Friday, November 11, 2005

Killing of Dr Azahari - Eye-witness Accounts

An amazing report of eyewitness’ accounts on the police actions leading to the killing of Dr Azahari Husin, by Indon journalist ID Nugroho.

The 1st was by a lady named Herawati. She owned a house behind the one occupied by the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorists. She was still highly excited when she gave her eye-witness account of what happened (I’ll leave Nughroho’s report as intact as possible, other than to edit it to make some sense, like changing ‘she’ to ‘Herawati’ in some cases, or trimming it here and there to avoid repetition, or rephrasing some words to put the account in better context), as follows:

30-year old Herawati said the raid would be an experience she would never forget. She found it hard to imagine that she, a simple housewife,was part of an important raid that struck a major blow to the terrorist network across Asia.

She said she shuddered when she remembered the incident, not unlike a scene out of a Hollywood movie. Her house in the Flamboyan housing complex in Batu was used by police to gain access to Azahari's hideout.

The mother of two recalled that the raid began when several anti-terror police officers arrived at her house at 1:15 p.m. She was told that there would be a major arrest, but she didn't know who was their target.

Soon more and more police personnel surrounded the house occupied by Azahari, taking up tactical positions. Some officers even stood in her attic while others were spread out around the house.

Then she heard a police officer shout at Azahari's group that they should surrender. Somebody from the surrounded house suddenly fired a shot. An exchange of gunfire then followed. Explosions were heard several times in the middle of fierce gunfire. Finally, after an hour of gunfire, a huge explosion jolted the neighborhood.

Herawati, who was hiding in the dining room during the incident, was fairly shaken up. After the explosion, she saw several policemen clap and shake hands, signaling the operation was a success.

She was then informed by the police that one of those killed was the most wanted man across Asia, Azahari. While scared at that time, Herawati said she felt proud that she was part of the important moment in the war against terror in the country.

The 2nd eye witness was by another lady, Salamun. Here goes Nugroho’s report:

Salamun's house is located directly across the street from the house used by Azahari and his group. She had no inkling that the men living across the street were terrorists.

"I only knew that the house was inhabited by three persons. Two introduced themselves as Budi and Yahya," she said. Yahya told her he was from Surabaya and studied at Muhammadiyah University in Malang (UMM), while Salamun had no idea what Budi was doing. Another person told her he came from Semarang and worked as a building contractor.

Salamun was totally unaware that one of them could have been the fugitive Malaysian bomber Azahari. She had no qualms about her new neighbors and even greeted and shook hands with Yahya and Budi on Idul Fitri, wishing them a happy Idul Fitri. Other neighbors also greeted Yahya and Budi for Idul Fitri, who responded warmly.

"When I remember that moment, my hair stands on end."

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