Bukit Kepong Incident


Bukit Kepong Incident

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Bukit Kepong Incident
partof=the Malayan Emergency
date=February 23, 1950
place=Bukit Kepong, Muar
result= Communist victory, heroic failure for Malayan Police
combatant1=Malayan Races Liberation Army or Malayan Communist Party
combatant2=Malayan Police
commander1= Muhammad Madera
Lek Tuan
commander2=Sgt Jamil Mohd Shah "(Bukit Kepong police chief)"
Penghulu Ali Mustapha ("penghulu" of the Bukit Kepong town)
strength1=200
strength2=25
casualties1= about 40 dead
casualties2= 23 dead including non-combatants (Assistant Police (AP))

Bukit Kepong Incident was an armed encounter which took place on February 23, 1950 between the police and the Malayan Communists in pre-independence Malaya. This conflict took place in an area surrounding the Bukit Kepong police station in Bukit Kepong. The wooden station was located on the river banks of the Muar River, about 59km from Muar town, Johor.

The incident started just before dawn with the Communists launching a guerilla assault on the police station. It ended in a bloody massacre with the aggressors killing almost all of the police officers stationed there. When they began the siege, the attackers strongly believed that they would be able to defeat the policemen and gained control of the police station within a short span of time. This is due to several factors in their favour: their arms and numerical superiority and the relative isolation of the station. The battle began at about 4:15 am.

According to eyewitness accounts, there were about 200 Communists attacking, led by Muhammad Indera, a Malay Communist. Despite the odds, the policemen led by Allahyarham Sgt. Jamil Mohd Shah, refused to surrender, although numerous calls by the communists for them to lay down arms were made. Several officers were killed as the shooting continued and two wives of the defending officers took up arms when they discovered that their husbands fell in battle. [http://www.rmp.gov.my/rmp03/bktkepong.htm]

Desperate and alarmed at the defenders’ tenacity, the Communists captured one of the officers’ wives and threatened her at gunpoint to urge the policemen to surrender. The defenders replied that they would never surrender and continued fighting. Another wife of the officers and her daughter were also forced to do the same. Their refusal then resulted in their execution.

In the final hours of the fierce battle, the Communists set fire to the officers’ barracks and station. Two women and their children were burnt to death in the married quarters. At that point only 3 policemen plus a village guard were still alive. They rushed out from the burning station, unable to withstand the heat. They then assaulted the Communists position, killing at least 3 of them.

Only about five hours after the first shot was fired did the communists manage to break their defences and set the place ablaze. They then retreated into the jungle, leaving a trail of destruction and bloodshed.

14 policemen, 4 village guards, 3 auxiliary policemen, wife of Abu Bakar Daud (one of the surviving policemen) and three of their children were killed in the incident. The total number of deaths is 25. Those who survived the bloody encounter are 4 policemen and 9 family members including their wives and children.

Reinforcements from Nearby Villages

During the attack, reinforcement were sent from Kampung Tui as the battle reverberated throughout several of the nearby villages. A band of villagers led by the village chief Ali Mustafa from Kampung Tui was escorted by 13 AP/HG (Auxiliary Police/Home Guard). They were ambushed by the Communists en route about half a kilometre away from the station. The villagers were outgunned by the Communists who were using automatic weapons as opposed to rifles and shotguns held by the village group. Several of the village guards were wounded and killed. Although stopped halfway, their presence relieved some pressure of the Bukit Kepong defenders and forced a general Communist retreat.

Due to the lopsided situation, Ali Mustafa ordered his guards to retreat while the rest were asked to defend the perimeter around Bukit Kepong town. The Communists eventually retreated after setting fire to the village office and robbing a few stores.

At the same time, another village guard group came from Kampung Durian Chondong using a sampan heading towards Bukit Kepong to render aid. On the way, they were also ambushed by the Communists. About half of the 7 villagers in the group survived to continue on to Lenga. They arrived there at 10am and that was when the first news of the attack on Bukit Kepong police station was communicated. [http://w3.spancity.com/yosri/DaftarB.htm]

Aftermath

When the village guards entered the village, they were able to observe the carnage resulting from the brutal attack. The village chief took command of the outpost until relieved by a police team from Muar. The battle at Bukit Kepong is considered to be tragic defeat although it strengthened the Government and people’s resolve to fight the Communist insurgency. A small force defending against overwhelming odds gave the war against Communist insurgency a massive boost in terms of morale and honour. Some drew comparisons between the Bukit Kepong incident and the Alamo, where the Bukit Kepong policemen similar to the Texans came under overwhelming odds and fought to the last man.

List of killed in action (KIA)

Policeman

# Sergeant Jamil Mohd Shah "(Bukit Kepong police chief)"
# Corporal Mohd Yassin Haji Wahab
# Lance Corporal Jidin Omar
# Constable Hassan Osman
# Constable Hamzah Ahmad
# Constable Jaafar Hassan
# Constable Muhamad Jaafar
# Marine Constable Ibrahim Adam
# Constable Abu Mohd Ali
# Constable Abu Kadir Jusoh
# Marine Constable Awang Ali
# Marine Constable Basiron Adam
# Extra Police Constable (EPC) Mohd Top Lazim
# EPC Jaafar Arshad

Non-combatants (Auxiliary Police (AP))

# Ins. Kudarina Naknok
# AP Samad Yatim
# AP Mahmood Saat
# AP Ali Akop
# AP Othman Yahya

Police familly members

# Fatimah Yaaba - wife of Marine Constable Abu Bakar Daud
# Hassan Abu Bakar - son of Marine Constable Abu Bakar Daud
# Saadiah - wife of Constable Abu Mohd Ali
# Simah Abu - daughter of Constable Abu Mohd Ali

Auxiliary Police (AP) were killed in action (KIA) outside police station

# AP Redzuan Alias
# Embong Lazim
# Koh Ah Cheng

List of survivors

Policeman

# Constable Othman Yusoff
# Marine Constable Abu Bakar Daud
# EPC Ahmad Khalid
# Constable Haji Yusoff Rono "(passed away on 14 April 2005)"::Note: All are deceased

Police familly members

# Mariam Ibrahim - widow of Constable Muhamad Jaafar
# Zainun Muhamad - daughter of Constable Muhamad Jaafar
# Abu Samah Muhammad - son of Constable Muhamad Jaafar
# Zaleha - daughter of Constable Muhamad Jaafar
# Jamilah - daughter of Marine Constable Abu Bakar Daud
# Hussain - son of Marine Constable Abu Bakar Daud
# Fatimah Abdul Manan @ Timah Lawa - widow of Constable Hassan Osman
# Pon Khalid - widow of Marine Constable Awang Ali
# Fatimah Tuani - widow of Constable Hamzah Ahmad
# Edmund Ross Williams Hunt - orang asli who worked as a sherpa at Bukit Kepong

References

*Adapted from the form 4 secondary school novel "Bukit Kepong" by Ismail Johari

External links

* [http://blisdemo.bernama.com/article.phtml?SN=0e273ec6447607fbf8650ea2f365c258&s=12&p=67798 Statistics of the Incident]
* [http://www.rmp.gov.my/rmp03/bktkepong.htm Polis Diraja Malaysia's account of the Incident]
* [http://www.thesundaily.com/articlePrint.cfm?id=10275 Discussion of the impact of the Incident]
* [http://www.nesa.org.uk/latest_issue/nov-dec-08.htm Detailed account of the events by A L (Paddy) Bacskai]
* [http://ambig.fotopages.com/?entry=328348 Pictures of Bukit Kepong by M Jeffri Razali]


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