In the tragic incident that occurred on Saturday night in Malang, Indonesia, police used tear gas to disperse a stampede in a full stadium, resulting in 125 deaths and 323 injuries. An official confirmed on Monday (Oct. 3), as authorities prepared to prosecute those guilty for one of the bloodiest football tragedies in history, that at least 32 children had died in Indonesia's stadium crush.
According to a ministry representative for women's empowerment and child welfare, many children caught up in the commotion died. "From the latest data we received, out of 125 people who died in the accident, 32 of them were children, with the youngest being a toddler age three or four," said Nahar.
The football organization was instructed to suspend all Liga 1 matches until the outcome of the investigation, ordered by President Joko Widodo. Mahfud M.D., Indonesia's chief security minister, made an announcement that a task force had been established to investigate and urged punishment for anyone found accountable as resentment toward police grew.
"We asked (police) to unveil who has perpetrated the crimes and take action against them and we also hope the national police will evaluate their security procedures," he said in a broadcast statement.
Within hours of the minister's statement, the police force in Malang fired their local chief.
Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) criticized officers as police and sports authorities traveled to Malang to conduct an investigation. "If there was no tear gas, maybe there wouldn't have been chaos," commissioner Choirul Anam said.
As directed by the national police force, East Java police also suspended nine officers, according to national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo, who did not elaborate on their involvement in the disaster.
Arema FC president Gilang Widya Pramana apologized for the tragedy during an emotional live speech. "I, as the president of Arema FC, will take full responsibility for the incident that occurred," he said.
On Monday, the Arema team traveled in black jerseys to the scene of the accident to pay their condolences and lay flowers before assembling on the field to pray for the victims. Graffiti on the stadium's walls reflected bitter resentment of the government. The acronym "ACAB," which stands for "all cops are bastards," was written on another wall.
As stated by a minister on Monday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered 50 million rupiah ($3,200) in compensation for each victim's family. Mahfud stated that the task committee for the probe will include academics, journalists, and representatives from the government and football league. The investigation, according to him would be "concluded in the next two or three weeks".