Quelle: http://www.angelfire.com/rock/hotburrito/bohm/bohm.html


Eine erschütternde Dokumentation der Ereignisse vom 22.6.2000 bis zum 29. April 2003 aus christlicher Perspektive (366 Reports, engl.)


In June 2000 The Crisis Centre Diocese of Amboina (residing in Ambon City, Moluccas, Indonesia) decided
to mail reports to people who like to keep informed of what is going on.
I will put all those reports here online to read. It gives you some insight in how the crisis
has been developing from June 2000 up till now.


 

THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports
(June 22- July 3, 2000)

Report no. 1

Ambon, June 22, 2000

URGENT APPEAL

from victimized Christians in the Moluccas

The unrest in the Moluccas, which has been going on for nearly one and a half year now and has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and the destruction of thousands of houses and other facilities, originally started as a conflict between certain muslim and christian groups.

However since the arriving of thousands of Jihad ('Holy War') troops, equipped with standard and organic weaponry, it can no longer be looked upon as a conflict. It has now become a straight-away endeavour to cleanse the Moluccas from all what is christian. Part of the security forces apparently sympathize with these Jihad Troops. Those who do not, are outnumbered and, fearing for their lives, in many cases choose to withdraw as soon as the attacks start.

The most recent evidence of this change in the Moluccas unrest (from conflict to slaughtering) is illustrated by the following sad happenings:

In the North Moluccas

According to reports from Father Titus Rahail, parish priest of nearby Tobelo and of parson Z.Dungir, the latter of whom actually was in Duma at that moment, but managed to escape to Tobelo, on June 19th 2000, at 05.00 in the morning, the christian village of DUMA /Galela on the island of Halmahera, was attacked by at least 5000 muslim fighters, killing 176 residents and injuring 137, including women, children and old people. Ten women and twenty children are reported to be abducted. The protestant church (together with all people who had taking refuge there) and 292 houses were burned down. The military security forces, Yonif 512/Brawijaya, reportedly withdrew before the attack was launced, except some of them who paved the way for the attacking Jihad Troops to carry out their holocaust. This sad happening, like others to follow, was hardly reported in the national newsmedia and broadcasting.

In Ambon

On June 12th 2000 several thousands of muslim fighters came down Malintang hill and attacked the villages of Galala and Hative Kecil at the out-skirts of Ambon town. About thirty houses and the catholic church were burned down. The attackers met hardly any resistance. On that occasion the local security forces were reported to have a conflict among themselves. Six persons were killed, including two Brimob policemen; 16 were injured.

On June 21st 2000 the village of Tantui, situated between Hative Kecil and Ambon town, location of Brimob Police Headquarters, was attacked. Once again the christians were more or less left to themselves. The result: the catholic church and the protestant Efrata church were burned down together with some dozens of houses and Brimob quarters. Among the five casualties was the Brimob vice-commander, Mayor Pol. Eddy Susanto. The number of casualties was retricted because the local residents could flee in time.

What to expect in the near future

Apparently the muslim forces not just want to dominate the Moluccas, but they don't want any christian presence in the Moluccas. In the North Moluccas they have already succeeded in cleansing most islands from all what is christian: the islands of Ternate, Tidore. Morotai, Obi, Bacan, Sula aare 100% muslim now. Only the relative small islands of Mangole and Taliabu are still untouched: muslims and christians there live in peace together.

The town of Ambon is more and more being surrounded by the Jihad Troops, who in this way will prevent any christians to escape from the great-scale slaughter they have in mind and is apt to be launched any moment now.

Conclusion

What is happening now, cannot possibly be called any more 'riots' either 'violence' or 'bloody confict' or even 'war'. Since there is no reason at all for the latest assaults of the muslim troops on the christian civilians, it can only be called ORGANIZED COLD-BLOODED MURDERING OF INNOCENT PEOPLE, conceded by the muslims themselves by means of the loudspeakers on their mosques who call for annihilating those 'christian infidels'.

The security forces, who overwhelmingly consist of muslim troops, have to choose to be loyal either to their military oath or their religious conviction. Besides, they are being confronted now with strongly motivated Jihad fighters with equal weaponry. These factors make them more and more choosing the side of the muslim attackers, letting them do their destructive activities, in many cases even supporting them by shooting at the same target i.e. the christians.

The christians are trying to defend themselves to their last drop of blood, but are outnumbered and do not have adequate weapons. They are ready to die, but not without the world to know what has been done to them. The Indonesian Government, though undoubtedly wishing this mass murdering to end, has not the military forces that are able to put a halt to this 'Holy Murdering'.

The christians address a (possibly last) urgent appeal on the outside world, especially the United Nations' Security Council and Human Rights Commission, to come and bring about peace in the Moluccas.


Report no. 2

Ambon, June 23, 2000

Yesterday all day long, the christian young people, together with the police force, tried to slow down the offensive of the muslim/jihad troops who are backed up by the military with their panzer vehicles, towards various christian neighbourhoods in the town of Ambon. However, the christians are outnumbered and the police-force does not possess adequate weapons and have virtually no ammunition left.

The military commander, Max Tamaela, confessed on local TV that the image of the military has reached its lowest possible stage.

When the Brimob Police Headquarters at Tantui were overrun and set to flames by the muslim troops 3 days ago, they also laid hands on the police weapons depôt, from where they took all weaponry, ammunition and also a number of police uniforms.

Some local events:

Yesterday the muslim/jihat troops were closing in on Batugantung: many women and children took refuge to safer places. The nearby Telkom building at Tanah Lapang Kecil was partly burned. Part of the 'Ukim' (Christian Theological University) at Tanah Lapang Kecil was burned down, the women students' quarters and the docents' mansion were destroyed/burned down. The Protestant church 'Sinar Kasih' at nearby Perigi Lima has been burned as well. A still unknown number of houses, too, became prey of the flames. The military paved the way for the attackers with panzer vehicles.

At the other end of the town, the Catholic 'Hative' hospital at Tantui was looted and, judging by the billowing clouds of smoke that could be witnessed from the village of Poka at the opposite shore of the bay of Ambon, is supposed to have been burned down.

At this very moment the muslim/jihad troops are crossing the bridge of Galala. They are expected to control the general electricity supply, which is located there, within a couple of hours and, of course, will cut off the christian quarters of the town from any electricity supply, thus cutting the christians off from the outside world.

The muslims have protested to the police commander about using the Polda Headquarters at Batumeja for sheltering christian refugees from the Petra/Ahuru area, thus taking sides. If they were not removed from there immediately, they would attack these Police Headquarters The new commander had no choice than to obey, asking us to take care of the remaining 100 refugees at the Polda. So they are now with us at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre (Puspaskup), opposite the Police Headquarters.

We have learned about measures to be taken by the government at Jakarta, but we fear that it may already be too late, since smoke is already rising up from Galala.

There is an IMMEDIATE NEED FOR LOYAL SECURITY FORCES TO BE SENT IN WITHOUT DELAY. If not, a savage slaughtering of christians will take place.

God help us.


Report no. 3

Ambon, June 26, 2000

LATEST DEVELOPMENT IN AMBON

1. During the whole morning, and up to now, in the neighbourhoods of Ahuru and Karang Panjang houses of christians have been burned down. Fierce fighting is taking place there.

2. A large-scale attack is being launched now by the muslim/jihad troops on the neighbourhoods of Pohon Pule / Diponegoro / Urimessing and also in Tanah Lapang Kecil.

3. Apparently the muslim/jihad troops are readying themselves to attack the TNI weaponry storages at Waiheru to obtain weapons and amunition.

All of this very much upsets all people that are of good will.

S.O.S. S.O.S.


Report no. 4

Ambon, June 27, 2000

1. Infantery Batallion Kostrad 141, which is supposed taking the side of the christians, has been withdrawn by its own commander from the area Ahuru / Karang Panjang / Kopertis, to safeguard their lives. Resistance against the Muslim/Jihad troops there is hoped for only from voluntary christian civil fighters. It is crucial for them to hold out, since from Kopertis it is just a 15 minutes_ walk to Kayu Putih, a village in the hills where thousands of christians have taken refuge. A little bit further on are the villages of Soya and Hatalai, also crowded with thousands of christian women and children. Besides, if the muslim/Jihad troops manage to get through to Kayu Putih, the only escape route for christians from the neighbourhood of Batumeja in Ambon town will be cut off, and the thousands of refugees and residents in Batumeja are trapped.

2. In Ambon town: in the Mangga Dua and Batugantung neighbourhoods the muslim/ji-had troops are constantly attacking at this very moment. Likewise christian Mardika is under attack from muslim/jihad fighters.

3. The christian villages of Passo and Poka are under immediate threat from the Jihad troops. Yesterday heavy fighting in Nania, at the opposite side of the Bay of Ambon, was reported. Many casualties among the fighters.

4. Many Jihad troops are constantly streaming in from Namlea on the island of Buru, west of Ambon. They land at Hitu/Hitulama on the north coast of Ambon island, where the jihad training camp is situated. From there they are distributed to the various locations on the island of Ambon.

5. The cargoship 'Isabella', which is much hoped for by the christians to be evacuated, is waiting in Tual (Kei Islands) and doesn't dare to set sail for Ambon.

6. Bank Indonesia has been closed. Money supply has been sealed off. All other banks are closed. No clearings, no money available.

7. Ambon town has three rice stores with ready stock. Two of them are still in hands of the christians, but in isolated areas: Air Salobar and Galala. The third one is in Kebun Cengkeh, an Islam neighbourhood.

8. There is no petroleum (for cooking) and no bensin (for motorvehicles) left for the christians in Ambon town.

9. The Governor (who is a muslim) shelters 200 christian refugees in his own house in the neighbourhood of Mangga Dua, which is under immediate attack now. Yesterday two panser vehicles came to rescue him and take him to _safety_ in the Al-Fatah Mosque. He refused, preferring to stay and possibly to die together with those with him.

Conclusion: Though at midnight CIVIL EMERGENCY was declared, apparently NOTHING HAS CHANGED here nor will change as long as the Jihad Troops have absolute power. S.O.S. S.O.S.


Report no. 5

Ambon, June 28, 2000

1. On June 27, 2000, 'Civil Emergency' for the Provinces of the Moluccas and North Moluccas was declared. So the responsible person is the Governor of the Moluccas, Dr.Saleh Latuconsina. He is assisted by the recently appointed military chief commander Kolonel Infantery I Made Yasa and the Head of the Police Force Brigadir General Firman Gani.

I Made Yasa last night declared on local TV that from now on:

there is from now on a curfew from 10.00 p.m. to 06.00 a.m.

all civilians are required to hand over any weapens to the nearest security forces before July 1st. After that uncompromising measures will be taken to those who do not comply.

All security servicemen (military and police) that have lost contact with their respective sections, are required to report to their units before July 2nd.

2. It is more and more difficult to find appropriate safe places for the refugees. Thousands upon thousands are sheltering with the residents of a number of villages in the hills to the south of Ambon town, several thousands are in the christian catholic and protestant compounds in Batumeja neighbourhood in Ambon town itself. Nowhere their safety can be guaranteed, for the general situation is still very unsecure. They are more and more haunted by the fear of within short facing lack of food and medicines. Several christian areas and refugees_ camps are completely cut off from food- and fuel supply. Price of rice is escalating. All Banks are closed for indefinite time.

3. Many people yearn to be evacuated from the town and island of Ambon, being frightened that the situation will escalate similar to what happened in East Timor or even worse.

4. All morning there has been shooting at the christian neighbourhoods of Pohon Puleh / Manggadua / Tanah Lapang Kecil / Batugantung. The sound of bombs and the like are heard. from that area. Father Titus Rahail Sr. reports from Batugantung that muslim troops seem to try to enter the place, up to now still being stopped by christian civilians. The last few residents around the Hati Kudus church in Batugantung are leaving for a safer place. The situation at Mardika is tense. There seems to be not any effect of the Civil Emergency status, because there is nobody able to enforce it. No jihad warrior is likely to surrender his standard/organic weapons to the weak and seemingly unmotivated security forces. The threating of 'uncompromising measures to be taken' will probably turn out to be mere formality.

5. Fr.Titus Rahail Jr reports by telephone from Tobelo, Halmahera, North Moluccas, that everybody there is on alert. The situation is tense, because n attack by muslim/jihad forces is likely to be launched within short. However, most security forces there are expected to do their duty, except the Battalion Infantery 512.


Report no. 6

Ambon, June 29, 2000

1. Last night on local TV, the governor, Dr.Saleh Latuconsina, expressed his dismay about the BI (Bank Indonesia) and all government- and privately owned Banks in Ambon having stopped their activities since June 27, even without consulting or reporting to the governor. He will hold them responsible for any resulting escalation of disorder.

2. The governor further declared that he intends to persuade and perhaps to order those who have recently come to Ambon with no evident purpose, will be ordered to leave Ambon immediately, apparently in this way trying to free Ambon from the thousands of Jihad warriors. (However, who will enforce such an order?).

3. It is sufficiently evident that the UN has no intention to send in international security forces, since Indonesia itself should be able to handle the conflict. Even if UN forces would come and succeed in putting an end to the violence, you may ask what is going to happen after they will leave again.

4. All night long there were sounds of shooting and exploding bombs in Ambon town, specifically in the neighbourhoods of Petak Sepuluh, Diponegoro, Batugantung, Manggadua and Tanah Lapang Kecil, probably with the intention of provoking further unrest. Yesterday, one casualty was reported by the name of Yopi Tamaela, who, around midday, had returned to his already deserted house in Kampung Kolam / Batugajah to prevent looting, and was killed allegedly by bullets from a military serviceman.

5. At this moment (midday) the situation around the village of Passo (at the farthest end of the bay of Ambon) is reported to be tense. There is some shooting in the village of Galala, east of (adjacent to) Ambon town. Everywhere else it is quiet. Still, people are scared: it may be 'the lull before the storm'.

6. The situation in Tobelo (Halmahera, North Moluccas) is tense. Rumours say that either today or tomorrow a large-scale attack will be launched by islam jihad troops.

7. The thousands of refugees are facing shortage of food and fuel (for vehicles but more specifically for cooking stoves). They can probably hold out only a few more days.

8. These last few days several hundreds of people, both christians and muslims, have fled the island of Ambon by ship (the passenger ships Dobonsolo and Rinjani and the cargoship Isabela) to Papua (W.-Irian), the S.E.Moluccas and elsewhere. The Merpati Airlines flies to and from Jakarta according to schedule: 6 times a week.


Report no. 7

Ambon, June 30, 2000

1. Since yesterday there is no outgoing international telephone communication any more. Incoming connection is incidentally still functioning. Domestic telephone connection is near to normal. E-mail up to now is still functioning worldwide.

2. The motorboat 'Cahaya Bahari', which left Tobelo (Halmaheera, North-Moluccas) for Manado (North Celebes) on June 26, at 14.00 hrs., is assumed to have sunk due to bad weather, poor condition of the vessel and being overcrowded having 490 passengers on board (its capacity being only 350), most of whom women and children, including some badly wounded people, fleeing from Galela/Duma and Tobelo to Manado. Up to now nobody of those on board have been found, dead or alive. No report either about finding any wreckage whatsoever. The 16.00 hrs. national news on TV reported that on June 27, 11.00 hrs, the captain of the vessel radioed that water was coming in through a hole at the right side, flooding the engine room, that pumps were out of order and that they would have just about one hour before going under. Up to June 30, 14.00 hrs., nothing at all, even no debris whatsoever, has been found.

3. At 11.00 hrs., Father Titus Rahail Jr reports from Tobelo that the situation in Tobelo is still tense, not knowing whether or when there will be an assault by jihad troops.

4. In Ambon-town during the night and the whole morning there was some sparse shooting and bombing to be heard in the neighbourhoods of Batugantung/Talake and Mardika. Late afternoon shooting in Batugantung/Talake intensified.

5. Several Banks have opened for people to get cash in limited amounts. The Bank Indonesia promises to resume its activities on July 3rd. Food supply in several Ambon neighbourhoods are changing for the better, though prices are still above normal.

6. People do not generally trust this 'lull', expecting violence to erupt again as long as the thousands of jihadtroops still are in Ambon.

Particularly the christian refugees in the village of Kusu-Kusu, in the hills West of Ambon-town, and in the village of Kayu Putih to the south of Ambon-town, feel upset and threatened now that military from Army Battalion Yonif 303 have come making camp in those areas. The Yonif 303 has a bad name among the christians because are said to be on the side of the muslim/jihad forces. There is no apparent reason for any military forces to stay in these christian areas. Local TV at 19.30 hrs. showed distressed refugees from Kusu-Kusu protesting to the governor about this needless and fearsome presence of in their eyes untrustworthy military in their midst. The governor promised to talk it over with the military chief commander.


Report no. 8

Ambon, July 3, 2000

1. On July 1st and 2nd on the opposite shore of the Bay of Ambon, i.e. at Poka-Rumahtiga, clouds of smoke were to be seen. What, according to protestant 'Maranatha' headquarters, has been burned up to now:

Police Office Baguala at Poka/Rumahtiga & police dwellings

Polytechnical section of the Pattimura University at Poka

Mansions of docents of this polytechnical section

Part of the girls' Secondary School 'SMKK'

A number of houses behind this SMKK.

2. These houses seem to include dwellings of PLN-workers (Poka-based Ambon's main electricity supply generators), causing clerks and workers of the PLN to flee and thus cutting off large parts of the town of Ambon (and probably elsewhere also) from electricity. Our Crisis Centre was cut off for more than 36 hours, having every now and then just an hour of electricity (so this report is being made and sent at this early hour), thus hampering connection to foreign countries by e-mail (outgoing telephone and fax connections having already permanently been cut off earlier). When electricity is cut off, we can only be reached from outside by telephone (no faxing and e-mail possible).

3. The new military chief commander, Mr. I Made Yase, follows the policy of concentrating his security forces in large units instead of (in his eyes) non-efficient small units. This may be wise, were it not that _ peculiarly _ these units are stationed at generally strategically safe and irrelevant locations, such as _at the wrong side_ of the christian refugees centres of Kusu-Kusu, and Kayu Putih. A number of vital and crucial places are left more or less unprotected. Thus this large-scale burning of Poka is considered to have made possible.

4. This new commander gives the impression not to care about people_s wishes and aspirations, even not listening to suggestions from the governor. So, for instance, notwithstanding protests of the villagers and refugees of Kusu-Kusu, Kampung Kolam and Kayu Putih, the presence of the dreaded Yonif 303 at those sites is being consolidated.

5. Sweeping of weapons among the population has started, at least in christian areas. About whether this is done in muslim areas as well, there is no information available.

6. On local TV in the evening of July 2nd, the military and police commanders reported that up to now not all of the 'lost servicemen' had already reported to headquarters though the allotted time had already ended. Policemen who have not reported themselves, amount to 55%. Their commander assumes that maybe they have lost appropriate clothing. They are being given another week to report.


Report no. 9

Ambon, July 3, 2000

1. During the morning some roads were freed from barricades by the military. On local TV just now the Chief Military Commander, I Made Yasa explained that he wants to normalize the situation, so that people can travel by road instead of by motorboats to various destinations such as Tantui and Passo. He promised to stand by on critical locations. He asked to be informed immediately about any snipers_ activities.

2. In Poka, at the opposite shore of the Bay of Ambon, there was still smoke to be seen. There was also thick smoke arising at Ahuru (which is a now totally deserted area at the outskirts of the town), probably the burning of the last two buildings that had been spared up to now: namely the catholic church of St.Jacobus and/or the catholic SMP-School.

3. I Made Yasa acknowledged that up to now NOBODY had used the opportunity to hand over any weapons voluntarily, so today sweeping on weaponry started. Two neighbourhoods were selected to this purpose: namely Galunggung (islam) and Karangpanjang (christian). The result was shown on local TV: confiscation of 10 standard fireweapons (of various kinds), several home-made firearms and _sharp_ weapons. A lot of granades and ammunition.

4. I Made Yasa today asked the military to be really neutral, not choosing sides. He asked the civilians to have trust in his policy and to realize that the capacity of the security forces has its restrictions.

5. This morning the passengerschip 'Dobonsolo' anchored off the coast at Tanjung Benteng; but again the speedboats with passengers were shot at by snipers.

6. TV also showed about 500 muslim volunteers freeing their part of the town from the abundant garbage.

7. Electricity was cut off the whole day long, at least in the neighbourhood of Batumeja. I have no information about other neighbourhoods.


Report no. 10

Ambon, July 5, 2000

1. POKA: Yesterday the whole day long, burning in Poka/Rumahtiga on the opposite side of the Bay of Ambon, escalated, resulting in the burning of large parts of the University Pattimura: namely the Polytechnic section (already the day before laid in ashes), the Law Faculty, the Socio-Political Faculty, the Library, the catholic Campus church, docents' mansions. Enormous clouds of smoke where to been from far away.

Also the christian civilian quarters of Poka and Rumahtiga, including the catholic church, were burned down. Christian people fled in panic on boats across the Bay to the naval base of Halong. A number of christians seem to have been trapped.

The military failed to take appropriate measures: mainly just caring for their own lives; not a few are reported to back up the muslim/jihad fighters. Audimus communicationem inter duces.

All this is apparently an answer to the christians_ attack on muslim quarters at Poka on July 1st. Death-toll up to now unknown. On July 4th the morning newspaper 'Siwalima' reported 6 casualties (3 muslim, 3 christian). Last night there was no local TV-news. This morning there is no newspaper available.

2. Ambon-town is quiet during these last few days, except for moderate shooting and bombing aimed at christian Batugantung neighbourhood. The road to Batugantung has been heavily barricaded by the christians.

3. On July 3rd embarking passengers of the passengership Dobonsolo (christian) were shot at from the shore. Whereas from the (muslim) Rinjani passengership frequent shooting was aimed at the christian quarters of Benteng and Airsalobar, at the western outskirts of the town of Ambon. This shooting was answered from the shore.

4. Electricity is restricted to just one or two hours daily. The crisis centre meanwhile has purchased a generator for communication purposes and for the benefit of the 235 refugees that are with us.

There is still no real hunger among the people in town, but food shortage is imminent. Most government offices are closed. The postoffice and some Banks, too, are closed. Though it is almost incessantly raining, many people are in the streets of Batumeja neighbourhood shopping at the vendors' kiosks in the steets.

