Suharto linked to ninja killers, claims Amien


ISLAMIC leader and activist Amien Rais sees former President Suharto’s hand in the recent series of mysterious killings in East Java.

He told foreign journalists during a talk on Thursday that the main aim of Mr Suharto, who stepped down under mounting pressure in May this year, was to block the reform process and divert attention away from the investigations into the wealth he had amassed during his 32 years of rule.

“It is very difficult to find proof but I think I am not far from the truth in saying Suharto’s hand is behind the killings,” said Mr Amien.

“Suharto’s cronies and loyalists still want to fight back. They don’t want reform and they want to distract attention from the probe into the family wealth.”

He said Mr Suharto and his supporters had been successful in their efforts so far, and added:

“Now everyone is obsessed with ninjas. People have forgotten about what Suharto did in the past.”

He said he would also not discount the possibility of the armed forces (Abri) being involved in the killings and revenge attacks which have left about 200 people dead.

“There is another scenario,” he said.

“Some have suggested that the armed forces did the killings to spread terror, hoping that the people would ask the military to take over power. This cannot be ruled out.”

He said this seemed even more plausible given the Abri chief General Wiranto’s latest statement in which he had reportedly said “if the people are at one with Abri, the killings will stop immediately”.

Mr Amien, describing the slaughter as “atrocious, uncivilised and inhuman”, said he could not predict when it would end and expressed fears that people would become used to it.

The killing spree started with sorcerers as the primary victims. It then expanded to include Muslim clerics and supporters of Nadhlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim group.

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