like a pilot and the uniform of the military special corps [Paskhas],” Febrianto said.
Didik said that he saw local residents suffer similar abuse.
Four other journalists were reportedly abused by soldiers at the scene, including Fakhri Rubianto, of Riau Televisi; Ari, of TV One; RTV’s Irwansyah and Andika, of Vokal.
Two of the journalists had their equipment confiscated.
Roesmin Noerjadin Airbase spokesman Capt. Wasisto said he told the reporters to file a complaint with military police.
“I’ve asked them to report the beating to military police commander Maj. Ari,” he said, adding that he asked the soldiers to return the journalists’ missing equipment. JG