5. According to yesterday's newpaper 'Siwalima', the governor has established a consulting team to advise him on optimizing the civil emergency status. This team consists of prominent leaders of the MUI (muslim), the protestant Church and catholic Church and several still active social organisations. The team is also meant to mediate between the civilians and the governor.

6. The only positive result of the civil emergency we can see, is the capturing of quite some weaponry and a lot of standard ammunition and grenades ('bombs'), leaving one to guess how much more there must be being hid.

As a whole it is the impression of the Crisis Centre that the Civil Emergency has worsened the situation: cutting off telephone connection to countries outside Indonesia and controlling mass-media, paving the way for spreading lies and false information. The governor, reponsible for the Civil Emergency, is trusted to be honest, however not able to handle the worsening situation.

7. Our commentary on the new Military Chief Commander, Mr. I Made Yasa: His strategy of positioning the security forces is confusing and disappointing many peace-minded people. What happened these days in Poka is the result of clearly wrong strategy. People have the impression that the strategy of withdrawing the forces from endangered and risky locations, relocating them on relatively quiet and safe places, far from the conflict-areas, is part of a certain design i.e. the wish of protracting the conflict or creating the opportunity to bring about new unanticipated conflicts, which hardly can be met by the security forces, since most of them are staying far from the endangered places and have to face various difficulties to arrive timely at those locations. We have the impression that the Governor, being responsible for the enforcing the Civil Emergency, is disappointed as well.

Many people really doubt the professionalism, honesty and sincereness of this new Military Commander, who apparently does not want to listen to the genuine aspirations both from the people and from the Governor.


 

Report no. 11

Ambon, July 5, 2000

Just now a catholic trusted policeman managed to cross the mountains coming to town from Halong. Representing several ten thousands of refugees from Galala to Passo, he asks:

1. Help for immediate evacuation of all refugees to a safe place.

2. To send in Navy forces to this purpose immediately.

3. The Military Chief Commander (I Made Yasa) must be asked to explain his failure to direct the army forces to establish security in Ambon. Basically the conflict appears to be between the christians and the army security forces.

4. To withdraw the Army and to send in Brimob Police and Marinirs forces.

5. There is immediate need for food and medicines for the ten thousands of refugees in the area.

6. Immediate help from the United Nations to prevent a large-scale butchering of ten thousands of trapped christians.

7. The Churches and Social organisations to stop all humanitarian aid to the muslims.

There are wide-spread rumours that next July 7 - 9, the big attack on Ambon town will be launched. Often rumours have prove to be true. S.O.S.


 

Report no. 12

Ambon, July 6, 2000

1. Specification on the recent violence in Poka-Rumahtiga. Summary of report in the (christian-operated) newspaper of July 6, 2000:

During the last few days Ambon experienced unprecedented violence in the large christian villages of Poka/Rumahtiga/Wailela on the opposite shore of the Bay of Ambon. Material damage: several thousands of houses of christians, nine churches and the major part of the University Pattimura burned and destroyed. The 'Universitas Pattimura' is the principal university of the Moluccas. The main attack was carried out on July 4th by several thousands of muslims, assisted by part of the military, starting at noon. Thousands of christians fled to the nearby coast, meanwhile being chased by muslims, who still still were shooting at them while those fleeing were swimming to the nearest anchored fishingboats and other vessels. From Galala, on the opposite shore, where the bay is narrowing, christians sent speedboats, but mainly could only watch and weep because of what they witnessed happening in the distance. No vessels were provided by the navy. About 3000 thousand christians, who could not find any tranport across the bay, fled to the military Zipur-5 quarters at Rumahtiga, but their safety cannot be guaranteed there either, so they are waiting anxiously for transport to Gudang Arang / Benteng (Ambon-town) or elswhere on the opposite shore. The military could only prevent the electricity power generators at Poka to be burned down.

The Governor, responsible for the Civil Emergency, tried to go to Poka in order to see for himself what damage had been done, however apparently his safety could not be guaranteed. No number of casualties available up to now.

2. Mgr. P.C.Mandagi MSC, Bishop of Amboina, arrived at Ambon several days ago. After having various consultations, it was decided that he together with the Chairman of the Protestant Church of the Moluccas and the Chairman of the Protestant Evangelical Church of the North Moluccas, will immediately leave for Geneva to discuss the situation in the Moluccas with the Human Rights Commission of the UN. To this purpose a formal request, in the name of all christians of the Moluccas and North Moluccas, was addressed to the three of them by the Auxiliary Bishop of Amboina, Msgr J.Tethool, and the Secretary General of the Protestant Church of the Moluccas, Ds. Max M.Siahaya STh.

3. Yesterday, July 5th, there was no violence reported, except, in the afternoon, the burning of a catholic church at the outskirts of the christian village of Waai, near the islam village of Tulehu. Since this morning the village of Waai is being attacked from both sides: from Tulehu and from Liang (islam). The villagers have asked the Protestant Maranatha Crisis Centre for vessels to evacuate them. Their urgent request for help to the navy & army was of no avail.

4. Ten thousands of christians from Ambon-town to Passo are desperately waiting to be evacuated from the island. But nobody, either the government or foreign agencies seem to be willing to come to their aid.

5. One of our office assistants arrived from the refugee camp at Halong, reporting that at that camp at the naval base of Halong. where are now more than 10.000 christian refugees (and some muslim refugees, separated), they have fear of the hundreds of military who are now being concentrated there.

The refugees are allotted a kilo of rice a week, leaving them hungry and weak.

6. We fear that a large-scale attack on Ambon-town is imminent. The escape route to Soya is just a narrow road: probably panicking people will trample each other to death. However, up to now people just keep on the ready with their few belongings packed.


 

Report no. 13

Ambon, July 7, 2000

1. Report on the muslim attack on the christian village of WAAI, July 6. Waai lies in the N.E. part of the island of Ambon.

Thursday, July 6th, early in the morning, the muslims attacked the village from three sides: from the large islam village of Tulehu (to the south), from the islam village of Liang (to the north) and from the seaside (to the east). The number of attackers was estimated at several thousands of warriors. They started chasing the villagers and burning the place right away, using standard weaponry, granades and mortirs. Most of the villagers ran for safety to the woods to the west of the village. Some managed to board two speed boats.

Preceding this attack, Waai' feeling endangered' had already asked the military chief commander, I Made Yasa, for protection. The governor himself, too, addressed the same request to him, and others as well. Nevertheless no heed was paid to these urgent appeals. Because of road barricades and shortage of boats, it is very difficult to send troops to Waai on short notice, so they should be there timely. But what happened hat just the opposite way: troops that were stationed there, were withdrawn. The governor protested, but in vain.

At the very start of the attack, the villagers called in the help of the military at Suli (to the south), but they said that they had not been ordered to go to Waai, so they could not help. At the same time at the military headquarters in Ambon-town there was a ceremony taking place: thanksgiving for the promotion of Mr. I Made Yasa from Colonel becoming Brigadir General. He acknowledged on TV last night, that he had not been able to send military to the threatened location in time.

We cannot but conclude that Mr. I Made Yasa on purpose creates the opportunity of christian communities being destroyed by muslim masses, such as (recently) Poka-Rumahtige/Wailela and now Waai.

Number of casualties in Waai is still unknown.

2. We learn about the sending in of several battalions of military to the Moluccas. However, it is not the number of military that will save the trapped christians but their quality and appropriate strategy of positioning them on the right places and their determination to defend the defenseless. The christians definitely are in extreme want of any aid from any one who cares and is willing to save our lives.

3. At least some 100.000 christians need immediate evacuation, because they are in grave dang-er to be killed mercilessly by the muslim/jihad troops. Besides, more and more refugees are starving due to increasing lack of rice and other food.

4. Actual endangered sites are now: the large christian village of Passo (at the end of the bay), the road to Soya (attack expected from Ahuru, thus cutting off the only escape route from Batumeja in Ambon-town) and Mardika/Batumeja (attack from Batumerah).

5. Personal opinion of Father C.J.Böhm: how is it possible that the Pattimura University and so many other public facilities are being destroyed? If Ambon is to be made 100% islam, they will need those facilities. So couldn't all this destroying be a revenge from the Javanese Jihads and military on what 55 years ago, during the revolution against the Dutch, the Ambonese Dutch-allied KNIL military did to the Javanese? There may have been slumbering a grudge against the Moluccas during all these years.


 

Report no. 14

Ambon, July 8, 2000

1. Yesterday was quiet, because probably the muslim fighters needed rest and strategical relocation. The whole day long nervousness and anxiety in the christian quarters was notable. At Batumeja, where lately, like in other parts of the town of Ambon, supply of electricity was reduced to one or two hours daily, we enjoyed (and enjoy up to now) uninterrupted electricity supply. So apparently the power station at Poka is functioning normally again, besides, there is no need any more to administer electric power to the wiped-out large villages of Wailela, Rumahtiga and Poka.

2. The Governor, as responsible of the civil emergency, ordered all docking ships to be inspected on questionable persons and equipment. Orders like these have been issued earlier on various occasions. However, without competent enforcing security forces, such orders are ineffective.

3. A Pattimura University spokesman assured the 6.800 students who still are enlisted as students (many having withdrawn due to earlier riots) that anyhow the university will continue its program, will even admit new first-year students. Nobody however has gone to the site of the burned-down Campus to draw up an estimation of the damage. The spokesman said that, "judging by the amount of smoke which was to be seen from afar", at least 60% of the buildings had been destroyed.

4. According to the (christian-run) local daily newspaper 'Siwalima' from July 8, the chief military commander, I Made Yassa, acknowledges that about 'only' 5% of the military is 'contaminated' as collaborator of the muslim fighters (which means he concedes at least 350 military to be on the side of the muslim attackers!).

5. Today's 'Siwalima' reports that the Jihad chief commander, Jafar Umat Thalib, refuses any interview with Siwalima reporters, 'because he has antipathy towards this newspaper'.

6. Today's 'Siwalima' further reports on the tragedy of the destroying of the village of Waai the day before yesterday. Of the hundreds of houses, only five have been spared. Public facilities like schools, churches, police quarters etc., too, have been burned down. The death-toll among the villagers is at least 17, among whom 6 women (list of names is included), 10 wounded (list of names included); 6 are missing. Witnesses of the attack confirm that part of the military forces ostensibly chose the side of the muslim troops. The attack was carried out using modern standard weaponry. Two units (compagnies) of military, sent in by I Made Yasa, got no further than the nearby muslim village of Tulehu. The (christian operated) daily newspaper _Suara Maluku_ reports also the number of Islam casualties at Waai, being 5 fighter killed, whereas 41 are reported to be injured.

7. The death-toll among the security forces during the attacks on Poka/Rumahtiga and Waai is limited to just one military being killed. Death-toll of civilians and muslim/jihads in Poka/Rumahtiga/Wailela is unknown.

The number of refugees from Poka/Rumahtiga/Wailela is about 30.000. They are being sheltered at this side of the bay in the villages of Passo, Lateri, Latta, Halong and in Ambon-town.

8. The military chief commander, I Made Yassa, acknowledges to reporters of the 'Suara Maluku' newspaper, that the muslim/jihad troops outdo the security forces in numbers and equipment/weaponry.

9. A catholic policeman, coordinator of the christian refugees from Tantui up to Passo, just came and reported that meanwhile the total number of refugees in that area has increased to about 60.000. They live in very miserable circumstances, many of them being ill, hungry and weeping of desperation. For nobody cares but with words.

Besides, it was overheard that the next attacks will be directed at Kudamati (Ambon-town) and Passo (at the end of the bay). Indeed there seems to be a concentration of muslim/jihad forces on both places. Also the airport at Laha and the christians of Laha are endangered. The ten thousands of refugees of Passo still hope to be able to flee to the mountains, where they probably will be hunted and killed as well. The military, fearing for there own lives, will undoubtedly either save themselves or choose the side of the attackers.

IMMEDIATE EVACUATION is of supreme importance. S.O.S. S.O.S. S.O.S.


 

Report no. 15

Ambon, July 10, 2000

1. Yesterday, Sunday, was quiet. Last night there was some shooting at Laha (near the airport), supposedly coming from muslims.

2. We were informed that Mgr.P.C.Mandagi, Bishop of Amboina, together with the Chairman of the Gereja Protestan Maluku and the Chairman of the Gereja Masehi Injili Halmahera were to leave from Jakarta to Geneva last night 19.00 hrs, West Indonesian Time. They intend to meet several commissions of the United Nations and discuss on how to resolve the conflict.

3. Yesterday the Diocesan Crisis Centre sent by e-mail a personal letter to Mr.Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations at New York, with an urgent appeal to take steps to end the violence in the Moluccas and the North Moluccas.

4. Local TV reports that the governor is considering total isolation of the Moluccas and North Moluccas for safety reasons.

5. The Police Chief Commander, Mr. Firman Gani, suggests to try and realize a kind of 'cease-fire' between the muslims and christians. But others say that would perhaps do if it was a horizontal conflict, but this conflict is obviously a vertical one.

6. Inside information from Tual, officially still unconfirmed, tells us that recently some 300 jihad warriors have come to Tual, the capital of the S.E.Moluccas (Kabupaten Maluku Tenggara). Tual lies on the island of Kei-Kecil. We were informed also that on the nearby island of Kei-Besar, specifically at the large village of Banda-Eli (which is 100% muslim) a mysterious landing boat has disembarked "people from elsewhere". The Kei-islands have a population of roughly 1/3 catholics, 1/3 protestants, 1/3 muslims. There were short-lived but fierce clashes there between (mainly protestant) christians and muslims in April-Mei 1999. But people now live in peace together.

7. According to this morning's 'Suara Maluku' newspaper, a speedboat with christians on its voyage from Haria (island of Saparua) to Tihulale (near Kairatu, on the south coast of the island of Ceram) was shot at by another speedboat, killing two of the passengers.

8. The in Ambon stationed Brimob Police Forces are being relocated in other parts of the Moluccas, probably being replaced by Brimob Forces from elswhere in the Moluccas. Reason of their departure from Ambon is: their trauma due to the loss of housing and property during the assault on Brimob headquarters at Tantui on June 21. An additional 3 Compagnies of Brimob Forces are reported to be on their way to Ambon from outside the Moluccas area.


 

Report no. 16

Ambon, July 13, 2000

1. During the last few days there was sparse shooting on several places in town: Benteng, Mardika, Tanah Lapang Kecil. Last night there was even quite turbulent shooting and bombing to be heard at the neighbourhoods of Batugajah and Diponegoro. Muslims seem to try and provoke christian younsters into action, giving themselves reason for reaction. In Mardika the protestant minister persuaded the young christians just to go home and leave the matter to the military, i.c. a relative neutral and trustworthy battalion, the Yonif Kostrad 509; they complied. In Benteng it was the military themselves who urged the young christians not to retaliate. There was also report about some shooting at the village of Laha near the airport (opposite shore of the bay) a few days ago.

2. At this very moment many muslims are amassing at Pohon Puleh (the bottleneck between Batumeja and the western quarters of the town of Ambon) and Diponegoro neighbourhood, ready to launch an assault on christian quarters. Security forces are trying to neutralize the situation and to disperse the crowd.

3. On local TV and via newspapers, the Governor confirms that at Yos Sudarso Harbour Ambon, 160 containers with food and other basic needs are waiting to be opened. However the harbour, which is near the central Al-Fatah Mosque, lies in a muslim dominated area. These containers were shipped from Surabaya and have been at the harbour emplacement since June 17th. There is going to be an effort to 'free' these containers for the benefit of the citizens and refugees with help from the military security forces. No other cargo ships from outside the Moluccas have docked here since June 17th.

4. Recently the 321 Kostrad Battalion was added to the TNI security forces of Ambon.

5. Yesterday more than 2000 refugees boarded the 'Dobonsolo' passengership for Sorong (Irian/Papua). Most of them will from there go on to Kei/Tanimbar/Tepa/Kisar and Manado.

The small cargoship Eliana is to take some 300 refugees to the S.E.Moluccas within a few days. Several ten thousands of people are waiting anxiously to be evacuated, expecting that after this lull, the muslim/jihad warriors will strike even more forcefully.

6. About the presence of any jihad warriors in Tual and Banda-Eli (Kei-islands) there has up to now no confirmation been obtained from our Crisis Centre in Tual.

7. From the christian enclave of Tobelo, island of Halmahera, North Moluccas, no disturbing news is reported.


 

Report no. 17

Ambon, July 14, 2000

1. Saparua: Tuesday July 11th somebody from the islam village of Sirisori, island of Saparua, not far from Ambon, shot two residents of the village of Ulath (Bobby Nikiyuluw and his son Sammy Nikiyuluw) as they where going to the woods. Consequently the situation on Saparua island has become tense.

2. On Thursday, July 13th, there were various violent incidents. Though not yet being able to obtain confirmation from Military and Police spokesmen, today's (christian operated) local newspaper 'Siwalima' reports:

a) Mutual shooting between some speedboats in the Bay of Ambon at about 8.00 a.m., injuring four Muslims.

b) Rioting at Yos Sudarso harbour, when security forces came to assist the safeguarding and openeing of 160 containers that were shipped from Surabaya and have been idling at the harbour emplacement since June 17th.

c) Heavy shooting and bombing took place at neighbourhoods of Diponegoro, Pohon Puleh, Batugantung, Kampung Kolam and other nearby town-quarters. Among the christians five are reported to be killed, more than a dozen injured, mainly by bullets. There is no definite report on casualties on the other side, but it is said that among the security forces at least one was killed and among the muslims four were injured. In Diponegoro Atas, seven houses were burned down. Christians from Batugantung / Kampung Ganemo witnessed that several military panzer vehicles directed their shooting at these christian quarters although there were not any agitators there.

Among the five christian casualties, there were at least two who were not involved in battle at all: they were just driving their car going home, when they were shot by snipers. It is very distressful that up to now so many uninvolved citizens have been killed, be it underway or in the front-yard of their houses.

d) The whole night, up to this morning, the fighting has been heard still to be going on. According to 'Siwalima' newspaper, security forces confiscated weaponry from eleven rioters. Reportedly there was found on them also certain drugs, that are said to be a stimulant for fearless fighting and killing and other criminal actions.

3. A prominent former member of the Moluccas Legislative Council, Mr. Drs.Z.J. Apituley (christian), declared on July 10th to the local mass media that indeed the situation in the Moluccas has entirely got out of control. He summons up the tremendous devastation which has been carried out during these last few weeks. Apart from hundreds of casualties, whole villages and town-quarters have been wiped out. Two universities have been destroyed, also several medical centres, police offices, telecommunication facilities, schools etc. Mr.Apituley emphasizes that it is unimaginable that ethnic Moluccans are behind all these destructive activities that ruin the Moluccas. Only some private personal interests in the destruction of these two Provinces, can explain the presence of those ruthless jihad warriors, who have no respect whatsoever for Moluccan values and heritage.

Mr.Apituley suggests:

a) Non-ethnic Moluccas to leave both Moluccas Provinces and let the Moluccans themselves clear up the mess;

b) The Provinces of the Moluccas and North Moluccas to be granted special autonomous status, comparable to what applies to Aceh (North Sumatra). The President of Indonesia should allow the Moluccas to take care of themselves, with assistance of the United Nations.

In this stage of the unrest, the mutual violence is not carried out any longer by locals but is directed by influential people from the country's capital. That is why the United Nations should intervene, if only to protect hundreds of thousands of innocent people who are distressed, panicking, scared to the death, stripped from all protection against evil aggressors.

4. The sea in and around the Moluccas and North Moluccas is said to be controlled by seven Navy vessels. According to Lieutenant Colonel Ditya Soedarsono in Surabaya (Java), last Monday and Tuesday again three motorboats were found to carry weaponry. The crew and passengers have been sent back "to where they came from", whereas the vessels have been secured at the Moluccas naval harbour.


 

Report no. 18

Ambon, July 15, 2000

1. The shooting and bombing in the neighbourhood of Diponegoro etc. we reported about in our report no. 17: sub 2 c), continued on July 16th, increasing in force during the afternoon and night, and still going on up to now. An additional 3 casualties among the fighters was reported. The local daily newspaper 'Siwalima' could not verify who in fact were/are the two combatting parties: whether the security forces against rioters, or christians against muslims. What at least is known that in that area there are hardly any christians left. Also what triggered this latest confrontation, is not clear. Some say that it started with the arrest of eleven persons by the Yonif 509 battalions carrying standard weaponry (see report no. 17: sub 2 d)) last Thursday evening. Others say that there just happened to be a concentration of muslims in Diponegoro, which, according to orders, were to be dispersed ("Any gathering of more than 10 persons with no evident honest purpose is prohibited").

2. The citizens in town were and are apparently hardly influenced by what was/is happening in those quarters of the town; people going along with shopping and other daily business.

3. Still there are regularly reports from eye-witnesses that part of the military is involved in these clashes, notably being on the side of the muslim/jihad troops. So more and more can be heard this opinion: If the military persist in their non-neutrality, let the President withdraw all military from the Moluccas and North Moluccas and replace them with police forces or marinirs.

Others see as only solution the intervention of UN Security Forces. For if this unrest is not ended within short, it will end in admitting and unwittingly consolidating the actual situation i.e. the christians being expelled from large areas, such as from almost the whole of the North Moluccas Province (there are only christians left in Tobelo on Halmahera and on the islands of Taliabu and Mangole), large parts of the island of Ceram, the whole island of Buru, whole quarters of the town of Ambon and a number of villages on Ambon island. Though recently the Governor of the North Moluccas and the Sultan of Ternate invited the christians (most of whom have fled to Manado / North Celebes) to come back and live peacefully again together with the muslims, to those christians such thing is a mere utopia!

4. It is getting more and more difficult to obtain daily food and basic commodities. The number of people who come to our Crisis Centre, either personally or by means of a group coordinator, is increasing daily, with virtually always these two requests:

Logistics / food

Evacuation

Financially we mainly depend on the Emergency and Relief Department of Cordaid (the Netherlands), which up to now has been assisting us generously. Ten thousands of christians in Ambon, and at least 1.500 christians in Masohi (Ceram) are waiting to be evacuated. During the last few days we managed to get 163 persons on the _Dobonsolo_ passengership to Sorong. We will try to help several thousands of others (mostly catholics, thus being agreed on with the protestant Crisis Centre) securing a place on a ship and paying for their fare. Of course to this purpose we call on the government as well, but up to with no result. So we are very much in debt of those who financially help us in taking these people to safety. We hope we may count on further financial assistance from those who are capable and wishing to help.


