Occupation Farmer
Born ca. 1945

April 15, 1987(1987-04-15) (aged 42)
Banjarsari, Indonesia

Cause of death Suicide
Spouse(s) Indarah
Attack information
Date April 15, 1987
Location(s) Banjarsari, Indonesia
Killed 20
Injured 12
Weapon(s) Sickle

Wirjo was an Indonesian farmer who killed 20 people and wounded 12 others in Banjarsari, a village in Banyuwangi Regency, Indonesia on April 15, 1987, before committing suicide.[1][2][3][4][5]


Wirjo was the fifth of nine children. According to his wife, Indarah, he was drinking and gambling and complained a lot about his inheritance. Reminded of his shortcomings he would get angry and threaten his wife with his sickles. The day before the murders he beat her during an argument.[6][7]

It was reported that prior to the massacre Wirjo had fasted for a month and that he had also dug up his mother's corpse in the graveyard to gnaw on her bones,[8] though other reports indicated no such thing had happened, instead relating that she was still alive at that time.[6]


The massacre began at Wirjo's home, where he attacked his adoptive son Renny and his friend Arbaiyah, both 4-years-old, with a parang and a sickle. While Renny managed to escape, Arbaiyah was hit in the neck and died. Wirjo then entered the home of Maskur, a neighbour, where he first killed Mrs. Maskur with the sickle, before turning against her 80-year-old husband, who tried to help her. Afterwards he made his way through the village, assaulting people at random.

By the end of the day the 42-year-old had hacked a total of 32 people, most of them farmers on the way to their fields and students going to school. 18 of his victims died at the scene, while two others later succumbed to their wounds in hospital. As the culprit was nowhere to be found authorities temporarily suspended classes at local schools, while people locked themselves in their homes.

After an extensive manhunt, including police, dogs, and the army, Wirjo was found the next day just 3 miles west of his house, dangling from the roots of a tree growing over a riverbank. He had committed suicide by hanging himself with his belt.[6][9][7]


Among those killed were:

  • Arbaiyah, 4
  • Isah, 40
  • Istianah, 15
  • Maskur, 80
  • Mrs. Maskur, 40
  • Mbah Taman, 75
  • Mbok Suwendah, 73