Monday, May 2, 2016

When The Blood Spills at Bugen Syuhada

Mass Grave for 40 victims from Massacre of Bugen Syuhada incident in Giri Tunggal Heroes Cemetery, Semarang.
(photos by: Yeremia Alfa)
Following the Independence of Indonesia on August 17th 1945, soon its also marked the outbreak of Indonesia National Revolution. The struggle lasted for over four years and involved sporadic but bloody armed conflict, internal Indonesian political and communal upheavals, and two major international diplomatic interventions. Dutch military forces were able to control the major towns, cities and industrial assets in Republican heartlands on Java and Sumatra, but could not control the countryside.

Hizbullah militians arrested by the Dutch Troops from
Tijger Brigade, after the raid somewhere in south-east of
Semarang, 1946. (source: Semarang Beeld van Een Stad)
Bugen, a villages in Pedurungan sub-district, eastern part of Semarang whereas one’s of the worst tragedy in the Indonesian National Revolution has happened. About 74 militians is perished during the raid by the Dutch forces from Tijgerbrigade on Thursday, December 5th 1946. During the Indonesian National Revolution, its not only the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) the regular armies were take a part, there’s also plenty of militians. The victims of tragedy which also known as the Massacre of Bugen Syuhada, is the militians from the Hizbullah and Sabilillah. Hizbullah, taken from the arabic words which means the Force of Allah, actually formed under the Japanese Authority, responding the demands from the Islamic factions to form the islamic forces. On December 8th 1944, then its formed the voluntary islamic forces, and became Japanese reserves armies headed by K.H. Zainul Arifin, one’s of the important figures in Nadhlatul Ulama (NU), the bigest Islamic organization in the world till today. If the Hizbullah was formed under the Japanese occupation as a reserves armies, Sabilillah, was not. Sabilillah was formed as the response of the high excalations between the indigenous people and the Allied forces, that came to restore the colonial power after the war. Sabilillah formed under K.H. Masykur, also from the NU organization, responding the declarations by K.H. Hasyim Asyari in October 22nd 1945, that the Indonesian National Revolution belongs to Jihad, the holy war. Sabilillah mostly taken its member from the pesantren , an Islamic boarding schools that very common in Indonesia, a place to learn about basic and Islamic studies,  philosophies, martial arts and meditation. 

The holes in the wall of H. Mustafa house at Bugen, the evidence of the
bloodshed that happened on December 5th 1946. (photos by: Yeremia Alfa)
Back to the Massacre of Bugen Syuhada stories, the Hizbullah and Sabilillah actually just came from Solo, planned assault to Semarang, the centre of the Dutch forces in Middle Java. They assaulted the British American Tobbaco (BAT) factory that turns into miltary headquarters. The assault failed and they retreated to avoiding the Dutch troops chased. They stayed overnight in Bugen village, on H. Mustafa house. Unluckily the Dutch troops captured their location, then a skirmished broke out and 74 militians perished. Most of them killed inside the house of H. Mustafa, as the bullets from the mitrailleur guns penetrated the wooden wall, hits the militians who take the house as a shelter. There’s a stories mentioned that, the Dutch troops later blast a dynamite to made such a big hole, as a place to buried the victims. 

Nowadays, the hole that caused by the bullets in H. Mustafa house still preserved. Actually there’s a plan to patch it, but then its canceled in the middle of the process, because of the owners willings to preserves it as the memory to the events. There’s a monument built nearby the H. Mustafa house, a place where the 74 bodies of the militians were buried but later on 1960, 40 of the skeletons moved into the Giri Tunggal Heroes Cemetery, near the centre of Semarang city. The Bugen village itself now also known as Bugen Syuhada. The people added Syuhada an arabic words for men who died in the way of Allah, to commemorate these massacre. 

  1. Jejak Perjuangan yang Terlupakan (1), Kisah Heroik di Bekas Lubang Peluru by Rukardi Achmadi
  2. Nadhlatul Ulama official sites (
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