 

Report no. 19

Ambon, July 16, 2000

1. Saturday afternoon, July 15th, an almost unprecedented outburst of thunderous shooting and bombing started, accompanied by burning, in Ambon-town neighbourhoods of Diponegoro, Pohon Puleh and Manggadua. This went on the whole night long and has not stopped yet up to this moment. We have no witnesses up to now, and have to trust on 'what is said' and what can be heard and seen from afar: i.e. numerous shooting and fierce burnings.

Last night at about 21.00 hrs. I could see from the roof large-scale fire at Diponegoro/ Batugajah and supposed that it was the Military 'Kodam XVI Pattimura' Headquarters. But this turned out to be incorrect: it were nearby houses and the protestant 'Sejahtera' church that were on fire.

We learn that in Manggadua a lot of christian houses have been burned, up to close to the Governor's residence.

The shooting at Diponegoro/Batugajah last night seemed to advance into the direction of Batumeja (the neighbourhood we actually live), so many started packing a few belongings, eady to flee to the villages of Kayu Putih. Soya etc. in the nearby hills.

2. Up to now we do not know for sure who are the opponents, but it seems to have started as a conflict between the military themselves, soon after being backed on one side by the christians and the police, on the other side by the muslims and jihads.

3. Today the cargoship 'Eliana', chartered by the local government, sets sail from Passo to Waipirit (Ceram) and from there straight on to the S.E. Moluccas (Tual - Larat - Saumlaki - Tepa) with about 400 refugees on board.

Tomorrow the 'Dobonsolo' passengership will leave, according to its routine schedule, for Denpasar / Kupang / Surabaya / Jakarta, having almost 3000 refugees on board.

4. The christians feel more and more endangered and cornered. It is evident that all talking and measures that are issued by the Government, both in Jakarta and in Ambon, have no effect whatsoever. Nothing is changing for the better. On the contrary, things get worse and worse.

One of the reasons, in our opinion, is the rather unprofessional way of tackling the skirmishes:

Orders from the Military chief comander are not followed up by the subordinate commanders, p.e. about the measures to be taken towards those who are illegally in possession of fireweapons.

The aggressors already know that the military always shoot in the air and do not aim at the attackers. So they move forward fearlessly and the military withdraw or turn around. WHY IS THERE NO TEARGAS or WATERCANON or RUBBER BULLETS as a far more appropriate way of dispersing masses???

5. The christians uncessantly cry out: if nobody can stop this fighting, killing and burning, please send at least more ships to evacuate us! S.O.S.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 20 - 29
(July 17 - 31, 2000)

Report no. 20

Ambon, July 17, 2000

1. Last night the local daily TV-news was cancelled, since no reporter had managed to come close to the sites where the assaults were going on. Neither were the Governor and other responsible persons avaible to be interviewed.

2. From today's local newspaper 'Suara Maluku', we extract a summary about recent events as follows:

a) Its main headline: 'AMBON KOTA BARBAR' (Ambon the barbaric town).

There is no mentioning of 'a battle', let alone between whom. It is just a report on assaults, shooting, bombing, burning by muslim forces. The muslim assailants were witnessed to use standard army weapons and ammunition.

b) All of the attacked locations are in the town of Ambon, mainly the town-quarters of Diponegoro and nearby Airmata Cina and Urimessing and took place on July 15 and 16, including the whole night between. Gradually the attacking muslims troops entered Pohon Pule and Manggadua, where a still uncounted number of houses was burned. Part of Manggadua is a 'VIP'-quarter, with i.a. the residences of the Governor and the Police Chief Commander.

c) The sad result: many dozens of houses burned, one church, namely the 'Sinar Kasih' church (the second one of the same name to be burned) burned down, a pedagogic academy and an elementary school burned down as well. Hundreds of families fled for safer places, leaving their houses to be devastated. More than a dozen people were killed, of whom 7 muslims. Also two christian women in Batugantung were killed by a mortir bomb launched from far away (a woman and a 4-year old girl, who - tragically - had fled to 'safety' from Manggadua). Several dozens of people injured. A fews members of the security forces, too, were injured.

d) Are mansions of the Governor and the Police Chief Commander in Manggadua target of a next assault? Fact is that a mortir (which did not explode) fell 100 meters short of the Governor's house and 50 meters short of the Police Commander's house. It was even believed that another mortir fell and exploded in the compound of the Governor's house. Asked for confirmation by the Suara Maluku, the Governor was not accessible, being occupied with the refugees in his house (on earlier occasion we already reported that he is sheltering some 200 christian refugees). But his adjudant declared that nothing of this had happened.

3. Today, during the morning, all was quiet. At this moment - Monday afternoon - moderate shooting is being heard at nearby Diponegoro / Batu Gajah.

4. From Tobelo, a threatened christian centre on the island of Halmahera, North Moluccas, it is reported that the situation is constantly under control. No unrest was reported to have happened there during the last few weeks.

5. People in town fear that within one or two days new assaults from muslim forces are to be expected, there being nothing and nobody to stop them in their ultimate goal, which seems to be: the devastation of Ambon and the annihation of all what is christian. It is hard to believe that autochthon/local muslims endorse such program.


 

Report no. 21

Ambon, July 19, 2000

1) Today's local newspaper 'Suara Maluku' provides rather detailed information on yesterday's unrest, which started at about 11.00 a.m. with the burning of a number of houses in Manggadua town-quarters by muslim/jihad warriors.

At 13.00 hrs. another muslim mass tried to break through to a christian school complex at Urimessing; but christian civilians succeeded holding on. This happened at a distance of about fifty meters from the Military Kodam XVI Headquarters, but the military seemingly did not care.

Not long after a renewed attempt was launched, including the Adventist church as one of the targets, but to no avail.

Next target of the muslim/jihad troops was a christian settlement at Pohon Puleh. Initially they could be stopped by the army battalion 509, but eventually these had to withdraw for the shooting and burst of granades from the attackers, who were assisted by part of military of a not-mentioned battalion.

During the night there was a real war going on in Diponegoro quarters. Defenders, including four panzer vehicles, could not prevent part of the buildings on Diponegoro Broadway being burned.

In Urimessing, too, muslim/jihad troops executed further burning, after which from the islam quarters of Waihaong the loudspeakers could be heard proclaiming 'Takbir Allah' probably to gather muslim people and give them spirit to fight,

 

2) Last night hundreds of hysterical weeping people came fleeing from Diponegoro/Batu Gajah to our neighbourhood of Batumeja, taking shelter in the government elementary school opposite the Sisters' Convent. Some Sisters went there to neutralize the situation and pray with the people.

3) 'Suara Maluku' also reports that the Governor as responsible of the Civil Emergency state, intends to isolate certain areas of the Moluccas Province, especially the island of Ambon. This means that people who have no business in Ambon, will not be allowed to enter the area, whereas non-Moluccans will be sent away (This will probably turn out to be another of all those measures and instructions which have no visible effect).

Also local vessels like speed boats will be put under controll, for instance by allocating certain places along the shore where they have to report.

4) The Military Chief Commander, Mr. I Made Yasa, told the reporters of the newsmedia that he will send the Jihad warriors off the island.

On the same occasion he (again) acknowledged that a number of military security forces are 'involved' in the riots. The Zipur V battalion (which is most critized and feared by the christians) will be sent back to East Java. Also the (totally ineffective) military units in the quarters of Diponegoro and Airmata Cina will be replaced. Howeve, can this be realized? When? We hope it will be soon!


 

Report no. 22

Ambon, July 20, 2000

1. Local daily newspaper _Siwalima_ this morning reflects on the recents events: the total destruction of the large villages of Poka/Rumahtiga/Wailela on the opposite shore of the Bay of Ambon last week and the recent total burning of the christian Ambon-town quarters of Diponegoro and Airmata Cina. It provides sufficient evidence that the security forces simply are not adept to protect the civilians and their properties and put an end to the unrest.

One of the soldiers confessed to 'Siwalima' that a number of military involved themselves in the assaults on these christian quarters. He further said that there are not only casualties on christian side. He witnessed that the muslim/jihad warriors attacked 'en masse' and had no fear to be killed. He did not exclude the possibility that they had been drugged with - what he called - 'mad dog drugs' in order to free them from fear of death and to boost their determination to kill.

Asking for information from the muslim headquarters about their number of casualties, 'Siwalima' got no answer. But unofficial and unconfirmed military information put the recent deathtoll of muslim/jihads and involved military at more than a hundred, and those injured far more than a hundred.

2. According to 'Siwalima', yesterday, July 19th, there was further burning in the christian quarter of Diponegoro, but at last the attackers could be halted by christian civilians and military.

Snipers, too, were active yesterday, killing a 18 year old boy and injuring a man of 20 years old.

At this moment, July 20; 09.00 a.m., again black smoke can be seen arising from Diponegoro not far from the Military Kodam XVI Pattimura Headquarters.

3. Again the governor emphasized his determination to expell from Ambon any one whose presence here fuels the unrest, apparently indicating the Jihads The details on this operation have already been worked out and will be carried out 'at the right moment'. Also the Military Chief Commander, Mr. I Made Yasa confirmed to the press that he is ready to prevent outsiders entering Ambon and to expell from Ambon those who have no business here. He said: "We are just waiting for orders from the Responsible of the state of civil emergency (the governor) to send the jihad warriors home, facing any risk of violence as a result of doing so".

4. Meanwhile on 18 July another Infantery Battalion arrived at Ambon, the Yonif [short for Batalyon Infanteri] 623/Wirabhakti Utama from Banjarmasin (Kalimantan) to replace another not yet named Battalion.

5. The chairman of the Town Council (DPRD Kotamadya Ambon), Drs. Jopie Papilaya declared to 'Siwalima', that this whole area is destined to be surrendered to total destruction if things go on like they are going now. He said: "Again and again I have stressed that, if the behaviour of the military and the security forces in general do not change for the better, the Maluku conflict will never end, notwithstanding the Civil Emergency State". He regretted that so many lives have been lost and so much property and public facilities have been destroyed. "I do not understanad the way the unrest in the town is being handled& The strategy of stationing the security forces in Ambon, does not make sense at all, and I do not exclude the possibility that this is being done on purpose".

6. Several combined christian women's organisations sent an appeal for evacuation to the Presiden and the Vice President. We include the text in Indonesian and its translation in English.


 

Report no. 23

Ambon, July 22, 2000

1. Though as a whole the disturbances have calmed down, nevertheless yesterday, July 21, there was still some shooting to be heard at Diponegoro and Urinessing town-quarters. Also one building was burned, supposedly by islam troops. There were also snipers active, injuring at least one person.

2. The Governor, Dr. Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina, declared to the press that he had already ordered the Military Chief Commander, Brig.General TNI I Made Yasa, to remove and send back all jihad fighters, since they have caused much damage and suffering towards both christians and muslims in both Moluccas areas. To this purpose the Navy has been asked for transportation. The population is demanding and eagerly waiting for the realization of this order.

3. One battalion of military and three battalions of Brimob Police forces will be added to the security forces within short.

4. The number of refugees is steadily increasing, but the christian area is more and more diminishing. Could _ for instance _ recently the christians in Poka/Rumahtiga shelter several hundreds of refugees, now they themselves (all of them!) have become refugees. No need to tell that there are hardly any buildings or private houses left without refugees. So that several thousands of people have no choice than to live in either unfinished building sites or (often makeshift) tents.

5. The capture of Poka/Rumahtiga has also brought the muslim fighters a strategic advantage: they have control now of the narrow passage (used to be the location of the ferry-boat) in the Bay of Ambon, thus being able to get in the way or shooting at any vessels to and from the naval base of Halong and the refugees sites of some 60.000 christians from Galala up to Passo.

6. A remark about the situation of the refugees at the safe evacuation sites, specifically in the S.E. Moluccas (Kei-, Tanimbar- and Babar Islands). It cannot be denied that the thousands of refugees that have arrived in these areas since the unrest in the Moluccas started, 11/2 years ago, are a burden to the local population. These islands (most of all the Kei Islands) are still recovering from their own clashes last year, which resulted in the devastation of 3.084 houses, 48 churches/mosques, 34 schools and 20 health centres. Besides, this area as a whole is categoried economically as being under the poverty level. Both muslim and christian religious authorities complain that the government does not pay sufficient attention to the aftermath of the unrest, to the refugees' suffering and its effect on the whole local population.


 

Report no. 24

Ambon, July 24, 2000

1. The Zeni Tempur (Zipur) V / Brawijaya Battalion during the recent muslim assaults on the townquarters of Airmata Cina, Manggadua, Pohon Pule and Urimessing was evidently 'contaminated' and not a few of these military joined the assaulters openly. This having been acknowledged by the Military Chief Commander Mr. I Made Yasa, he took immediate steps and - according to his statement to the newsmedia - sent them back to East Java on Thursday, July 20.

2. Asked by reporters what measures have been taken to those eleven fighters on whom the Yonif 509 had found ammunition [see our report No. 18/1], I made Yasa answered that it was not ammunition but molotov bombs and petrol which they were carrying in their car. Due to some miscommunication with the Police, the eleven of them were set free under promise that 'they would not do such thing again'.

3. According to today's 'Suara Maluku' newspaper, yesterday, July 23, up to the afternoon there was still some shooting going on in the usual troubled quarters of Diponegoro, Urimessing, Pohon Pule, Manggadua; this time also at the location where Batumerah (islam) and Mardika (christian) meet. However it is difficult to say exactly who was fighting whom.

4. Rumours tell that a large-scale assault on the last christian quarters in town will be launched within short.

5. At about 11.00, yesterday, three empty houses in Pohon Puleh were looted, then burned.

Meanwhile at several locations snipers are still active, but no victims have been reported.

6. The call for evacuation is ever increasing. People do not trust the present lull in fighting activities. Thousands of christians are ready to get on any ship that will take them to safety.

Many refugees, too, are still on their way to safer refugees' sites on the island of Ambon itself, preferring staying in the rough country side than in more 'comfortable' nearby villages. Most christians simply do not trust the safety measures, for there is nobody able to deal with the mighty jihad forces.

7. In our report No. 15/6 (July 10), we included an unconfirmed information about a possible intrusion of jihad fighters in Tual and Banda Eli (Kei-Islands, S.E. Moluccas). Up to now hereabout there is still no confirmation available. Nevertheless we do not wish to acknowledge this to be an error and are asking our relations there to keep eyes and ears on the alert.

Today's 'Suara Maluku' newpaper gives a lengthy report on the very conducive situation on the Kei Islands.

It further reports on the recommendation of the island of Wetar (not far from East Timur) as a very suitable place for resettlement of refugees from both East Timor and Ambon. The island has only 6000 residents, has a lage potential of various kinds of timber, rich fishing waters, fertile soil, and is ambitious to become a tourists' eldorado. Thus being stated to the press yesterday by the chairman of the Moluccas' Legative Council, Mr. Etty Sahuburua S.H. in Jakarta.


 

Report no. 25

Ambon, July 25, 2000

1. MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) is the highest muslim authority in every region in Indonesia. On Monday, July 24th 2000, MUI's secretary in Ambon, Mr. Malik Selang, declared to the press that the local MUI agrees to and supports the decision of the Governor as the responsible of the Civil Emergency state, to send away from the Moluccas any one who has come from outside the Moluccas and has no evident honest intention here (read: jihad fighters). He stressed that this decision should have the support of everybody, including the security forces. The MUI is also of the opinion that increasing the number of security forces, will not end the conflict; on the contrary seems to add to the unrest.

2. TNI admiral Djoko Sumaryono, Moluccas Navy Commander with the special task of security at sea, declared to the press on Monday July 24th that up to now his forces have investigated up to 150 vessels in the Moluccas seas. Among these, 70 boats were found to have various kinds of weapons and ammunition on board. An additional three vessels started to obstruct the investigating procedure; they consequently were detained. They turned out to have not only weaponry on board but also people who came to enforce one of the conflicting groups.

3. According to this morning's 'Siwalima' newspaper, the Governor of the Province of the North Moluccas, Mr. Muhyi Effendi, responsible for the Civil Emergency state, declared to Antara that the situation in the North Moluccas is under control. Since May 18th a program of returning the refugees to their orgininal towns and villages has been launched. The total of refugees / displaced persons in the North Moluccas - according to the Governor - is 187,242. Many of them - especially those in the refugee camps - are said to suffer from various kinds of diseases such as diarrhee, bronchitis, influenza and malaria.

4. Nevertheless the christians, who are a minority in the North Moluccas, up to now dare not return to their homesteads. People are not convinced yet that the momentary respite in violence will last. There will only be security in homogen areas.

The major part of the North Moluccas - indeed - is now homogen. The muslims have been ousted from North Halmahera island, whereas the christians have been expelled from the rest of Halmahera, from the islands of Obi, Bacan, from most of Morotai, from Ternate and Tidore. Only the islands of Taliabu and Mangole have been able to maintain a mixed population of muslims and christians, who live together in peace.

5. A similar situation can be witnessed in the Central Moluccas: the island of Buru has been cleansed from all christians, except a small enclave in the south (the village of Leksula). The major part of the large island of Ceram is now exclusively habitated by muslims; only in the western area of the island (Masohi, Kairatu, Piru etc.) there are still christian towns and villages. The village of Wahai on the north coast has a mixed population of muslims and christians.

On the island of Ambon - including Ambon town - there is strict separation main-tained by the people themselves. Any one who enters the other's area, is sure to be killed.

6. Today Msgr. P.C.Mandagi MSC, bishop of Amboina, is to return to Ambon from his mission to Geneva / Europe.


 

Report no. 26

Ambon, July 26, 2000

1. A meeting of the Governor of the Moluccas as the local Responsible for the Civil Emergency State together with the Vice-Governor, Mrs. Paula B.Renyaan, and the Mayor of Ambon-town, Mr. Chris Tanasale, was held on July 25 with the village- and town chieftains of Ambon. Some points of discussion, according to Ambon 'Siwalima' daily newspaper:

a) Mr. P. Lainsamputty, the chieftain of the large village of Poka (situated on the opposite shore of Ambon Bay, annihilated by muslim warriors together with the Pattimura University on July 4th), declared in the name of the 30.000 villagers of Poka, Rumahtiga and Tihu, that - if the security forces cannot guarantee their safety - they will ask the Indonesian Government to take them out of this country, to a country that is able to safeguard people's lives.

b) All village- and town chieftains are requested to enter a complete list of refugees in each area.

c) The government will erect sheds ('barraques') for the refugees, with priority for the refugees of Poka/Rumahtiga, Waai and Diponegoro. To that purpose the governor asks the chieftains to select certain put available unexploited plots of land in or near their villages.

d) In the near future a Congress of the People of the Moluccas is to be held. To avoid a negative backlash of such happening, it must be prepared carefully by means of negotiation and dialogue between the conflicting factions. The Governor hopes that preliminary dialogue on this point between muslims and christians can start this week. The chieftain of the large village of Passo (christian), Mrs. Maitimu, stressed that this Congress should be a matter of Moluccans only and should not be attended by jihad warriors etc.

2. Within short, some 1.300 fresh Jihad troops will be sent to the Moluccas. Commentary of the local Police: they will prevent those warriors to enter the Moluccas.

Meanwhile the Military Chief Commander, Mr. I Made Yasa, confirmed that he had asked the highest Military Commander to send ships and - if needed - Hercules airplanes to evacuate the jihad troops from Ambon 'to where they came from'.

The Governor declared on local TV last night, that the 'foreigners' (read: jihads) will be removed from Ambon both in persuasive and repressive ways.

However, according to 'Siwalima', the head of the Communication Forum - Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama-ah (FKASWJ), Mr. Ayip Syafruddin, declared to the press in Yogyakarta on July 25th that - if indeed the jihad troops were to be expelled from the Moluccas - he would stir up protest actions in Java, Sumatra and Celebes.

The christians have doubts that this evacuation of jihads will be realized, notwithstanding the Ambon MUI's positive opinion (see yesterday's report, no. 1).

3. The Military Chief Commander confirmed to the press, that of the hundreds of weapons and several thousands of bullets that were captured by muslim forces as they looted and consequently burned the weaponry storage buildings of the Brimob Police Headquarters at Tantui on June 21-22, up to now only 100 weapons have been retrieved.

Besides, a huge amount of weaponry and ammunition has been smuggled in, only a small portion of which has been confiscated via razzias.

4. The ACF (Action Contra la Faim) resumed its humanitarian aid activities (food distribution among refugees) last Monday, July 24th, after an interruption of two months (they suspended their activities since May 21st, due to the renewed violence which hampered their work and endangered their personal safety).


 

Report no. 27

Ambon, July 27, 2000

1. Yesterday Crisis Centre members Father Albert Yamlean MSC and Mr. Herman Palang Ama went up to Ahuru, at the outskirts of Ambon-town, under 'protection' of six military, to have an impression about the damage done especially to the catholic settlement there last month. The whole settlement of about 100 houses had already been destroyed earlier. The thick clouds of smoke that could be seen rising at Ahuru on July 3rd were indeed the last remnants of this catholic compound. The beautiful little church, two schools, the Sisters' convent and the last couple of houses were apparently first stripped from window panes, doors, the zinc roof sheets, even iron bars of the fences and anything else that could be useful, then burned. At the pilgrims' centre of Ahuru both statues of St.Mary and the concrete fourteen stations of the Cross in the park had been smashed. Fr. Albert and Mr. Herman did not realize that on this visist their lives were in real danger. The many jihad troopers they saw around the place could easily have shot them, but probably had no orders to do so.

2. The present lull in attacks is very much frightening the christians. They expect that the final assault on the town of Ambon is imminent. They cannot expect any protection. All depends on the jihad commander, who has the real power in Ambon now. It is no conflict any more between the muslims and the christians. The jihad warriors are a terrible criminal force in Ambon, probably harassing not only the christians, but the local muslims as well. They will even within short be enforced by an additional 1300 troops (our report yesterday, no. 2), even the number of 3000 is mentioned; nobodoy will be able to stop these jihads to enter the area. When this imminent final assault starts, the christians put their hope on nearby foreign vesssels to come to the aid of those who lack a government which can protect them from criminality and manslaughter.

3. Last night on local TV the Governor was shown to be interviewed by newsmedia reporters, among whom there were three foreigners. One of them asked the governor whether he had already met the Jihad leader. The answer was negative!

4. Today there is no newspaper. From own information we can report on the arrival of the passengership 'Dobonsolo' yesterday. Coming from Kupang, most passengers were christians. The ship was ordered to anchor at the naval base Halong, up the Bay of Ambon. The passengers protested and refused to disembark there; they wanted to disembarked at Gudang Arang (Benteng) instead. When disembarking at Halong, they either they would have to pass the feared, by the muslims controlled Marton passage of Rumahtiga in order to get to the christian neighbourhoods of Benteng etc. Or maybe they hoped that there would no razzia on people and weapons at Gudang Arang& At last the authorities complied and a very time consuming disembarkation took place at Gudang Arang. The ship then left for Sorong (Papua).

5. Last night at 21.00 hrs., Father Titus Rahail MSC Jr. informed us by telephone that he had received trustworthy information that at the island of Tidore, which is not far from the threatened christian enclave of Tobelo (North Halmahera), a still unknown number of jihad troops from Aceh and Madura had arrived.


 

Report no. 28

Ambon, July 28, 2000

1. Summary of a lengthy interview on July 27th of the local newspaper 'Siwalima' with Monseigneur P.C. Mandagi MSC, bishop of Amboina, about his recent journey to Europe in connection with the conflict in the Moluccas and North Moluccas:

a) The whole team consisted of 1/ Msgr. P.C.Mandagi MSC; 2/ Ds.Sammy Titaley, chairman of the Moluccas Protestant Church (GPM); 3/ Ds. Agustinus Eys, chairman of the Halmahera Protestant Church (GMIH); 4/ the Deacon of the (Protestant) Theological Faculty 'Satia Wacana', Salatiga/Semarang (name not mentioned); 5/ Dr. Lambang, a prominent Muslim from Yogyakarta.

b) Intention of the visit to Geneva and other places in Europe was not to plead the cause of the christians nor to ask for help in a struggle for independence of the Moluccas, but merely to ask for any possible help in connection with the conflict, including the violation of human rights in the Moluccas and North Moluccas.

c) Specifically this 'possible help' was hoped for in the following ways:

The International Community to take responsibility - together with the Indonesian Government - on ending the conflict.

Assisting in removing all troublemakers out of the Moluccas back to the places they have come from.

Sending an independent team of the Human Rights Commission to survey the way efforts are being done to end the conflict.

Sending a similar team to investigate violations of human rights.

Sending a team (for instance a delegation of the European Parliament) to examine the degree of the Indonesian Government's earnestness in ending the conflict.

Providing humanitarian aid, expressing also gratefulness for already received aid.

d) Msgr. Mandagi and his co-delegates had talks with:

The UN Commission for Human Rights in Geneva (it was a pity that the president of this commission, Dr. Marry Robinson, was not in Geneva then).
The United Nations HCR (High Commission for Refugees).
The Special Reporter of the Religious Intolerance Commission.
The Ambassador of the Vatican.

Ds. Sammy Titaley and Mr. John Titaley went to Brussels to plead at the European Parliament and the Commission for European Affairs [apologize if these institutions are named incorrectly] for the same causes.

2. According to local newspaper 'Suara Maluku', the Governor of the Moluccas, Dr. Ir. Saleh Latuconsina, declared on July 26, during an interview with reporters, among whom three foreigners, that on the island of Ambon there are 1800 'trouble-shooters' (read: Jihad warriors). However, commonly the number is put at some 5000.

3. Razzia on the in Ambon docking 'Dobonsolo' passengership (see yesterday's report no.4), resulted in the capture some 200 illegal imported granades (bombs) and other waeponry. The authorities had also been informed on beforehand on the arriving of 400 'Maintainers of Justice' (Penegak Keadilan) on this ship, but nobody of the passengers could be identified as such.

Meanwhile - according to 'Siwalima' - among the ships that were halted at sea (see our report 25 no.2) there were three illegally intruding ships from the Philippines carrying weaponry and ammunition.

4. Having arrived at Sorong (Papua / Irian Jaya) from Ambon on July 27, the passengership 'Dobonsolo' was 'welcomed' by certain mobs, carrying banners etc. protesting against any disembarkation of passengers coming from Ambon (most of whom are christian refugees). Sorong authorities declared this action was totally unexpected. The reason of this protest was not sure; neither could be ascertained what party or faction was represented by the demonstrators. Anyway, a member of PRS (Pusat Rujuk Sosial) Reconciliation Team, Mr. Anton Ohoira from Ambon, telephoned us just now from Sorong that at last the refugees had been allowed to disembark. Now they are being sheltered in a Catholic church and a Protestant church in Sorong waiting for the continuation of their voyage to the S.E. Moluccas islands.

5. Father Yos Kuda Makin SVD, the parish priest of Masohi, capital of the island of Ceram, north of Ambon, telephoned last night informing us that 1200 christian refugees there, very much want to be evacuated to the S.E. Moluccas. Their request has the consent of the Governor and a navy ship will be put at their disposal. The 'Bupati' (highest civil authority on Ceram), however, allows them only to embark under condition that they have not the intention to come back to Masohi in future. It is not quite understandable what is his reason of this statement, but it is confusing the aspirant evacuees.

6. Crisis Centre member Father Albert Yamlean informed us further on his visit to the destroyed catholic settlement of Ahuru on July 26 (see yesterdays_s report no.1). He observed that a close look at some jihad warriors gave him the impression that they were unhealthy: they looked emaciated, yellowish, apathetic: could this be the effect of certain drugs they are given? (we already reported on this suspicion twice).


 

Report no. 29

Ambon, July 31, 2000

1. According to today's local newspaper 'Siwalima', the passengership 'Dobonsolo' when docking at Ambon on July 26, was boarded by 1.050 passengers (in addition to about 3000 transit passengers), most of whom refugees. The majority of these refugees intended to disembark at Sorong, from where they hoped to continue their voyage to the S.E. Moluccas on other vessels.

The ship arrived at Sorong (Irian/Papua) on July 27. Faced with a demonstration by certain mobs at Sorong harbour, protesting against any disembarkation of passengers coming from Ambon, at last - contrary to what we mistakenly wrote in our Report 28 no.4 - only some 150 passengers could disembark. The others were not allowed to leave the ship.

Next stop was Manokwari (Irian/Papua), where the ship arrived on July 28. At Manokwari 119 refugees were allowed to disembark, the others had to stay on board.

The ship has now cast anchor at Jayapura (Irian/Papua), at a distance of about one mile from the shore. Among the 4.215 passengers that intend to disembark in Jayapura, there are 968 refugees from Ambon. According to 'Siwalima' newspaper, only non-refugees will be allowed to leave the ship. They will be carefully examined, since there are rumours that there are jihad warriors among them. Next port according to schedule, should be Ambon again, however Ambon will be avoided and the ship will continue its route to Kupang (West Timor). However, the Diocesan Crisis Centre at Ambon has requested that on its route to Kupang, the ship should stop at Tual (Kei islands) and Saumlaki (Tanimbar islands), both in the S.E.Moluccas, which is in fact the destination of most of these refugees - this being regarded as the most appropriate way to put and end to the suffering of these people. We hope the authorities will pay heed to this urgent request.

2. On Sunday, July 30, there was again an attack on the protestant-christian village of Waai on the island of Ambon, causing the death of one resident and two wounded.

An earlier attack on July 6 (our report 13, no.1 and report 14, no.6) resulted in the destruction of this village and the death of 17 residents, 10 people were injured then and 6 are lost; up to now their whereabout is unknown.

According to today's 'Siwalima' newspaper, at 10.00 a.m.yesterday - while the few remaining people of Waai were holding Sunday Service - muslims from Tulehu and Liang came to this village again to lay hands on any useful zinc sheets for their own houses. This action was anticipated by a number of Waai youngsters; they chased the intruders out of their village. Not long after, however, the invaders came back with enforcements, so that - again - these remaining villagers took to flight to the woods. The attackers then destroyed what still remained of the village. Security forces arrived long after all was over.

3. Ambon town - apart from some snipers' activities - has been quiet during the past week. Up to now there is no visible action to remove from Ambon people 'who have no business here'.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 30 - 39
(August 2 - 18, 2000)

Report no. 30

Ambon, August 2, 2000

1. The passengership 'Dobonsolo' - according to this morning's Commercial TV 'RCTI' - after the disembarkation of all passengers at Jayapura, left for Jakarta for routine check-up, though on its way there, it should have docked at Ambon. The 'Dobonsolo' - by the way - is the only passengership which can safely be boarded by christians (because of its route via 'safe' non-muslim ports). So there are hardly any evacuation facilities left for the christians. Whether the 'Dobonsolo' for the time being will not dock in Ambon any more, depends on the ultimate decision of the board of PELNI directors in Jakarta.

2. Local TV on July 31 showed jihad troops performing social work: medical care and cleaning up the muslim quarters in Ambon-town. Some 200 of them were seen embarking on the 'Lambelu' passengership 'to go back to where they came from' of their own free will. Meanwhile, mainly from the side of the christians, the local authorities are urged to speed up the evacuation of all jihad warriors, since their mere presence here causes unrest and instability.

3. On Tuesday August 1st, early in the morning - according to local daily newspaper 'Suara Maluku' - an Ambonese soldier was killed at the old fish market in the muslim quarters of Ambon-town. This infuriated a number of his fellow-Ambonese; but as they could not find the murderer, they took to burning the place, i.e. the fish market, at about 09.00 a.m., so that thick clouds of smoke could be seen floating over the town again. Asked by 'Siwalima', some muslims acknowledged that indeed this had happened, but they did not regret the burning of this place, since already for a long time it was a very dirty, disorderly and undisciplined place, not seldom also a centre of gambling, drunkenness and prostitution.

4. The protestant christian village of WAAI lies about thirty kilometers from Ambon. After the devastating attack on the village by muslim troops on July 6th, destroying almost the whole village (our report 29 no.2), the village was surveyed from the air by helicopter by the governor on Monday July 31st. The next day, Agust 1st, in the afternoon, he went there by car (or speed boat?) to have a closer look. Apparently several thousands of people had preferred to stay in or near their village; many of them sheltering on the nearby mountain slopes. After the governor had left, muslims from the neighbouring villages of Tulehu and Liang launched a new attack on this village at about 17.30 hrs. on the same day, destroying anything what was still left and killing at least 23 residents, including women, children, old and sick people (up to now only 4 bodies have been identified). The parson of Waai, Ds. A.J. Yambormias later in the evening managed to go to Ambon and reported to the governor, the military and police chief commanders what had happened. Ds. Yambormias declared to the press that the residents of Waai had no choice than to flee further on into the mountains, being chased by muslims and military alike. He regretted the military chief commander's statement that two army compagnies had been assigned to protect the village, for these soldiers had never come further than the neighbouring villages of Tulehu and Suli, where they had been sweeping (razzia) on weaponry.

5. Last night some bombing and shooting was heard in the neighbourhood of the police station of Perigilima (Ambon town).

6. This morning, up to noon, there is a concentration of masses in Ambon town at Pohon Pule and Diponegoro (islam controlled) and Urimessing (christian). The sound of bombs and shooting is heard occasionally. People in town initially started panicking.

7. The governor's initiative to hold a meeting of delegates of all factions to establish a common perception on the actual situation of conflict, on Tuesday August 1st, was cancelled since the GPM (Moluccas Protestant Church) together with the (catholic) Diocese of Amboina disagreed with this meeting to be held if certain conditions were not met first, as was clarified in a common statement, signed by the Vice Chairman of the GPM (Ds.L.Lohy) and auxiliary bishop Mgr. Joseph Tethool MSC. Their conditions are, according to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper:

The agenda of the meeting should be defined in clear terms.

There should be a clear statement about the repressive measures to be taken to remove all jihad warriors from the Moluccas.

The army should not play off the conflicting parties one against the other.

There should be done a careful selection on the participants of this meeting first. For instance non-Moluccas should not participate.

The Navy and the Police Forces must be involved in the defense of those who are under attack.

The Yos Soedarso harbour of Ambon has to be freed from muslim control.

The 17 muslim delegates - according to today's 'Siwalima' newspaper - waited patiently for the arrival of their christians partners, but at last had no choice than to go home.

8. The Inventarisation and Investigation Team of the Ambon Pattimura University, at last - on Tuesday August 1st - could carry out a careful check on the damage done to the whole university compound which was burned on July 4th. According to today's 'Siwalima' newspaper, all of the building are at least heavily damaged. Only a small portion of the documents survived. The laboratoria had been looted and burned as well.


 

Report no. 31

Ambon, August 3, 2000

Summary of today's local newspapers 'Suara Maluku' and 'Siwalima':

1. The residents of the christian village of Waai, which was attacked again on Monday August 1st (our Report 30 no.4) claim that nine women from Waai are being held hostage in the neighbouring muslim village of Tulehu. Yesterday, Wednesday August 3rd, the GPPM (Gerakan Perempuan Peduli Maluku = Moluccas Concerned Women's Movement) held a peaceful demonstration at the Governor's, to request these women's immediate release. The governor anwered that he had learned about only four women hostages, but up to now there was no evidence about any women being held hostage, so further investigation had to be done first.

Besides, the GPPM demanded evacuation of persecuted christians to safe places, since it is evident that the government cannot provide security for its own citizens. The same was requested by Waai refugees in the village of Passo, when they stopped the governor as he passed through the village on his way back from Waai to Ambon on August 1st. Besides, they demanded that those military who had joined the attackers, should be brought to justice.

2. What triggered the muslims from Tulehu and Liang to attack Waai, the christian village lying between them? Liang says: they had found one of their residents killed in the wood, allegedly by somebody from Waai. Tulehu says: three of their people had been shot by Waai snipers as their speedboat passed the site of Waai. Both accusations were denied by Waai. The governor cannot possibly determine which one is right. He asks for the actual facts, the names of the victims etc. He also insists that christians and muslims join forces to combat their common enemy: i.e. the provocators who want the conflict in Ambon to go on. (It is sad to acknowledge that since the beginning of this conflict on January 19th 1999, up to now, no one has been arrested as a provocator, though almost every official talks about provocation and provocators!).

3. To ensure protection for the about 5000 Waai residents, who are staying at the nearby mountain side of Salahutu, two additional compagnies of military and one compagnie of Brimob police forces have been sent there.

4. On August 2nd - after a respite of more than a week - the situation in Ambon-town suddenly became tense again. There was bombing and shooting in the neighbourhoods of Tanah Lapang Kecil, near Batugantung, and Pohon Pule, where the 'bottleneck' bridge is which links the town with the christian quarters to the west. A number of military are thought not only to join the muslim masses, but even to have triggered this unrest by barricading the bridge without any apparent reason, thus infuriating the christians. A christian busdriver was killed; eleven others, both christian and muslim, were injured. The unrest started at 10.00 a.m. and only ended in the evening.

5. Last night the governor declared on local TV, that Ambon will be closed for any incoming passengerships from August 10th up to September 10th. The passengerships that usually dock at Ambon are: the Dobonsolo, Rinjani, Tatamailahu, Lambelu and Bukit Siguntang.


 

Report no. 32

Ambon, August 4, 2000

1. On Wednesday August 2, several thousands of Muslims launched a sudden attack on the christian village of Alang Asaude on the south coast at the western part of the island of Ceram. The attackers originated from some twenty nearby villages. Alang Asaude is a local transmigration site. A woman, by the name of Ita Akollo, managed to escape to closeby Ambon island. What follows here, is a summary of what she told the 'Siwalima' newspaper.

On arriving at Ambon on Thursday August 3, she immediately reported to the governor, informing him about the tragic event. The assaulters - she said - used organic weapons, grenades and mortirs. The villagers (numbering about a thousand) had no choice than to flee for safety. A soldier from the 731 battalion was shot (killed?), three of his comrades took to flight together with the villagers. All of them are now staying in the woods, probably without any food, and being endangered by continuous pursuit. She asked the governor to take immediate steps to evacuate these trapped people, at least to send basic supplies. The governor, in coordination with the military chief commander, Mr. I Made Yasa, promised to send security forces there by helicopter.

2. Though the situation in Ambon was relative quiet yesterday, nevertheless one casualty was reported: a christian being shot by a sniper at the BII Bank, Diponegoro Road.

3. A reporter from Jakarta just came back from the refugees at the mountain of Salahutu, village of Waai. He told that they were in distressing condition, more so since it is raining now incessantly.

According to 'Siwalima' newspaper and local TV, several hundreds of them (own information says: about one thousand) have been removed by the military to more appropriate shelters elsewhere. Yesterday also food was dropped from a helicopter. Since the exact places of the refugees could not been perceived from the air, they dropped it at one of the destroyed churches in the village (you may ask yourself whether the refugees will be able to get at it).

The case of the nine captured women from Waai (see report 31 no.1) is still under investigation of the police.


 

Report no. 33

Ambon, August 5, 2000

1. Further information on ALANG ASAUDE (see yesterday's report). Yesterday's local newspaper 'Suara Maluku' provides some more detailed information about this village on the island of Ceram, not far from the island of Ambon. The village has 270 families / 1.340 residents.

The village had already been assaulted on an earlier occasion, namely on December 3rd, 1999; two villagers had been killed then, and ten people were injured.

This recent attack on August 2nd, was launched at 06.15 a.m. All of the 240 houses, an elementary school and a health center were burned down.

Today's newspaper 'Siwalima' reports that the military chief Commander, Brigadir General I Made Yasa, sent 140 security forces to Ceram yesterday afternoon on a navy vessel. Part of them will go and find the Alang Asaude refugees in the woods, the others will be added to the security forces in the nearby towns of Masohi and Kairatu, anticipating further escalation of the conflict. The ship will be kept on the ready to evacuate the refugees to safer and more appropriate places.

2. Further news on WAAI.. Yesterday's 'Suara Maluku' newspaper provides some more detailed information on what happened to the large christian village of Waai on the island of Ambon, about 30 km from the town of Ambon. After the devastating attack by muslims on July 6th, the village was still more thoroughly destroyed yet on July 30th. Already 2000 people who had fled to the mountain side near Waai, have arrived now in Waitatiri, a village between Passo and Suli. Most of them are being sheltered in the Gideon church. Others have gone on to Passo, a large christian village, which already harbours several ten thousands of refugees. The situation of these newly arrived refugees from Waai is most desolate. Most have been living on the slopes of mount Salahutu for a month, deprived from medicines and sufficient food, protected against the rain - if lucky - only by a sheet of canvas. On their way to Waitatiri, three died underway: a woman fell to her death into an abyss, a child of two years old, Marcel Reawaru, was accidentally dropped by its exhausted mother; the third casualty was a 83 year old women, named Oma Nela Tuasela. Among them were also 28 badly injured people. On their flight - they told - they were still being hunted and shot at by soldiers. Those who had stayed in shelter not too far from Waai itself, were better off: they were taken aboard a navy ship which had come to their rescue. The others, however, were sheltering already halfway to Waitatiri. The other Waai residents (about two thousand) up to now have not been rescued yet. The refugees are receiving medical assistance now in Waitatiri/Suli and Passo, whereas in Waai there is also a medical team waiting for the people who are still hiding in the woods and on the mountains to come down.

The protestant parson of Waai, Ds. A.J.Jambormias, told 'Suara Maluku' that, if there is no decent place for the people of Waai here, they appeal to emigrate to another country, for instance Australia. For - he said - it is too apparent that it is a political elite that foments fundamentalist muslims to exterminate 'those christian RMS-separatists'. He said that Tulehu would not possibly attack neighbouring Waai on its own accord, since there has always been a fraternity relation between Tulehu and Waai, though the one being muslim and the other christian.

3. The police chief Commander, Brigadir General Firman Gani, has been checking on the rumour that nine women are being held hostage in Tulehu. However with no result. According to today's 'Siwalima' newspaper he assumes that no Waai woman is being held hostage in Tulehu. Meeting with the jihad warriors, he was told by them that 'according to what their religion teaches them, they do not wage war on women, children and old people'.

4. More than a thousand refugees who have been staying in Masohi for quite some time now, do not feel safe any more, and have asked the governor twice to evacuate them on a navy ship. Twice the governor promised to meet their request. But up to now nothing has been done.

5. Last night we telephoned with Fr. Titus Rahail MSC Jr in Tobelo, the christian enclave on the island of Halmahera, North Moluccas. He confirmed that the situation there is steadily under control. However, the local government intends to return the muslim refugees originating from the village of Malifut (Halmahera Island) back to their village. The christian competing village of Kau is said to be opposed to their return.

6. According to today's 'Suara Maluku', the Indonesian National Commission for Human Rights, wants the intervention of a UN Police Peace Corps to effectuate a cease-fire between the conflicting parties. Only if they would not succeed in this mission, the UN will be asked for military intervention.

7. In order to coordinate humanitarian aid in the Moluccas and North Moluccas, the UN - in consultation with the Indonesian Government - has established a central bureau in Ambon. One of their Staff Members, Thelma Cases Orbase, from the Philippines, told the press that the bureau has its office in the Ambon Provincial Government Building. The team coordinates the activities of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO). Another bureau is to be established in Ternate (Provincial capital of the North Moluccas). Their task will be to check on the real needs of the refugees and to find ways to cope with them, such as food, medical care, water supply, camp facilities etc.


 

Report no. 34

Ambon, August 8, 2000

1. Local newspaper 'Suara Maluku', Monday August 7, reports that during last week (from July 30 to August 5) 29 civilians of the destroyed christian village of Waai are known to have died or been killed (list of names of the victims was enclosed). Their deaths were caused either by being shot, or by lack of food and water or by diseases that could not be cured due to lack of medicines while staying in the wood and on the mountain slopes near Waai. Their number is feared to increase, due to the bad physical condition of a number of people.

Up to Saturday evening, August 5, as many as 3.776 Waai refugees had arrived at the relative safe places of Waitatiri, Passo and Lateri. About 500-600 Waai residents had on earlier ocasions already left Ambon island. The total population of Waai being 6.224, the conclusion is that last Sunday almost 2000 of villagers were still hiding in the woods and mountains or were on their way down to Waitatiri/Passo.

2. Of the 968 Ambon refugee passengers who disembarked from the MS 'Dobonsolo' in Jayapura (Papua) last week, 758 are reported to be in safe condition in the 'Pengharapan Imbi' church in Jayapura. The others have already left on the MS 'Umsini' for Sorong (Papua) and Manado (North Celebes). The still remaining refugees are waiting for transport either for Ambon or for the S.E.Moluccas or elsewhere.

3. Today's 'Suara Maluku' reports on several christian speedboats being shot at in the Bay of Ambon. Since the road that leads from Ambon town to the east is dominated by muslims (running through Batumerah and Galunggung), daily traffic from and to the christian villages of Galala up to Passo usually takes place by speedboats, in most cases from Gudang Arang in Ambon-town to Galala v.v. At Poka/Rumahtiga, on the opposite shore of the Bay, which is now dominated by muslims, the Bay is narrowing. It is from there that yesterday, at 16.30 hrs., repeatedly an outburst of bullets was shot at passing-by speedboats. This shooting caused three passengers to have been seriously wounded.


 

Report no. 35

Ambon, August 10, 2000

1. Monday, August 7, a fuel truck on its way from Laha airport to Hunut (down the road which runs along the opposite shore of Ambon Bay), was shot at when passing the village of Durian Patah. Of the two soldiers that were on the truck, one (name: Ihwantoro) was killed being hit in his head, the other (name: Doddi) was badly wounded at his back. Both are from the Infantery Battalion Yonif 141/Sriwijaya. They had been asked by the oil distribution company owner to join the truck driver to guarantee safe passage (which is very commonly done nowadays). However they had handled without instruction of their Yonif commander neither asking for his permission, so military chief commander, I Mada Yasa, called them 'naughty', having distrayed from their unit (probably for personal profit). The sniper has not been found yet.

2. It is probably already widely known what jihad leader Ja'far Umar Thalib declared in a lengthy interview with newsmedia in Jakarta last week when explaining about the necessity of continuing jihad presence in the Moluccas. Among other statements, he declared that several christian strongholds in Ambon still had to be destroyed, especially the village of Passo and the town quarter of Kudamati. Also that he had no intention to withdraw his jihad warriors from Ambon as long as the 'christian RMS rebels had not raised the white flag'. The governor has assured the residents of these two targets and all of the Ambon population, that there will be optimal anticipation in preventing such things to happen. He declared that in this statement he knew to be backed up by the Ambon muslim community as well as by the christian community, all of who wish to end the conflict by peaceful negotiation.

Meanwhile, in various ways, especially the christians incessantly insist that military chief commander I Made Yasa makes a serious repressive move to evacuate all jihad warriors from Ambon and the Moluccas, according instruction given to him by the governor as the responsible for the civil emergency state.

3. On August 9, two hundred and fifty jihad warriors were seen on TV boarding the 'Rinjani' passenger ship returning to Java. Newspaper 'Suara Maluku' (August 10) estimates that 300 up to 500 jihad warriors left Ambon by boat lately, thus reducing the number of jihad troops on the island of Ambon to about one thousand.

4. From August 11 on, Merpati Nusantara Airlines adds one flight Ambon-Surabaya v.v. on its weekly schedule of three flights. (All other civil airlines have stopped flights to Ambon since the conflict started). Including one transit flight from Papua, that makes five flights weekly.

5. Today's 'Suara Maluku' newspaper reports on crookedness in distributing of the humanitarian aid which was donated by the Vice President, Mrs.Megawati Soekarnoputri to the victims of violence in the North Moluccas (Ternate etc.) on April 26, 2000. This aid was handed symbolically then to the governor of the North Moluccas, Mr. Muyi Effendie, while she visited the island of Morotai (the most northern island of the Moluccas). Only a small part of the donated food was transferred to the refugees then. The rest is being retailed on the market. The governor of the North Moluccas now even asked the newsmedia reporters to forward to him any irregularity they might discover in this field. The allotted food aid included rice 50 tons, milkpowder 161/2 tons, beans 5 tons, korma 19 cans, baby's milkpowder 5 tons.

On the same occasion four ambulance cars were donated. However, two of these have been reassigned to Bengkulu for victims of the recent earthquake, the other two are still waiting in Jakarta for transport to the Moluccas.

Similar corruption is reported to have happened in Ambon. Rice, which on the market is sold at a hefty average price of Rp 3.750,- a kilogram, has been dropped by the government at a reduced price of only Rp 1.000,- a kilogram, especially for poor people. However, a merchant in Halong (near Ambon town) ackowledged to the press that he had bought from the local area government official, 'some dozens' of sacks of rice (each containing 50 kg) for Rp 75.000,- a sack = Rp 1.500,- a kilo - probably selling it at Rp 3.750,- a kilo.


 

Report no. 36

Ambon, August 12, 2000

1. The recent fairly conducive situation in Ambon was interrupted on Friday August 11. In the morning occasional burning of some houses was reported in the townquarters of Tanah lapang Kecil ('Talake') and Diponegoro by some muslims. Members of army battalion Yonif 405 in Diponegoro were reported just to stand by and let it happen. However, christians from Batugantung quarters say that up to the night, frequent shooting took place around that area.

In the evening, at about 19.30 hrs., an incident occurred at the border of the (muslim) Batumerah and (christian) Mardika neighbourhoods, whereby four or five civilians were killed and about twenty injured by bullets from security forces. Explanations about what provoked this confrontation vary dependent on its source. 'Suara Maluku' newspaper reports that it started with the looting of zinc sheets from destroyed houses in Mardika by muslim teenagers. Christians retaliated by capturing a motorcycle from a muslim woman who happened to have crossed the 'border'. It is regretted that security forces did not immediataely stop the looting of zinc sheets, thus forestalling the conflict to escalate. Meanwhile old people and children have been taken to safer places.

2. Almost every day incidental shooting by muslim snipers from the shore at passing speedboats is reported. Inside information informs us about snipers, from Tantui aiming at speedboats this very morning.

3. On the central Moluccas island of Saparua there is tenseness between the christian village of Siri Sori Amalatu and Siri Sori Islam. The christians protest about frequent shooting at them - "almost every evening" - from Siri Sori Islam. The christians complain that the security forces do not take any measures to put an end to these provoking actions.

4. Friday, August 11, 682 soldiers from various battalions embarked in Semarang for special tasks in the Moluccas, their main task being intensive razzia on weaponry.


 

Report no. 37

Ambon, August 14, 2000

1. The incident at the site where the muslim neighbourhood of Batumerah and the christian neighbourhood of Mardika adjoin, causing the death of 5 muslims by soldiers' bullets and leaving 15 wounded (see report 36 no.1), once again proved the need of law and justice.

Military chief cammander I Made Yasa stressed that such relative small incidents (burglary, drunkenness, road accidents etc.) may have big consequences. If people cannot appeal to the law, they will apply the law of the jungle. So he has suggested to the governor to establish a special board to which people can appeal in such circumstances. There should be sent in additional specialized police investigators, attorneys and judges to cope with the many cases which are now the cause of small clashes, which not seldom escalate to amassing of crowds of people confronting each other. Responding to this suggestion, the governor called for a meeting of local heads of government to discuss this matter.

2. The desire to end the conflict is more and more heard both from the side of the christians and from the muslims, many of the latter also wish the jihad warriors to leave the place as soon as possible. The police chief commander, Brigadir General Firman Gani, almost every day goes to meet with either muslim or christian communites, even as far as Masohi (island of Ceram). He declared on local TV that virtually nobody wants the conflict to go on, on the contrary, people wish to reestablish normal mutual relations, based on the traditional Moluccas 'pela gandong' (brotherhood). A 'Siwalima' reporter recounts that not seldom he can hear muslims say: The christians suffer because of what is done to them by the jihads; actually we, the local muslims, equally endure much suffering from them. Firman Gani insists that local muslims and christians should join forces against their common enemy: the provocateurs who operate according to instructions from extern troublemakers.

3. The military chief commander, I Made Yasa, last night confirmed on local TV that on August 9 special security forces arrived as many as 450. They are a combination of carefully selected members of the army, navy and air force, with some 'Kopassus' troops among them (Kopassus = Komando Pasukan Khusus = Special Forces Command). They are meant to be at the dispose of the chief commander to handle any occurring event of unrest or conflict in a professional and really neutral way.

4. Latest investigation on the damage on the Pattimura University at Poka, reveals that about 60% of buildings and inventory / furniture etc. has been destroyed. Some Rp 500.000.000.000,- (five hundred billion rupiahs) = US$ 61.000.000,- will be needed for rehabilitation. For the moment being, the University continues its activities in various secondaray school accomodations in town.

5. Ambon town is quiet but for sporadic sounds of bombs and shooting in the town quarters of Tanah Lapang Kecil (Talake) and Batugantung during the last few nights, however without causing significant damage.


 

Report no. 38

Ambon, August 15, 2000

1. The establishing of a special civil emergency judicial board to handle various lesser incidents (which often have proved to induce major conflicts) has been agreed upon during a meeting on Monday morning, August 14, of the responsible of the civil emergency state, governor M.Saleh Latuconsina with the civil emergency executives (see Report 37 no.1). The board will consist of components from the police forces, from the military forces (Kodam XVI Pattimura), from the office of Counsel for the Prosecution ('Kejaksaan Tinggi') and the Court of Justice ('Pengadilan Tinggi'). This board will primarily handle cases of violation of criminal law, postponing handling of any civil lawsuits. Contrary to what we reported yesterday, to this purpose there will not be asked for lawyers from outside the Moluccas.

2. Though the situation in Ambon town and on Ambon island is fairly under control, still it is considered too early yet for a meeting or dialogue or even pre-dialogue between the conflicting factions (christians and muslims). A cooling-down period should be allowed first.

3. Christian refugees from the destroyed villages of Poka and Rumahtiga, now staying at Passo, welcome the intention of building sheds/barraques for them. Only they hope these to be built not in Passo, but in Poka and Rumahtiga, be it on the ruins of their houses. They intend to live in good harmony with the muslims. However, the authorities confess not to be able yet to guarantee absolute safety on that site.

4. Some 3000 christian refugees from the island of Bacan (Province of the North Moluccas), who have been staying in a refugee camp in Kairatu (South Ceram, Province of the Moluccas) since the end of January 2000, complain about being neglected by either Province. They are addressing an urgent appeal on the governor of the Moluccas Province to be taken care of in matters of food etc.. Meanwhile the Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina and the Protestant Maranatha Crisis Centre are taking care of them by sending food and various commodities as far as possible. Several hundreds of these refugees wish to evacuate to the S.E.Moluccas, others hope to return to Bacan.

5. The chief commander of the East Indonesia Navy, Mr. Adi Hariyono, confirmed to the local press that since the civil emergency state started on June 29, about one thousand vessels in the Moluccas area were found to have weaponry on board: a total of 4000 guns (both standard and self-made), various kinds of other weaponry (spears, long knifes etc.) and ammunition were confiscated. The navy deploys 12 navy vessels to execute this sweeping activity.

6. On Masariku's http://www.angelfire.com/rock/hotburrito/index.html we found a trustworthy map of the island of Ambon with up-to-date information about (1) destroyed villages; (2) refugees concentrations.

What apparently cannot be shown, is the site of both numerous destroyed neighbourhoods and a number of refugees concentrations in the town of Ambon itself. According to our estimation one-third or at least one-fourth of the town of Ambon has been destroyed. Not mentioned on this map are the christian villages of Bentengkarang and Telaga Kodok (situated between Hitulama and Nania), which were destroyed in January 1999, being the first case of religious cleansing (killing of women and children).


 

Report no. 39

Ambon, August 18, 2000

1. On August 16 a 'silahturahmi' (= informal / friendship) meeting was held by the governor, vice governor and several other government officials and - on the other hand - seven (or six?) deputies from the Ahlussunnah Wal Jama'ah Jihad Troops. The Jihad Communication spokesman, Harits Mustofa, explained the reason of the jihad presence in the Moluccas. They did not care - he said - whether to be called either agitators or benefactors. The important thing is that the Al Quran teaches them solidarity with any fellow-muslims who are in need. Both the Habibie and the Gus Dur government apparently did not succeed in putting an end to the oppression of the muslim community in the Moluccas. A muslim investigation team had found that the muslims in the Moluccas endured intolerable suffering, of which was insufficiently been taken care of by the government. He said: "We have not come to create enmity. But facing the fact that there are people that oppress and humiliate fellow-muslims, we have the obligation to defend ourselves". He further declared to the press that the jihad leaders had no intention to withdraw the warriors from the Moluccas. This meeting was not meant to be a forum of discussion, for this deputation was only meant to provide certain pieces of information; they were not instructed to discuss matters.

The governor, Dr. Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina, declared at this meeting - where the newsmedia were allowed to be present - that of course this meeting could not solve all problems; however it was a starting point of communication, to be continued in order to come to a clear, mutual perception of the situation. He also explained to the jihad delegates that their presence in the Moluccas - which was known to be preceded by warfare exercises - enticed the perception among many Moluccas civilians, that they had come to wage war on any opponents of the muslims. It just happened that the conflict escalated since the arrival of these jihad troops, but it might have had nothing to do with it. If these jihads come on a peaceful mission with a defined program - said the governor - so let it be executed in a transparant way, reporting, for instance, on health care: where is/was it done, by whom, to what number of people etc. Spokesman Mustofa assured those present, that they would report on this meeting to their leaders.

2. The complaint of the Bacan refugees at Kairatu (see Report 38 no.4) got the attention of the vice governor of the Moluccas, Dra. Paula B. Renyaan, who is responsible for humanitarian aid to the victims of the violence. So on Augsut 16, fifty tons of rice was sent to Kairatu on a police vessel. The refugees at Kairatu, and also those at Piru (West Ceram), actually were supposed to be supplied by the authorities in Masohi (capital of Ceram), but due to lack of transport facilities, humanitarian aid, which on two earlier occasions had already been sent, could not be forwarded according to previous planning. From now on both concentrations of refugees will be administered to straight from Ambon.

Meanwhile from August 7 to August 10, three UN sponsored organisations visited the about 5000 refugees in their camps at Piru and Kairatu, namely the United World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations Resource Centre Ambon, and the UN Development Project (UNDP), under leadership of Dr.Lenard Millich, together with the chairman of the Ambon Manusela Foundation. Dr.Millich declared to the press, that a lot still had to be done, especially in the field of transportation: local security forces are only willing to accompany transports of large quantities.

3. Police chief commander, Brigadir General Firman Gani, declared to the press that the police forces in the Moluccas within short will receive 3 containers with ammunition SS-1 and AK-47. Also uniforms and food will be sent. Actually supplies like these had already arrived in Ambon on June 27, but the escalation of violence then, dit not permit any unloading, so the ship returned to Surabaya without delivering the goods.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 40 - 49
(August 19 - September 5, 2000)

Report no. 40

Ambon, August 19, 2000

1. An incident happened in the village of ABORU on Haruku island (to the east of Ambon island) on August 18. According to the local newpapers, a 13 year old christian boy, Andre (Aldry) Saija, walking with a friend in the woods near Aboru, met somebody (islam) from the village of Pelau (Haruku) and was consequently killed. The whereabouts of his friend are still unknown. Due to bad communication with the place, it is not known yet whether this killing was followed by any local escalation of the conflict.

2. Muslim residents in the Ambon neighbourhood of Tanah Lapang Kecil (Talake) have complained to the military chief commander, I MadeYasa, about the way razzia (sweeping) on weapons in the civilians' houses was carried out by the Yonif 527 battalion in the early morning (01.00 a.m.) of August 14. They said that also personal documents, such as ATM, drivers' licenses etc. were confiscated. Even an Alquran book was said to have been trampled upon and torn to pieces. This latter fact could not possibly have happened, said Mr. I Made Yasa, since the sweeping was done by muslim soldiers only.

Brutal ways of sweeping, including damaging of property, were already reported on earlier occasions.

3. Almost every day the local newspapers report on corruption in connection with humanitarian aid for refugees by local authorities.

4. The government is building 30 long-sheds ('barraques') in Passo and elsewhere in that neighbourhood, but is hampered by shortage of building materials. The MSF (Médécins Sans Frontières) has the same difficulty in building the promised 20 long-sheds in Passo. Last year already 400 houses had been built by the government to replace destroyed houses, however all of these houses were destroyed when renewed unrest erupted. Only when the situation will be sufficiently conducive, an initial 1.600 houses will be built by the government on various places, such as Waai, Poka-Rumahtiga, Manggadua, Kampung Kolam and Benteng Atas (information from 'Siwalima' newspaper).

5. The United World Food Program (see report 39 no.2) will extend its aid in food and medicines to South and West Ceram (Piru - Masohi - Kairatu etc.) and intends to allot similar aid to Buru island and the refugees in the S.E.Moluccas as well.

6. Several thousands of refugees have been living in the woods and mountains both on the island of Ceram and the island of Buru for months now. Their living conditions undoubtedly are very hard and distressing. No aid what soever can be provided, due to lack of security and - most of all - due to the lack of proper communication and transportation facilities. It is believed that not a few among them face death (or have already died) either by starvation or by illnesses, lack of proper shelter and sufficient clothing.

7. Also the circumstances of several christian villages on Ceram which still hold on amidst a large number of islam villages, are hardly known. Actions like the assault on Alang Asaude (August 2 - see report 32) might happen again. Though still unconfirmed, it is said that the christian village of SALA (near Bula, N.W.Ceram) was destroyed recently; one is only guessing what happened to its residents.

Report no. 41

 

Ambon, August 20, 2000

<< Reflection on: how it all started >>

We are often asked this question: 'How did this prolonged unrest in the Moluccas actually start? What are the backgrounds? How did all this violence come about?'

Reflecting ons this I might hint at some preceding circumstances.

1. Two years ago, when elsewhere in Indonesia already more than 500 churches and also several mosques had been destroyed or damaged, the Moluccas were still free from any unrest. Many people believed that the famous Moluccan 'brotherhood' (pela gandong / basudara) would prevail over any menace of conflict. However, it turned out otherwise. It is said that the total of destruction and the number of casualties now even surpasses the destruction and killings of East Timor last year.

2. Perhaps the events in Kupang (including destroying of mosques) near the end of 1998, triggered certain rumours that now it was the Moluccas' turn to experience violence, just like afterwards the clashes in Moluccas triggered unrest elsewhere in Indonesia. We find some interesting details in an article by a 'Margaretha' - who repeatedly came from Jakarta and visited the Moluccas during the unrest - which can be found in the catholic monthly magazine 'HIDUP' 25 June 2000. She writes: 'At the beginning of December 1998 dark clouds began to hover over Ambon. There was a certain tenseness, there were rumours, even pamflets and graffiti on walls'. I remember to be present at a christian oecumenical meeting in the protestant Maranatha church, to discuss measures to be taken in case there would be an outbreak of unrest. Margaretha reports that on a certain moment there was a festivity going on in the village of Air Besar / Tawiri, during which a drunken soldier started shooting in the air, thus disrupting the party. Not long after that, a pig, pierced by a spear, was found in the yard of a (muslim) Buttonese. These incidents incited the Buttonese residents of Air Besar and probably muslim citizens elsewhere on the island of Ambon.

3. On Friday, January 15, 1999, a minor incident happened in the little town of Dobo, Aru Islands, far to the south. It is hardly conceivable how this incident within hours could become a large-scale clash between christians and muslims (most of whom non-authochthone Aru people). Fact is that it resulted in people being killed and houses, shops, churches and mosques being burned down. Two days later the Bupati (head of the sub-province of the S.E.Moluccas) arrived from Tual and succeeded in calming down the conflicting parties. But hardly had he left or the unrest flared up again, resulting in a considerable number of casualties and the loss of quite some property. At last Brimob Police forces, having arrived from Ambon, managed to take control, and on January 18th a reconciliation meeting was held. There have not been any clashes since.

4. Then, on Januari 19, 1999, on the holy islam Idul Fitri Day, the famous incident in Batumerah (predominantly muslim neighbourhood of Ambon town) happened: a muslim young man named Nursalim tried to extort some money from a christian minibus driver named Yopi. Both had their defenders, and within a couple of hours the whole town was in turmoil. It was the start of a long series of unprecedented clashes, destructive activities and cruel killings, which in a few months' time spread to virtually the whole Moluccas.

What triggered the christians?

Myself being an outsider, I can perceive kind of frustration among the autochthone christians, especially the protestants (the catholics were initially mainly on-lookers, being a mere 5% of the population, and almost all of them not being autochthone Ambonese, but coming from other islands such as Kei, Tanimber, Flores etc.).

The protestants used to be in the majority, especially in the central and south/SE Moluccas. During the last few decades, however, the balance had shifted. Many of the several thousands of (mainly muslim) Javanese political prisoners who had been taken to the island of Buru following the communist coup d'état of September 30th 1965, had preferred to stay on in the Moluccas after their release. Other transmigrations had followed, both organised by the government and spontaneously, the latter mainly from the muslim dominated areas of Button and Bugis on South Celebes. They were welcomed by the Ambonese, to do the mean jobs for them, so that the Ambonese could - generally, perhaps too generally spoken - restrict themselves to their favorite white-collar jobs. However, these 'pedicab drivers and harbour labourers' managed to enter into 'high places', getting important jobs in the government etc.

With so many 'alien' immigrants, the pela gandong mentality was significantly weakened.

On national level the christians perceived that Indonesia was more and more drifting to becoming an islam state.

What triggered the muslims?

Of course they did not want to be despised by the christians. They wanted to secure for themselves important assignments in government, in education facilities etc.

The christians were not trusted to be 100% loyal Indonesians. During the uprising against the Dutch in 1945-1949, the christians apparently were afraid being oppressed by the islam majority in Indonesia. Many christians volunteered as KNIL soldiers, fighting side-by-side with the Dutch oppressors, trusting the Dutch government to fulfill its promise of independency for the south Moluccas (= Ambon & nearby Lease islands). Up to now muslim fighters claim to be stifling those 'christian RMS (Republik Maluku Selatan = South Moluccas Republic) dissidents/separatists'.

There may have been slumbering a more than 50 years old grudge, especially among originally Javanese muslims, against the Moluccas as a whole, because of what those KNIL military (may) have done to them during the uprising against the Dutch. This might be an explanation why also certain public facilities like the Pattimura University, some Banks, the Telecommunication, police stations etc. were destroyed or damaged.

They very much litterally hold on what is said (or is considered to be said) in the Al Quran.

If they were subdued or beaten by the christians, they would compromise themselves in the eyes of their Indonesian muslim brothers: it is unconceivable that muslims should yield to christian 'infidels'.

The autochthone Ambon muslims (most of them living in the northern part of the island of Ambon) seemed to have no difficulty in choosing between either their ethnic brothers (christian autochthone Ambonese) or their immigrant muslim brothers - choosing sponteously for the latter.

Though there is influence of ethnic factors, I think it started mainly as a conflict of opposing different religion adherents. Only afterwards certain politicians ensured it to be going on to secure certain political or personel purposes.

Report no. 42

Ambon, August 22, 2000

1. Clarification of the incident at Aboru, island of Haruku (see Report 40 no.1) on August 18, concerning a christian boy who had allegedly been killed by a muslim from Pelauw. In fact the boy was killed by a traditional trap which is meant to kill wild game. The boy was on Pelauw territory then. No violence between the two villages ensued.

Perhaps in connection with the initially incorrect information about this affair by both local newspapers, the governor on local TV, August 21, stressed again his warning to the mass media that they should only report facts and not any assumptions. He would call those who are responsible for 'recent wrong information' to clarify this report.

2. At 'Pintu Batu', Ternate, North Moluccas, a poignant ceremony took place, namely the exchange of two children. Four years old Ayu from Popilo (Tobelo, islam) was exchanged for nine years old Deby Tumada from Duma (Galela, christian), witnessed by security forces. No incident ensued, there was just embracing and crying for joy. It is said that 22 more children there, are still waiting to be united with their families.

3. An advocation team, the FPUKMU = Forum Peduli Untuk Keadilan Maluku Utara (Forum which cares about justice being done in the North Moluccas), reported to the 'Manado Post' on August 21 about an investigation they had carried out on 31 locations in Central Halmahera and the North Moluccas since Augst 17. 'Siwa Lima' newspaper relays this report in its issue of August 22. Some numbers: Killed: 3.931; seriously wounded: 746; injured: 632. Destroyed Houses of Worship: 206 (168 churches, 38 mosques). Destroyed civilians' houses: 14.217. Destroyed school buildings: 115. These numbers are based both on own investigation and on data provided by local foundations and institutions. They further found that there is a sincere willingness among the people to bring about normal communication between the mutually opposing parties, because people are more and more convinced that they just have been used by certain persons who had some personal interest in the outbreak and continuation of the clashes.

4. According to 'Siwalima' newspaper, Jihad leader Ahlus-Sunnah WalJama'ah, Al-Ustadz Jaf'ar Umar Thalib declared in Solo (Java) on August 17, that of the 3000 jihad warriors that have been sent to the Moluccas, nine have been killed and 23 injured. He further said that the jihad troops will not be withdrawn from the Moluccas, for the local muslim community still needs their presence. They do not care whether the government agrees to their presence or not, their only guide being the Al Quran.

5. The chairman of the town's Legislative Counsel, Drs. MJ Papilaja MS, warned Ambon residents via 'Siwalima' newspaper that the actual respite in violence might be disrupted by a certain 'third faction' which wants to incite internal unrest within both conflicting parties themselves. He called them 'mysterious and professional'.

6. Issues are being spread about 'traitors', who in some cases have been lynched. 'Suara Maluku' August 21 reported on the death-penalty which was executed on Buton traitors La Biru and La Buang, the latter being hanged in front of some hundreds of islam Waihaong residents. For further report on this sad event, see Jakarta based Gamma magazine, 16-22 Agust issue.

7. Among the refugees living in the woods and mountains of the island of Ceram (see Report 40 no.6), about three thousand of them, having fled from the villages of Werinama and Tehoru and several other neighbouring villages (south Ceram), have been living at the Manusella mountain site since last January. One of them, Semmy Balkewang, recently reported on their desolate situation to the governor and was consequently interviewed by local newspaper 'Suara Maluku'. He said that during these eight months they have been living in caves and any other primitive sheltering places. When fleeing to safety, they did not have the opportunity to take any food with them neither basic commodities such as sleeping mats. The first to die were babies, due to inappropriate food and chill. Total deathtoll among them is 39. He acknowledged having received 40 tons of rice from the government on two occasions. He has come to the governor to request food and rebuilding of their houses in their villages.

N.B. The chairman of the Diocesan Crisis Centre left Ambon today for some conferences elsewhere. Meanwhile these reports will be signed by the secretary instead.

Report no. 43

Ambon, August 24, 2000

1. On at least four occasions, during the last few weeks, main telephone lines were cut, disrupting telephone communication between thousands of subscribers. Since this is damaging both conflicting parties, you may wonder whether indeed a 'third party' is involved here (confer Report 42 no.5).

2. Due to the dramatically changed situation in Ambon, the Ambon Post Office activities have dropped to 90% compared with its activities when the situation was normal two years ago.

3. The number of 'poor families' in Ambon town has risen 103% in comparison to one year ago (end of July 1999) according to official investigation.

4. At various destroyed - christian - sites on the island of Ambon there is looting of any materials which still may be of use, nearby security forces just looking on. For instance from the vast destroyed area of Poka-Rumahtiga truckloads of zinc sheets and lumber and other still useful materials are pillaged.

5. To determine the damage which was done to the Pattimura University, for the second time an Inventarisation and Investigation Team was sent to the site (Poka-Rumahtiga,on the northen side of the Bay of Ambon). The 43 member team left from the Gudang Arang harbour on a naval vessel at 10.00 a.m. on August 23. They were accompanied by military security forces. They managed to retrieve some apparatus (a handycam, a taperecorder, a photocamera) and some import files. When ready to leave at 2.00 p.m., they were met by a crowd of muslims, who demanded the team to show what they were taking with them. The commander of the Yonif 521 Battalion sent the team to safety on the second floor of the Technological Faculty building and secured everything that had been gathered by the team. The muslim crowd could at last be persuaded to disperse.

6. Before burning part of the Telecommunication Centre at Tanah Lapang Kecil (Ambon town) on June 22, the muslim attackers had laid hands on various devices and apparatuses from the building. On August 23 they officially returned these valuable devices to the local Telecommunication board. The ceremony was shown on local TV, August 23.

7. The villagers of the totally destroyed village of Waai on the island of Ambon - now staying as refugees in Passo and nearby Waitatiri - urgently request that the long-sheds (barraques) that will be provided for them by the government and the MSF, should be built at the village of Wahai itself, to ensure their inheritance. They ask for Brimob Police forces and Marinirs to take care of security.

Report no. 44

Ambon, August 26, 2000

1. General Commander of the Indonesian Police Force (Kapolri Jenderal) Rusdihardjo was in Ambon on August 24. Among other statements he stressed that any interventoon from outside Indonesia to end the conflict in the Moluccas, was out of the question.

He further affirmed that additional Brimob police forces (two battalions) would be sent to the Moluccas immediately to ensure normal living condition of the population.

He acknowledged the shortage of weapons and ammunition of the local police, due to the looting of the two storage buildings of the Police Headquarters at Tantui on June 21-22. He promised to send additional weaponry. He further handed over 1,2 billion rupiahs, to be followed by another 800 million rupiahs later on, in order to make a start rebuilding police facilities (Rp 2.000.000.000,- equals about US$ 230,000.-).

2. The governor of the Moluccas, Dr.Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina, together with the police chief commander, Drs. Firman Gani, went to the village of Tulehu on August 24, to have a meeting with the local muslim population of the villages of Tulehu, Liang and Tengah-Tengah. According to 'Siwalima' newspaper, on that occasion Mr. Abubakar Nuhumaruly, speaking on behalf of the Tulehu villagers, urged the muslim imams and the christian ministers to direct the faithful towards reconciliation. He commented on the recent savage attack on Waai, totally destroying the place and killing many innocent and defenseless people, explaining that it was triggered by the rumour that Waai was preparing an attack on Tulehu. He regretted that neither religious leaders nor other local authorities had provided any comment on this rumour, which afterwards turned out to have been erroneous.

Commenting on the determination of the Waai residents to return to their village immediately (see Report 43 no.7) he suggested that they should delay their return until any emotions would have cooled down.

Newspaper 'Suara Maluku' reports they have learned that in Tulehu 60 jihad troops are stationed. In almost all muslim villages on the island of Ambon are to be found jihad warriors.

3. In the evening of August 25, from 10.0 pm to past midnight, there was frequent shooting and bombing in the Ambon town neighbourhoods of Batugajah Urimesing, Diponegoro and Manggadua, causing part of the local civilians fleeing for safer places. In Manggadua the shooting was said to be mainly directed towards the location of the governors residence.

4. A deputation for reconciliation and peace in the Moluccas will come to the Moluccas within short, i.e. Lieutenant General Suaedi Marasabessy and Major General Ade Picaulima. Various factions in Ambon oppose to their coming here, based on unfortunate experience with earlier similar deputations, which only turned out to be stratagems of a certain elite outside the Moluccas that do not want the conflict to stop. It is said that several earlier interventions of Suaedi Marasabessy incited renewed eruptions of violence. Let the reconciliation take place on the Moluccans people's own accord in a 'natural' way.

5. 'Siwalima' newspaper reports on recent disembarking of several thousands of non-Moluccas people in the ports of Namlea (island of Buru) and Banda, having arrived there on regular passenger ships. The governor immediately asked for confirmation, but only Namlea could be reached by telephone. The 'camat' (local head of government ) of Namlea confirmed that the passengership 'Lambelu' docked at Namlea on August 24 and that about one thousand passengers from Java and nearby islands had disembarked. There had been carried out a perfunctory checking on the passengers. The majority of these Javanese had said they were transmigrants who had fled the island earlier and now wished to return to their original homesteads on Buru. But it is feared that the real destination of at least part of them is Ambon and that not all of them are 'returning refugees'.

Report no. 45

Ambon, August 28, 2000

1. An accidentally exploding rifle killed one military, Mulyono, and seriously injured another in the evening of August 27.

2. The last few days there is an escalation of tenseness in Ambon, caused by some events like:
a) Every night there is shooting and bombing in the neighbourhoods of Batugajah, Urimesing, Diponegoro and Manggadua (see Report 44 no. 3).
b) 'Suara Maluku' newspaper reports that on August 27 there was a crowd assembling in the village of Tawiri, near Laha (opposite side of the Bay, near the airport), however it could be dissipated by air force military. It started by the finding of an empty speed boat in the morning of August 27, owned by a muslim from Laha (named Tahir). It was found drifting by somebody from nearby Hative Besar village, named Paulus ('Pol'_). When Tahir perceived his drifted off speed boat, he asked for intervention of the local Special Forces. The special forces commandant then negotiated with Paulus, and at last could free the boat at a price of one million rupiahs.
c) On Augst 26 - according to 'Suara Maluku' - at 10.00 a.m., some people were seen to be looting the shop 'Mahkota' at Mardika neighbourhood. The responsible local military unit arrested 9 looters, who we consequently handed over to the police.
d) Own sources report that last night there was frequent shooting and bombing again, having its start at the environment of the Al-Fatah Mosque, where a large muslim crowd had gathered, and which was apparently aimed at Batumeja neighbourhood, especially directed at the Government Office building. However, there was no report of any damage or casualties.

3. The government has published the official numbers of refugees in the Moluccas (exclusive the North Moluccas):
Ambon : 83.686; Central Moluccas: 71.653; S.E. Moluccas: 59.377; West S.E.Moluccas: 53.723; island of Buru: 11.128. Total of refugees::279.567.

4. Inflation in Ambon town during the month of July had an average of : 6.89%. Inflation of food even reached 13.34 %.

5. 'Siwalima' newspaper reports on a assertion on August 26 by Crisis Centre chairman Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan during a 'Seminar for National Security and Consolidation of Peace in East Indonesia' which is being held in Maumere, island of Flores. Fr. Agus categorizes the conflict in the Moluccas as 'organized criminality'. Generally spoken, the conflict is now a vertical one, being politiziced by certain persons for whom it seems to be important the conflict to be going on. To that purpose religion is being abused, and large funds are being provided. These persons expect much from especially youngsters who experience frustration and resentment towards parents, teachers and government, and have an aversion of being controlled by adat (traditional values) and religion. In the national hausse of new democracy with its hardly controlled demonstrations and exertions of autonomy etc., they endeavour to oppose their parents, the government and religious leaders. For several years they have been looking for an opportunity like this to expose and enjoy acts of violence and shocking savagery. So there is special need to direct these youngsters back to a normal way of life.

Report no. 46

Ambon, August 29, 2000

1. Referring to Media Indonesia on Line, 'Siwalima' reports about a retired Lietenant Colonel, abbreviated 'ABT' in the North Moluccas, specifically on the island of Mangole (district of Taliabu Timur, close to Celebes) that he may be a provocator to create unrest on the islands of Taliabu and Mangole, which up to now have been free of any conflict. He was found to have a stock of regular army shoes and uniforms, black jungle caps, ninja bandannas (sebo), and military belts. ABT acknowledges to be the chieftain of the Siliwangi fighters. Local military and police confirm that he recruits local civilians, most of them muslim Butonese to become Siliwangi fighters. He was caught while enlisting fighters. On that occasion were confiscated 50 uniforms, 40 pairs of shoes, 50 black T-shirts with the lettering Pejuang (fighter) Siliwangi, 50 black jungle caps, 100 badges, 50 sebos, 100 name-stickers and 100 belts. ABT has been taken to police headquarters in Ternate for further investigation.

2. The vice Governor of the Moluccas, Mrs. Dra. Paula B.Renyaan, made a correction on the official numbers of refugees in the Moluccas (exclusive the North Moluccas) (see Report 45 no.3). She provided the following numbers of refugees: Ambon: 83.686; Central Moluccas: 77.711; S.E. Moluccas: 34945; West S.E.Moluccas: 8.402; island of Buru: 10.317. Total of refugees: 215.061 (not 279.567). She added that before the Civil Emergency State was declared (June 27, 2000), the number of refugees was 104.186.

3. In an interview with 'Siwalima', Police chief commander Drs. Firman Gani warns Ambon citizens that among the military and police security forces there is a number of undisciplined servicemen who experience sort of 'disappointment' with the actual conducive situation in Ambon, bereaving them of additional income, which they usually pocket when escorting speedboats or permitting vehicles to pass certain checkpoints etc. They want the chaos to go on for personal profit, and it is probably those who are at the source of frequent shooting and bombing during the last few nights. He urgently asks the citizens to keep him informed about any irregularity in this field.

4. The Rector of the destroyed Pattimura University in Ambon declares that of the 800 scholars/professors, about 400 have left Ambon. He warns them that a prolonged absence will result in them being fired if they do not respond to written summons three times to return.

University activities will start again on October 1st, 2000 at various locations in town.

He further confirmed to the press that damage to the university amounts to 500 billion rupiahs ( = US$ 61.000.000,-) (see Report 37 no.4), not included the totally lost library and laboratorium devices.

5. At 7.00 a.m. on August 28 a sniper shot at a minibus which had just passed the bridge at Pohon Puleh, Ambon town, injuring one of the passengers.

Report no. 47

Ambon, August 31, 2000

1. The governor is considering legal processes to take place on a ship in the Bay of Ambon, apparently to create a neutral location, which can be approached by anyone without being obstructed by roadblocks or dangerous passages.

2. Passing by the Tanjung (point of land) Martha Alfons at Poka/Rumahtiga on their speedboats, christians perceive certain activities taking place in this former, totally destroyed christian area at the opposite side of the Bay. 'Siwalima' newspaper wonders whether a kind of 'Hitu' is being established there by the muslims. ('Hitu Lama' on the north coast of Ambon island is the headquarters of the jihad troops). Along the shore there is a lot of activity. There is an increasing traffic of muslim speed boats from and to Batumerah (Ambon town). On Tanjung Marta Alfons itself there is a large banner with the 'new name' of this tanjung: 'Tanjung Mujahidin'. An old colonial two story house on that location has been spared, allegedly for snipers' activities on passing by boats.

3. The MSF (Médécins Sans Frontières) has built 20 long-sheds ('barraques') in Larier (between Passo and Hutumuri) with the help of about a 100 workers from the refugees themselves. They provide decent shelter for 800 christian refugees from Waai.

4. The MSF is also active in vaccinating hundreds of refugees children against measles.

5. A foreign reporter, meeting occasionally with some Jihad fighters, noticed that at least two of them were foreigners: one obviously from Yemen and one from some other Arab country. He further noticed that these Jihads did not commit themselves to any conversation,even would not shake and extended hand.

6. The whole Moluccas are quiet these days. The governor and his aides are bargaining with both parties to secure safe passage through each other's neighourhoods:
- for the christians through Pohon Mangga (at the west end of the town) and through Batumerah/Galunggung (to the east),
- for the muslims through Benteng/OSM/Batugantung and through the village of Passo to Tantui.

Report no. 48

Ambon, September 4, 2000

1. Summoned by Presiden Abdurrahnmat Wahid to talk about the condition of the Moluccas, a deputation left for Jakarta on September 1 on three special airplanes. The first plane was boarded by governor Dr.Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina, military chief commander I Made Yasa and police chief commander Firman Gani. On the second flight were to be found a delegation of about 12 christians, including the bishop of Amboina, Msgr.P.C.Mandagi MSC, whereas the third plane was boarded by a muslim delegation of also about 12 persons. In Jakarta they will also meet with christian and muslim leaders. However it is questioned: why could not they all board one and the same plane??

2. On August 31 the MS Danau Rana upon entering Ambon, was found to have detonators (19 wired one and 5 wireless ones) and some ammunition on board.

3. According to local newspaper 'Siwalima', the leader of the Jihad Communication Forum Ahlus Sunnah Wal' Jamaah, Ustad Jaffar Umar Tahlib, explained to the muslim community in the Ambon Al-Fatah Mosque on September 3 on the topic: 'Urgent zest of the muslims to fulfill their strive'. His Tabligh Akbar was broadcast on Radio Gema Suara Muslim 99, 7FM. He said that the islam community will keep on warfare until all slander towards the muslims by the christians will be stopped. He said: 'Keep on fighting the christians until all of their potential to pester the muslim community will be obliterated.' He further said that any negotiations of peace is impossible. 'The war will only be over as soon as the muslims control the town of Ambon& I am sure we can end the conflict by means of war. There is no other way to pave the way for a bright future for our children and grandchildren.' He said that it is not the muslims who are the rioters and agitators, on the contrary they are the victims of christian RMS insurgents. So he expected the muslims would behave as genuine muslims, meanwhile fervently praying to Allah. He compared the actual conducive situation in Ambon to a 'break' like it is done in a football match, because he could not see any sincere disposition on the side of the christians to foster peace. On the contrary the christians just want to dominate the Moluccas, their ultimate goal being ' with help of the UN ' the separation of the Moluccas from Indonesia. He called Gus Dur, the Indonesian president, a traitor, saying: 'With God's help ('Insya Allah') Gus Dur will be sentenced by the people, because he never defends the rights of the muslims.'

4. Time and again various christian organisations and private persons repeatedly say that no negotiation with the muslims will be possible as long as the jihad warriors still are in the Moluccas.

5. 'Siwalima' newspaper reports that in the destroyed Poka-Rumahtiga area, which is now dominated by muslims, many graves in the general graveyard are being robbed from any valuable objects. The same is happening at the general graveyard of Kebun Cengkeh, at the outskirts of Ambon (close to Batumerah/Galunggung).

6. Last week a deputation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrived to do investigation and inventarisation of the refugees' needs. Together with Indonesian Red Cross delegates they had a meeting with the vice governor Dra.Paula B.Renyaan on September 2. They are ready to help in the fields of health care, water supply, protection for civilians and searach for 'disappeared persons', insofar needed.

Report no. 49

Ambon, September 5, 2000

1. The (muslim) local newspaper 'Ambon Express' ' according to 'Suara Maluku' - assumes that the now destroyed Faculty of Technics and the Polytechnic Practice unit of the Pattimura University was being used by 'a certain group' (read: christians) to manufacture weapons. The Rector of the Pattimura University, Prof.Dr. Mus Huliselan (a christian) denies this categorically and calls it a kind of conspiration to besmirch the reputation of this university.

2. The Tabligh Akbar ('official lecture') by the leader of the Jihad Communication Forum Ahlus Sunnah Wal' Jamaah, Ustad Jaffar Umar Tahlib, in the Ambon Al-Fatah Mosque on September 3, which was broadcasted on Radio Gema Suara Muslim 99, 7FM (see Report 48 no.3) provoked widespread reaction. The reaction (of the christians) generally is incredulity how-on-earth it is possible that such apparent provocation can go unpunished. On that day, the governor and the military and police chief commanders were in Jakarta, and they have not returned up to now. According to 'Suara Maluku', the governor gave instructions to exert the needed coordination first, then to wait for his arrival back in Ambon. This coordination meanwhile has been done by vice governor Dra. Paula B.Renyaan with military, police and juridical authorities, i.a. by investigating on this Radio Station's (Gema Suara Muslim) license to broadcast. The head of this Radio Station will be 'invited' to clarify on the background of that much talked about Tabligh Akbar.

3. The Christian/Muslim delegation which had a meeting with President Gus Dur at his request (see Report 48 no.1) on September 2, declared on a press conference in Jakarta that UN presence in the Moluccas is the only possible way to put an end to the conflict, the violence and destruction and to pave the way for reconciliation. This presence is visualized in four ways: (1) Humanitarian Aid, (2) International Observer, (3) Peace Keeping Mission and (4) Independent Investigation Team. The Indonesian government will prove its credibility in the eyes of the world, if it allows all of these four activities to take place in the Moluccas.

4. Meanwhile two 'grass-root' leaders of the spontaneous local christian 'defense forces', Agus Wattimena and Emang Nikijulouw clarified to 'Siwalima' newspaper about some topics like:
-Any reconciliation efforts are impossible as long as the jihad warriors are still in the Moluccas. It is clear enough that the jihads have not come for social and humanitarian purposes, but only to make war on the christians. It also has been sufficiently demonstrated that they are being used by the military to annihilate the christian quarters in Ambon.
- It is already one month ago that the governor as the responsible for the civil emergency state ordered the military chief commander, I Made Yasa, to send away those who have no business in Ambon (read: the jihad warriors). But up to now hardly any of them have left. I Made Yasa confessed to the press some time ago, that he was thinking about what way to send them home.
- Now the supreme leader of the jihad forces, Jaffar Umar Tahlib, has come to Ambon, not to enhance reconciliation but, on the contrary, instigate the muslims to continue waging war on the christians in order to take over the town of Ambon, according to his own words (see Report 48 no.3). Those who are responsible for the civil emergency state, should have the courage to arrest this man and bring him to justice as a war criminal.
- The deputation that recently left for Jakarta (see Report 48 no.1 and supra no.3): who do they in fact represent? Where are the representatives of Buru, Ceram and other regions that have been destroyed? Where are those who have actually witnessed and experienced slaughter?


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 50 - 59
(September 6 - 23, 2000)

Report no. 50

Ambon, September 6, 2000

In this special ('golden') report we provide the literal text which was brought forth in Indonesian and English by the christian delegates on their recent visit (together with muslim delegates) to the President of the Republic of Indonesia in Jakarta (see Report 48 no.1 and Report 49 no.3 & 4 - last item). Excuses for any irregularities in the English translation.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE PROTESTANT CHURCH OF MALUKU AND AMBOINA DIOCESE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
JI. Pattimura No.26, AMBON
Tel. : (0911) 343832
Fax. : (0911) 355337

Point of Ideas on Conflict-ending in Maluku

The Maluku riots, which erupted on January 19, 1999, right on the Idul Fitri day (the Islamic holy day), especially in the Ambon Island (and the islands around it), had entered its 20th month. It started as a personal argument between a market hit man named Nursalim with a driver named Jopie Louheri, at a Batu Merah terminal. This fight has been brought to trial at Ambon State Court. By this court, it was proven that it's a pure crime case and this court found Nursalim guilty. But that's not the same idea among Muslim Ambonese. This incident was not considered an ordinary crime case, but rather as a Christian Ambonese systematic plan to spoil/ruin the sacracy of Idul Fitri day. And because of that, an issue has been developed to provoke religious sentiment between both religions.

This was proven when the houses of Christians in Mardika and Silale were burnt by masses of Muslims. After some time, a fake issue developed quickly among the Christians that Bethabara church in Batu Merah, Bethel church in Mardika, and Sumber Kasih church in Silale had been burnt also by the Muslims. This fake issue caused a spontaneous reaction from the Christians of Ambon City, who came to both location, and soon became a mass riot in Ambon City.

Meanwhile, at the Muslims community, a fake issue was also developed that the Christians had burned a mosque in Batu Merah and AI-Fatah mosque (the biggest mosque in Ambon). This rose their anger and became an excuse for Muslims everywhere, especially in villages in Leihitu peninsula, to assault, assassinated, looted, and burnt Christian houses in the south of Leihitu peninsula. The rioters passed two barracks of the army (733 Infantry Battalion) without any hassle at all. These rioters were then stopped in front of Police Mobile Brigade dorm in Air Besar, Passo (a Christian village), by telling them that AI-Fatah mosque was not burnt like issued earlier.

The incident, the first in the history of Maluku, was later published nationally in mass media that Muslims had been assassinated everywhere in Ambon and around. From this news, developed an issue that the Christians in Maluku, with the help of RMS (Republik Maluku Selatan), systematically have planned the assassinations of Muslims in Maluku, and spoiled the sacracy of Idul Fitri day, which was latter called "the bloody Idul Fitri" (The RMS abbreviation token from the 1950s separatist movement: the South Maluku Republic, translator). This caused a solidarity among Muslims in Maluku and nation-wide, and hatred against Ambonese Christians. Consequently, assaults, assassinations, and burning of houses and churches took place throughout Maluku islands. This has also provoked anger among the Christians in Maluku, who spontaneously to launch self-defense and retaliation attacks on Muslim communities around Christian living quarters. This mutual attacks between the. Muslims and the Christians everywhere in the Maluku were inevitable. Meanwhile a feeling of hatred towards the Moluccan Christians in many cities in Indonesia became more and more evident.

The feeling was accumulated in a Islamic emotional rally called 'Tabliq Akbar' in Senayan sports venue in Jakarta early this year, which was organized by a notorious group called 'laskar Jihad' (Jihad legion). The rally speakers were national political leaders and two Muslim figures from Ambon (Ali Fauzy and General ret. Rustam Kastor) and the Kapita Tidore (Kapita = war commander). This rally then endorsed the sending of laskar Jihad to the Maluku. Thousands registered and trained in warfare in a location near Bogor followed by a big show of force in Jakarta where they demonstrated all their weaponry as a preparation to be sent to the Maluku. Not long after that, in a continuous waves, thousands of the laskar Jihad were sent to the Maluku through some East Java harbours, without any attempt to stop them by the security forces, despite the President's order against laskar Jihad going to the Maluku. Arriving in the Maluku, they were not sent back by the local security forces.

After that, containers full of sophisticated weapons and ammunition arrived in Ambon. Again no efforts were made by security forces to check on them and thus were safely smuggled into muslim living quarters of Waihaong in Ambon. Then attacks on christian living quarters in Ambon and its surrounding areas began where army and police standard weapons, grenades and mortars (produced by military factory Pindad) were used with military strategy and tactics.

Because of this increased riots, the Central Government enforced the Civil State of Emergency in the Maluku, changed the Military and Police Commanders in Chief. This policy did not help stop the riots, instead it even increased them more and more. Within this great chaos, the Military commander in chief (Brigadier General I Made Yasa) even pulled away troups from areas of conflict, despite oral and written requests from the governor on behalf of both conflicting factions to keep the security forces in the areas of conflict. As a result, attacks on christian communities escalated in Poka, Rumahtiga, Waai, Urimesing, Air Mata Cina, Diponegoro Atas and Mangga Dua, including the campus of the State University of Pattimura in Poka. The security forces made no attempt to prevent let alone to stop it, on the contrary many of them, especially from the.army, supported the barbarian action.

In many conflicts, it is very obvious that many army personnel were involved, thus made the situation uncontrollable: Within this very fragile fearful security condition, the commander in chief appeared on local TV station to announce that the strength and weaponry of the rioters overpowered that of the army security forces. This statement increased the fear among the people and at the same time the people lost confidence on the security forces, and thus they left homes and fled to villages in the mountains or to other safe areas outside the city of Ambon.

Looking at all these failures by the government in handling the riots and riots which have caused thousands of the innocent to lose their lives, hundreds of thousands to lose their homes and properties, we come to the conclusion that in order to end this conflict, we are of the opinion that:

1. The riots in the Maluku are not merely religious conflicts (horizontal conflicts between religions), but also vertical conflicts, ideological conflicts using religious symbols and banners.

2. The conflict in the Maluku is a political conspiracy among certain groups in Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia, i.e. the military (Army), the fundamentalists and jihad, national and local political figures (including new order cronies), with the ultimate goal of creating instability to gain bargaining power and to overthrow the present government.

3. The government has failed to carry its duties to enforce law and order in the Maluku, thus riots continues to violate human rights, the rigihts to live, to feel secure, to possess private properties, to live in an area, and to possess lands. Thus human life in all aspects has been ruined.

4. It seems that those who are behind this dirty "power play" possess the ability and influence beyond that of the President himself so that the legal government could not function effectively to protect and guarantee its people's human rights in the Maluku.

Therefore, in order to end the conflicts and to begin the proses of social reconciliation, the following measures should be taken:

I/ It is felt necessary to involve the UN in the forms of
a. Humanitarian Aid.
b. International Observer.
c. Peace Keeping Mission
d. Independent Investigating Team.

II/ To legally process the involvement of the mi1itary personnel nationally as well as locally, which includes:
a. Legal process toward certain personnel and the military/police groups, especially the army, which indicated involve in each riots that happened in Maluku, and who are purposively or in-purposively didn't fulfill their duties.
b. Legal process to the former Commander of the 174 Pattimura Military Resort (Colonel Hikayat), the former Regional Commander of the Pattimura Military Region, the recent Regional Commander of the Pattimura Military Region, and their staffs, who are purposively or in-purposively didn't fulfil their security functions.
c. Legal process to the joint chief of staff (General Wiranto), and the two former National Chief of Police (before the recent one). Together with their relating staffs during the period of duties, supposed to be responsible for the keeping of security and order of the society during the riots in Maluku.
d. Rearrangement of the security management, both about the under-police-commanding army groups (BKO groups) and about the operational security management. In order to maintain the civil-order, the security and order commanding control should be transferred from the Pattimura Military Region to the Maluku Regional Police, which actually is the backbone of the Civil Emergency law in Maluku.

III/ In order to execute the civil-order in Maluku, it's time to send back home all the BKO groups and changed them with the Police force, or if needed assisted by the Marine Corps and/or the Air Force Special Groups.

1V/ In order to start a process of dialogue among all the Malukus, then the Jihad Militia and other non-Maluku persons with no clear intention in Maluku should be ousted from the entire Maluku archipelago. To do so, at least in 2 x 24 hours. President of the Republic of Indonesia should declares that "the Jihad Militia is the violator of Human Rights in Maluku (include in North Maluku province). They are criminals and should be brought to the court to be processed according to the law'.

V/ Law and order must be enforced toward all civilians who broke the law, or involve in riot, especially, which occurred after the enactment of the Civil-Emergency law.

VI/ Urgent actions are needed in to restore security and order at the areas that are still unsafe or had been destroyed, and toward the streets in the area controlled by the civilian armed groups for the sake of the normalization of social and economic life in of the people.

VII/ Traditional (adat) approach is needed, which should be started with physical rehabilitation, together with structural and normative revitalization of the traditional (adat) villages, which were destroyed during the riots.

VIII/ Clarification, purification, and maturation faith and pluralistic religious lives, as the requirements of the internal and external self-control and self-defense process.

IX/ All of these are a pre-condition for the common efforts of the people of Maluku to rebuild their social - cultural - economical - political ability and strength, toward a New Maluku, which is just, prosperous, and democratic, as a living-space for all Thousand Island Children from all backgrounds.

These are our points of ideas based on the reality that happened in Maluku, that we present with sincere and full-heartily to Mr. President, and the responsible authorities. Thank you.

Jakarta, September 2, 2000

On Behalf of the Citizens of the Republic of Indonesia whose religions are Christianity in the Maluku archipelago

CHAIRPERSON

COMMUNION OF CHURCHES IN INDONESIA -MALUKU REGION I
CHAIRPERSON OF THE MALUKU PROTESTANT CHURCH SYNOD
signed
Rev. S.P. Titaley, S.Th.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BISHOP OF THE AMBOINA DIOCESE
signed
Msgr. P.C. Mandagi, MSC

Report no. 51

Ambon, September 10, 2000

1. The Tabligh Akbar ('official lecture') by the leader of the Jihad Communication Forum Ahlus Sunnah Wal' Jamaah, Ustad Jaffar Umar Tahlib, in the Ambon Al-Fatah Mosque on September 3, which was broadcasted on Radio Gema Suara Muslim is still much being talked and written about. The governor ordered him to be arrested on account of his provocative words, which jeopardize the recent relative conducive situation in Ambon. However, such a thing is not easy, for it may induce unanticipated reactions. Nevertheless people are asking: What is the use of having isolated Ambon during one month (August 10th - September 10th) if provocators like this Jaffar Tahlib have been able to enter unhindered?

2. It is reported that the christian/muslim delegation from Ambon which had a meeting with President Gus on September 2 (see Report 49 no. 3) was met by the president separately: the muslims by themselves / the christians by themselves. The two delegations also returned to Ambon on separate airplanes

3. Starting on September 11, Ambon will be open again to the PELNI passengerships. However, to forestall any unwanted irregularities, the ships will not dock at the main harbour (Jos Sudarso Harbour, dominated by muslims), but at the neutral naval base of Halong, somewhat farther into the Bay, about 7 km from Ambon town. Security forces will escort disembarking passengers by road from Halong to Ambon. This road leads alternatively through muslim and christian quarters.

4. 8.402 christian refugees from the island of Obi (North Moluccas) and from the town of Ambon were evacuated to the S.E. Moluccas and have been staying there since March 2000. It is reported by the secretary (Drs. J.M.Wattimena) of the newly established Kabupaten (sub-province) of Maluku Tenggara Barat (Western S.E.Moluccas), of which Saumlaki on the Tanimbar islands is the capital, that many of these refugees live in distressful circumstances, lacking enough food and sufficient medical care. This applies more specifically to the majority who have no family in those places. The 1.251 refugees from Obi up to now received rice just once (26 tons) via the local Social Department. The 7.151 refugees from Ambon are said never to have received anything but 10 tons of rice which was forwarded to them by benevolence of a local merchant. For non-natives it seems to be difficult to obtain permanently a plot of land to build a shed and to grow crops on it. In fact, for the time being, they just depend on the mercy of local residents. Their future is far from bright. NGO-s hardly reach that far up to now.

5. On September 7, Ambon celebrated its 425th anniversary. The modest celebration of it went without any irregularities. The day before, the official Moluccas Protestant Church (Gereja Protestan Maluku ' GPM) celebrated its 65th dies natalis, likewise without any disturbance.

6. As a whole, the situation in the Moluccas is quiet. It is just the population's anxiety that continuation of this conducive situation is solely dependent on the decision of the still numerous jihad warriors: whether or not to stop the confrontation. It is therefore that the christians only want to come to a dialogue with the muslims when these jihads will have left the area.

Report no. 52

Ambon, September 12, 2000

1. Though the governor, Dr.Ir. Saleh M.Latuconsina. had stated that the PELNI passengerships, which, starting on September 11, will dock at Ambon again, will not dock at the main harbour Jos Sudarso Harbour (dominated by muslims), but at the neutral naval base of Halong, this decision was suddenly cancelled: The MS 'Rinjani', upon entering Ambon Bay, headed straight for Jos Sudarso harbour with permission of the governor. On entering the bay, ship was immediately escorted by two navy vessels and sweeping of the passengers on any weaponry started while still underway to the harbour; it was reported to be carried out meticulously. The governor himself witnessed the ship mooring. The governor's inconsistency in this case is much regretted by many people. One is wondering what way will be followed when on September 19 MS 'Dobonsolo' will arrive (this ship ' due to its route ' usually has many christians on board).

2. The head of the social department of the S.E.Moluccas sub-province, Drs.Idris Baranjanan, reports from Tual that 51.175 refugees, spread over 124 villages on the islands of Kei-Kecil and Kei-Besar are threatened by shortage of food. Much of the barren soil of Kei-Kecil is rather unproductive; besides, many local people are still afraid of tending their crops on their plots of land which often are on isolated places, far from their villages, so that the residents have scarcely enough food for themselves. Huge funds (almost 6 billion rupiahs) which have been allocated by the government to this purpose, have not yet been made available.

3. An enticing suggestion was made by one of the readers of these Reports. He writes: 'Would it be possible for someone to organize a system where the many relief organisations and aid agencies 'adopt a village' and assist with the practical requirements of that village? This may help break down the inertia of people thinking 'What can we do? The problem is too big'.'

This suggestion will have the attention of our Crisis Centre. Any one among our friends, on reading this suggestion, is herewith invited to enter his/her conjecture on this thought, or to contact the very source of it on gramecav@asiaonline.net.au. Thanks to Mr.Graeme!

4. It was suggested to us to open a website. However, we think there is already a sufficient number of websites on the unrest in the Moluccas. One of these repeatedly sites our routine reports, to be found on http://www.go.to/ambon_menangis.

Report no. 53

Ambon, September 14, 2000

1. Several people living in the Netherlands who originally come from the now totally destroyed christian village of Waai on Ambon island, came to Ambon recently to have a close look on the damage and thus define a planning for help in rebuilding the village. After a meeting with the governor and with his permission, they went to Waai by road on September 11. The party consisted of 29 people in five passenger cars, namely 4 assistants of the local Pekerjaan Umum (Public Works) for technical advise on any rebuilding program, 6 security forces; whereas most of the others were Waai villagers, among whom the deputation from the Netherlands. Perceiving that the situation was hardly conducive, they hastily did some documentation (pictures & video), but hurrying back to their cars, a bomb exploded in the middle of Waai, and they where informed that the road to nearby Tulehu (a muslim village which they had to pass on their way back) meanwhile had been barricaded, and that a crowd of muslims was amassing. Being stopped between the villages of Waai and Tulehu, the party took refuge at the nearby Security Forces Post. Their cameras were confiscated by the mob. One of the party, member of the Information Department of the Civil Emergency, negotiated with the muslims. The others were loaded on a truck and taken to safety. In the end they perceived that one of them was missing, namely the driver of the Pekerjaan Umum car, named Bernadus Talaperu. Up to date (September 13) he or his body has not been found yet.

On September 13, the Secretary of the local MUI ('Majelis Ulama Indonesia', the highest muslim authority, at least in theory) said he regretted this sad incident; it would not have taken place ' he said ' if only there had been proper coordination between the governor and the MUI authorities.

2. The governor, Dr.Ir.M.Saleh Latuconsina, gave further explanation on his 'inconsistency' permitting the passengership MS 'Rinjani', upon entering Ambon Bay, to dock at muslim dominated Jos Sudarso harbour though three days before he had stated that it would dock at the neutral navy harbour (see Report 52 no.1). He said to the press: Immediately after leaving Makasar (formerly called Ujung Pandang), the captain of the ship, Mr. Hamid, reported to the governor that 800 of the passengers who wanted to disembark in Ambon had signed a declaration that they would capture the ship if it would dock at the navel base of Halong instead of at Jos Sudarso harbour. The governor then discussed this dilemma with his advisers of the Civil Emergency and it was agreed to comply to these passengers' wish. When on September 19 the Dobonsolo passenger ship(predominantly boarded by christians) will arrive in Ambon, it will dock at the 'christian' harbour of Gudang Arang instead of Halong if that is the passengers' wish.

3. The Crisis Centre acknowledges to have hardly any contact with the muslim civilians in Ambon. On September 13 some christians had the opportunity to visit the muslim refugees camp at the Ambon neighhourhood of Waihaong. The party was led by the wife of the governor (muslim) and consisted of Sister Brigita Renyaan (an 'associate' member of the Crisis Centre), Mrs. Hilly Timner and Mrs. Hellen Oostenbroek-Matulessy (both of them deputies from the gemeente Leerdam, the Netherlands) and Miss Pauline Rehatta (from Tilburg, the Netherlands). The secretary of the Crisis Centre was told by Miss Pauline about the situation among the several thousands of muslim refugees at Waihaong, most of whom had fled to safety out of the christian quarters of the town last year. She witnessed a most distressful situation, much worse than in comparable christian refugees sites. There are indications of malnutrition and lack of hygienics. The various buildings are much too crowded. Cooking and living are done at the same place. It happened to be raining just then, and there were leakages everywhere. She did some documentation by photographs. To be more informed about this, one could contact Miss Pauline Rehatta in Tilburg on phone number 013 - 46 83 301. She intends to arrive back in the Netherlands on September 17.

Report no. 54

Ambon, September 15, 2000

1. On September 14, an informal meeting was held between on the one side the governor, the military chief commander, the police superintendant (whose name is Esa Permadi) and on the other hand supreme jihad leader Jaffar Umar Thalib and several of his assistants. Present were also the chairman of the MUI ('Majelis Ulama Indonesia'), Haji R.R.Hasanussi; the coordinator of the Moluccas Muslim Community, Mr. Thamrin Elly; and a specialist in police and judicial affairs, Mr. Muhamad Ely SH.

After the meeting, the police chief commander, Mr. Firman Gani, declared to the press that it was a strictly informal meeting ('silahturahmi'), and had no connection with any investigation that is planned towards Jaffar Umar Thalib following his speech in the Al-Fatah Mosque on September 3. He also declared that the governor had asked Jaffar to endorse his efforts to bring about peace to the Moluccas without any further bloodshed.

Jaffar Umar Thalib in his turn declared to the press that the quintessence of the meeeting handled about how to restore the government's authority. The government should be immune to certain influences which have negative effect on part of the population. When all muslims are to be ousted out of the Moluccas, it would be a real danger that the Moluccas will tear itself loose from Indonesia like East Timor. Answering to the christians' condition that reconciliation efforts are only possible if the jihad warriors will leave the Moluccas first, Jafar answered that this was an arrogant and 'childish' condition.

2. Newspaper Suara Maluku reports that a 55 year old christian residen of Halong Atas, Elia Yunus Noiya was found murdered on September 14. Investigation on this case is underway.

Report no. 55

Ambon, September 19, 2000

1. Every day the local newspapers report on quite a lot of corruption scandals, mainly concerning government funds. The situation in Ambon has been conducive lately, so that we did not issue any reports. However, the situation has been changing since yesterday, and we may be in for another round of violence, as can be read by the following events.

2. Local newspapers "Suara Maluku" and "Siwalima" report on (what is called) a "mysterious" shooting in the morning of September 18 at a slow motorboat on its route from the village of Sirisori Islam on the island of Saparua to Masohi (South Ceram), killing a Brimob policeman, named Baharuddin, and a civilian, Miss Takia Saimima, aged 41. Another Brimob policeman, Siagian, and a male civilian were wounded. Residents from Sirisori Islam - though still not knowing who was/were at the source of this shooting - reacted by launching an attack towards the nearby village of Ulath on Saparua, burning down a Brimob sentry post at the border between the two villages. Up to 5 p.m. the sound of bombing could be heard and several houses are reported to have been burned.

3. The shooting at the motorboat had its effect in Masohi, too. At about 11 a.m. three christians were assaulted resulting in their being seriously injured. In the afternoon the situation in Masohi was back to normal.

4. Late last night there was mutual burning of houses at the village of Halong Atas ("Upper Halong"). Up to this morning from afar one could still see smoke arising in that area.

5. Own sources report on the following happenings in Ambon town this morning. Sponsored by the governor in cooperation with several women's organisations - both muslim and christian - a "pasar murah" (cheap market) started this morning at the large open space in the middle of the town, which is reserved for various kinds of happenings, ceremonies etc. It was meant to go on during this whole week. We were informed by customers that all of the kiosk holders were women. Those crowding the place were glad to meet - at last - old acquaintances from the other side, for muslims and christians intermingled spontaneously. However, the recent unrest in Ulath, Masohi and Halong may have spurred a group of muslims to put an end to this fraternizing. At about 11 a.m. they came to the market site unarmed, so the security forces may have thought that they came to do some shopping. However they started to throw stones at the hundreds of people who were selling and buying, so panic ensued and people fled in all directions, most of them to the adjacent large government office building. Christian youngsters - having anticipated such thing to happen - were immediately on the spot, but could not prevent some of the kiosks being destoyed. Security forces started shooting in the air. People came panicking running along our compound. The police chief commander was seen on the spot immediately and also some panser vehicles came to aid. The Pohon Pule bridge was instantaneously barricaded by the security forces (apparently to prevent christian warriors from Kudamati and Batugantung to come to the scene). After about an hour it was opened up again. Young christian boys are still patrolling around in these quarters now. There is now shooting going on in the bay by speedboats aimed at the christian quarters of Gudang Arang. Gudang Arang is essential for christians arriving by plane. For it is the landing site for the speedboats that carry those passengers from the airport (Laha) to the town of Ambon. At about 1.45 p.m. a slow motorboat with christian passengers on board, while passing by Jos Sudarso harbour,  was attacked by two muslim speed boats, killing three passengers and wounding seven.

6. We add to this report - both straight and as attachment - a discourse by Rev.  J. Mangkey msc, a Manadonese priest, presented at the Annual Conference of Kirche in Not / Church in Need in Kvnigstein, Germany, on 19 September 2000. For any reaction to this discourse please connect ioanem@misacor.org

Report no. 56

Ambon, September 20, 2000

1. A slight correction and some additional information has to be made to our report on the assault on the motorboat (see yesterday's report, last part of no.5). Motorboat "Anda-02" with about 70-80 passengers on board, on its route in the bay of Ambon from Gudang Arang to Galala/Halong, was shot at at about 1.00 p.m. by five muslim speedboats. One passenger, named Elya Halauwet, was killed instantly, whereas Mrs. Agusthina Letlora (40) shortly afterwards died in hospital. Several of the 16 wounded passengers, now being taken care of in the hospital "Dr.Haulussy", Kudamati, are in critical condition. Passengers declared to the press that nearby navy patrol boats reacted very slowly, as if initially they did not know who actually was shooting at whom. One of our Crisis Centre, Mr.Leo Riupassa, was horrified when afterwards he witnessed the bloodstained vessel.

2. At noon, yesterday, in the Ambon neighbourhood of Losari-Mardika, two male christians were badly wounded being punched and stabbed when they were negotiating merchandise (second-hand clothes) with muslim partners.

3. About the riots at the "Pasar Murah" (see yesterday's report, no.5) can be added that among those who had to flee for safety when there was a sudden assault by muslim younsters, were the governor himself and the vice-governor, Mrs. Paula B. Renyaan.

4. Early this morning the "Dobonsolo" passengership entered the bay of Ambon, coming form Kupang. It anchored off Gudang Arang. Strict sweeping is underway.

Report no. 57

Ambon, September 21, 2000

1. The conflict between the villages of  Sirisori Islam and Ulath on the island of Saparua (see Report 55 no.2) flared up again on Wednesday, September 20, early in the morning (from 4.00 a.m. to 6.30 a.m.). It started when an Ulath villager by the name of Buang Ahuluheluw, was killed by a bullet from afar while he was cleaning up the ruins of his house which had been burned the day before. Another one was seriously wounded. Ensuing confrontation of masses resulted in the killing or three more civilians, this time on the part of the muslims. At last the security forces, which the previous day had been inforced with two peletons, managed to disperse the crowds of both sides.

2. Continuing the reports concerning the assault on the motorboat  "Anda-02" on its route from Gudang Arang to Galala/Halong (see yesterday's report, no.1), it is now reported that three Brimob policemen have been arrested being suspected of involvement in the shooting at this motorboat, actually shooting at it from the speedboat landing site at Batu Merah. At 4.00 p.m. on September 19, about a thousand muslims, coming from Batumerah and the Al-Fatah Mosque compound, demonstrated requesting them to be freed, however without result.

3. The chairman of the Tim penertiban Ummat Islam (Team of Muslim Discipline), Mr.Abdullah Latuconsina SH, in an official letter dated September 16, insists that both christian newspapers "Suara Maluku" and "Siwalima" should not be sold neither bought at muslim locations. The reason is, according to this letter, the maintaining of the actual fairly conducive situation in Ambon. Both newspapers are said to be jeopardizing the relative quiet situation by spreading slander and false information which damages the Ummat Islam.

4. The chairman of the "Conflict Team" (Pansus Kerusuhan) of the Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD Propinsi Maluku), Drs. S.J.Oratmangun, together with some members of his team, did an inventarisation of Internally Displaced Persons from the Moluccas and North Moluccas in North Celebes. According to their report, the government authorities of North Celebes are handling as many as 30.113 IDP-s from both provinces, not included those who are staying with relatives or friends. The IDP sites are Bitung, Manado, Gorontalo and Kotamubagu. He further declared that they are being taken care of very well, also by efforts to create jobs for them. A seriously wounded refugee was even sent to Australia for medical treatment.

Report no. 58

Ambon, September 22, 2000

1. The conflict on the island of Saparua - which lies not far from Ambon, with only the island of Haruku between them - escalated on September 21. At 2.00 p.m. an attack was launched at the village of Sirisori Amalatu (christian) by muslim fighters from Sirisori Islam, enforced by warriors from other places, who had come on nine speedboats. The assault was apparently well organized and the attackers used bombs, grenades and automatic weapons to which the Brimob polices forces had not adequate response. The local newspapers report that two civilians from Sirisori Amalatu, Markus Kesaulya (24) and Dominggus Tutuhatunewa (40), and one policeman (Fredy or Eddy Matulessy) were killed. Five others were wounded; at least 40 houses were burned down. At about 7.30 p.m. the situation was reported to be under control.

2. At about 3.00 a.m. on September 21, two bombs exploded in the christian quarters of Karang Panjang (Ambon town) behind the Sport Hall. A third one did not explode. They were supposed to have been launched from the hills near the muslim quarters of Kebun Cengkeh. The exploding bombs caused hardly any damage but some panic among the local residents.

3. The bridge at Pohon Puleh, connecting the inner city to the west of the town (Batugantung, Benteng etc.) is usually passed at full speed by motorvehicles because of numerous cases of sniping. In order to slow down the traffic, the authorities recently built two "thresholds" or speed tracks (Dutch: "verkeersdrempels") there, in addition to various empty barrels and other obstacles. Here they are called "sleeping policemen". At about 11.00 a.m. yesterday, a large number of minibus drivers and their fare-collectors came driving their cars to the government office building, requesting by means of yells unhampered passage across the Pohon Puleh bridge to promote safer passage instead of being a sitting duck for the snipers. At last the demonstration became more disciplined and after hearing a deputation from the demonstrators, the governor ordered the "sleeping policemen" to be removed - which has been carried out meanwhile.

Report no. 59

Ambon, September 23, 2000

1. The attack on the christian village of  Sirisori  on September 21 (see yesterday's report no.1), was resumed on Friday, September 22. Some two hundred military organic mortir/grenades were launched at the village, bringing the number of destroyed houses to a total of 161, i.e. virtually the whole village. The attackers, like on the previous day, came from Sirisori Islam and were supported by part of the military security forces and Brimob police forces. Among the assailants were also civilian warriors from outside Saparua, in white dresses and using standard weaponry. The 15 Brimob policemen who were stationed at the border between the two Sirisori villages could not possibly hold on, so the virtually defenseless residents of Sirisori Kristen fled in panic to the woods or hid in nearby riverlets. This information comes from a reporter of the "Siwalima" newspaper, who accompanied the police chief commander, Firman Gani, on his visit to Saparua yesterday.

2. On this visit to Saparua, Firman Gani brought with him 153 Zipur-8 military from South Kalimantan, in order to reestablish order. However a number of christian youngsters of Sirisori Kristen, who were protecting the ruins of their village with home-made weapons, fiercely protested to their presence, being skeptical about their neutrality and also because those troops - they said - were trained for technical jobs and not for warfare. The situation becoming dangerous, the police chief commander ordered these troops to go back to the town of Saparua (the capital of the island of Saparua). It was not reported whether these Zipur military are indeed still in Saparua or have left the island.

3. Apart from Sirisori kristen, also other villages on the island of Saparua became targets. Yesterday in the early afternoon, after the police chief commander had left Saparua, the village of Noloth was attacked in a similar way as Sirisori Kristen had been assaulted previously: with mortirs/grenades and organic weaponry. A still uncounted number of houses was destroyed. One civilian, Petrus Sopacua (19) was killed, four others were seriously wounded.

Likewise the christian village of Ihamahu was attacked by masses from the muslim village of Iha. These three villages (Noloth, Ihamahu and Iha) lie not far from each other. According to  "Siwalima", the Iha village secretary, Gaffur T., acknowledged to the police chief commander on his visist to Iha, that additional white-clothed warriors had come to their village, but solely for defense purposes, since it was supposed that they would be attacked by christians, whereas they themselves had no more than about a hundred youngsters to defende the village. According to MUI (Islam) headquarters in Ambon, Iha had a deathtoll of five, whereas nine were wounded. Other sources mention a number of  eight killed. The total number of casualties during these days of unrest on Saparua is put at 15 killed, 19 wounded.

4. "Siwalima" newspaper today reports on a sad event which occurred on September 8. Not far from Kairatu on the South coast of Ceram, lies the christian village of Seriholo. Seriholo was totally destroyed on September 8, 1999. Helped by military forces, they had already rebuilt much of their village, though many people still had to make use of tents at the outskirts of the village. Last September 8 was meant to be a day of commemoration and prayer for the villagers. However, for the nearby muslim village of Hualoi and several allied villages, it was a reason to repeat their action from last year. It is reported that initially they sneaked in to steal left-over aready used building materials, such as zinc sheets, but immediately they also started to assault the villagers and to burn down the recently erected houses and the provisionary tents. One of the villagers, named Yunus, said that after all they were lucky not to be in church at that moment, so that they could safe themselves in time, being attacked by more than a thousand white-clothed warriors that were equiped with organic weaponry, self-made bombs and traditional weapons like spears and longknifes.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 60 - 69
(September 23 - 30, 2000)

Report no. 60

Ambon, September 23, 2000

1. Summary of a report from Masariku Network 2000: Today, September 23, the christian village of PIA was the target of muslim assault. The island of Saparua has three islam villages; the others are christian. Following the coast line we have successively the villages of:

( 1) Itawaka
( 2) Noloth
( 3) Iha (muslim)
( 4) Ihamahu
( 5) Kampung Mahu
( 6) Tuhaha
( 7) Pia
( 8) Kulur (muslim)
( 9) Porto
(10) Booy
(11) Paperu
(12) Haria
(13) Saparua Tiouw
(14) Sirisori Serani
(15) Sirisori Islam (muslim)
(16) Ulath
(17) Ouw

During the past week the following christian villages were successively attacked : Ulath, Sirisori Serani, Noloth, Ihamahu - and now the latest village to be attacked: Pia. The assault was launched starting form the islam village of Kulur. Church and houses are reported to have been destroyed by muslim warriors that were brought in on vessels. There is no mentioning of any casualties.

All of this seems to be the revenge on the mysterious shooting at the islam speed boat near Ouw on September 18 (see Report 55 no.2). All of the christian villages of Saparua are likely to be wiped out, since they have no adequate response to the modern weapons of the muslims and cannot count on the neutrality of the security forces.

Various islands in the central Moluccas have already been cleansed from christians: Banda, Obi, Bacan, East Ceram and North Buru. Predominantly christian Saparua is likely to be next.

2. Masariku Network also reports that today three compagnies of Brimob police forces have been dispatched to the area. Probably due to the fact that earlier the christians refused the presence of  military Zipur-8 forces, these three police units are reported to be stationed at the muslim sites. It is also reported that there is no effective patrolling by navy ships to prevent any vessels with combattants to enter the area.. During the 20 September attack from the sea side on Sirisori Serani one of these ships lay anchored at the village of Haria.

Masariku networdk was informed that this same vessel fired on the village of Noloth when it was attacked by the muslims.

There has also been a report that among the Brimob police that have been sent to Kulur, two have been killed. This may have connection with the rivalry between the military and the police forces.

The more complete Indonesian text is to be found on http://www.egroups.com/group/masariku

Report no. 61

Ambon, September 25, 2000

1. Protestant minister Ds. P.G.Manoppo reports from Saparua, that the attack on the christian village of Pia in the morning of Saturday September 23, resulted in the burning or badly damaging of about 60% of the village (74 houses, the church and several other public facilities). The attackers used standard weapons, mortirs and grenades. Five civilians were wounded. Most of the villagers fled to Tiow and Tuhaha.

2. From the village of Noloth, which was attacked on September 22 (see Report 59 no.3), only two houses are reported to have been destroyed; 21 civilians were wounded.

3. In the afternoon of September 23, christians from the villages of Noloth and Ihamahu retaliated by launching an assault on the islam village of Iha. 80 houses of this village were destroyed, about 470 villagers fled to the islam village of Tulehu on the island of Ambon. The muslim secretariate reports that on their side eight were killed and three wounded.

4. The information about two Brimob policemen having been killed (see the last part of Report 60) proves to be incorrect. They were not killed but wounded. Their names: Bharatu Puto Purba and Bhrada Darwis Iferson.

5. Three additional compagnies of military have been dispatched to Saparua. Since the military on Saparua now outnumber the police forces by far, the governor has assigned military chief commander, I Made Yasa, as responsible for the combined forces on Saparua, instead of police chief commander Firman Gani. I Made Yasa beseeched the christians of Saparua to leave their prejudice towards the military behind.

6. Ambon meanwhile was quiet but for the burning of three empty houses and the launching of some mortirs.

7. Tomorrow sixteen combined christian churches in Ambon will start nine days of mourning, repentance and prayer (up to October 4). The opening day is to be a day of fasting and abstinence, abstaining also from daily work. Christians are asked to wear a mourning patch on their left sleeves.

Report no. 62

Ambon, September 25, 2000

1. This morning an attack was launched on Suli Bawah ("Lower Suli" = Suli at the coast), at a short distance from Suli Atas or "Upper Suli", where a military training centre is situated.

Suli lies in the eastern part of Ambon island, south-west of the islam village of Tulehu, whereas the islam village of Tial lies to the east and the large christian village of Passo lies to the west. The governor declared on local TV this evening, that some tenseness was perceived in that area since one or two days before, so that additional security forces had already been sent there. However, these could not prevent that several dozens of houses were destroyed by mortirs. Several hundreds of people fled to Passo. No casulaties have been reported up to now.

2. From Saparua no fighting was reported. Intensive razzia on weapons is underway.

3. This morning a crowd of young protestant christians held a "peace demonstration" at the government office building in Ambon. They brought along with them three empty coffins and a shroud (this latter article probably symbolizing a muslim victim). They chanted religious songs and asked for immediate U.N. intervention to put an end to the victimizing of the Moluccas by wicked national and local politicians.

Report no. 63

Ambon, September 26, 2000

1. Today sixteen combined christian churches in Ambon have started nine days of mourning, repentance and prayer (up to October 4).  We went around the neighbourhoods of Batumeja, Soa Ema, Diponegoro and up to the village of Kayu Putih. The streets are empty but for people going to or coming from church. At some places little groups of young people stand leisuredly at the side of the road. Soldiers are patrolling near the Silo Church site near the Pohon Pule bridge.

2. However, own sources tells us that this morning muslims attacked and burned the village of Wailete. Wailete lies on the opposite shore of the bay of Ambon. Christians who travel between Ambon town and Laha airport, usually go by speedboat from Gudang Arang (Ambon) to Wailete; from Wailete by car to Laha (and the other way round). Now the only alternative way left for christians who want to go to the airport, is disembarking at the village of Tawiri, close to Laha.

3. Christians of Batugantung (Ambon) have heavily barricaded the entrance to their quarters.

4. We let here follow a Muslim interpretation of recent events, compiled from Masariku network, titled "INFO PUTAR BALIK" ("Upside Down Information"). Here is a summary of the lengthy report:

(1) Salahutu residents agree to build the village of Waai

Ambon, MHI (20/09/2000)

Since the beginning of the 16th century the muslim villages in whole Indonesia have been forced by intruders from Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands to embrace the christian religion, including the village of Waai in the Salahutu area, island of Ambon. Alhamdulillah, since last August 31, the village of Waai has officially become Waai Islam. It was lost in 1670, but now taken over again after a battle between the ummat Islam and the Christian RMS. The return of Waai into muslim embrace and its rebuilding was the focus of discussion at a meeting on September 15 by civil and military authorities of the Salahutu area, including the raja-s (traditional "kings") of Liang, Tulehu, Tial and Tengah-Tengah. The meeting was held in the village of Liang. Present was also the chief commander of the Laskar Jihad, Ustadz Ja'far Umar Thalib. One of the proposals of Ustadz Ja'far was to build a mosque exactly on the place where there had been a mosque in the 16th century. The meeting resulted in unanimous agreement to rebuild Waai as a muslim village, thus also ensuring security for nearby muslim villages from being harassed by christian RMS.

(2) Military Section Commander kidnaps 3 Brimob policemen

Ambon, MHI (21/09/2000)

Infantery Colonel A.Siswanto, Section Commander of the A-region of Ambon, has already often taken measures which are damaging the ummat Islam. Now again he infuriated the ummat Islam by kidnapping three Brimob (Mobile Brigade) police officers, i.e. Muhammad Musaad, Dani and Mochtar. Within short ten thousands of muslims gathered at the Section headquarters at the A.J.Patty road, to protest against the anarchist action of this apostate commander. The crowd filled the A.J.Patty road up to the Al-Fatah Mosque, at a length of about 1 km. The arrogant Siswanto hid cowardly on the second floor and informed the masses by a spokesman that the three kidnapped policemen had already been taken to Military Police headquarters at the Yos Sudarso harbour compound. The masses then moved on to this site. As a result of their action, the three policemen were released without further commentary. The ten thousands of furious demonstrators then decided that the various christian areas should be attacked; also the security forces that protect the christians had to be wiped out.

(3) Attack on an Islam vessel

On September 13 the red RMS warriors of the village of Ouw on the island of Saparua attacked a small vessel with 5 muslims on board on its route from Siri Sori Islam (Saparua) to Masohi [ see report 55 no.2 from Crisis Centre ].  The result of this shooting: three Brimob policemen and one civilian were killed, one cilivian was wounded. The names of the three killed policmen: Dua Siagian, Badarudin and Salahudin. The killed civilian's name is Alwi Parlusi. The seriously injured cilivilian is Taliasa Saimimah (now being taken care of in Saparua hospital). This attack by the RMS separatists provoked fights between the defenders of Indonesian unity and the christian Moluccan rebels up to Masohi and even in the whole Moluccas, so that three of the christian infidels were killed and 19 wounded.

According to Central Moluccas Police Section Commander superintendent Kadir Prayitno on September 19,  the effect of that shooting had spread to the town of Masohi (south Ceram) and the village of Siri Soro Islam (Saparua island). Somebody declared: "Up to now, the christians always start the fighting, so we have to retaliate".

(4) The Town Mayor's way of acting  -  Ambon tense again

Ambon, MHI (21/09/2000)

Sure, the Mayor of Ambon town, Chris Tanasale, is purposely protracting the unrest which has been going on for twenty months now. Obviously he wants to encourage the presence UN military forces in the Moluccas. His latest endeavour to this end is the organizing of a pasar murah ("cheap market") for both christians and muslims at the town field in front of the Maranatha church, starting on September 19 [ see Report 55 no.5 from Crisis Centre ]. Chris declared that by this pasar murah should be proved that the situation in Ambon was secure and peaceful. This activity should also enhance the meeting of ordinar christians and muslims. However this is just a trick by the christians to ensure the conflict to go on, so that UN troops will move in. This can be proved by the fact that this activity took place exactly in front of  the christian headquarters in Ambon, i.e. the Maranatha church. At eleven o'clock several dozens of christians (militia RMS) came running from the church compound to the middle of the market place causing commotion and viciousness. Muslim youngsters answered by throwing stones and pieces of wood. Fortunately this incident did not bring about any casualties. But it was - again - a proof of  how christians try to deceive muslims. Incidents like these foster the spirit among the Muslims to fight the christians relentlessly.

(5) Siri Sori Muslim retaliates by counter attack

Ambon, MHI (22/09/2000)

The shooting at the vessel near the village of Ouw on September 18 spurred the ummat Islam of the village of Siri Sori (Saparua) to launch a revenge attack, at about 8.00 a.m., on the neighbouring village of Ulath which happened to be the hiding place for these christian RMS snipers, The christian RMS were defeated and the RMS militia quarters of that village were burned down. Christians of Ulath fled to Ouw. More than twenty christians were killed; on islam side two were killed.

The Brimob police forces that were stationed at Ulath, then beseeched the muslims to withdraw, which they did accordingly. But this was apparently a stratagem from Siswanto, for shortly afterwards a mass of christian RMS warriors, endorsed by the same forces that had asked the muslims to withdraw, launched an attack on Siri Sori Islam. At the same time an atack was launched by christians form Siri Sori Kristen. But ALLAH helped the muslimin so that they could hold on.

During the fight between Siri Sori Islam versus Ulath, christian militia cowards from Ulath launched and attack on a medical team which was taking care of the wounded at the border between Siri Sore Islam/Kristen. They thus violated the Convention of Geneva (ICRG, Geneva, 1983, 63 pp., 15.5 x 23 cm) 3rd item, which was drawn up by the Red Cross in 1949. It resulted in Dr. Fauzi AR from Yogyakarta, leader of the medical team, being seriously wounded in his leg.

Thus an impression of muslim reporting, leaving it to the reader to draw conclusions

Report no. 64

Ambon, September 26, 2000

1. At the end of Muslim interpretation in our Report 63 no. 4, we forgot to mention that the complete text in Indonesian ended with:  Copyright ) Laskar Jihad.

2. The Tim Pengacara Gereja ("Church Spokes-Team") was established last year by the official Moluccan Protestant Church [GPM] and the Diocese of Amboina, and acknowledged by all christian churches of the Moluccas, to speak forth in the name of the christians of the Moluccas and Norht Moluccas. On September 22 this team sent an urgent letter to the President of Indonesia, to the Secretary General of the UN and to numerous other prominent persons and institutions worldwide, providing a clarification of the incidents since the provocative lecture of the jihad chief commander, Jafar Umar Thalib in the Al-Fatah Mosque on September 3rd, most of which we already reported on earlier. The request:

- (1) To dispatch UN military forces in order to put an end to the conflict in the Moluccas.

- (2) It is not needed to lift the embargo on spareparts in order to be able to oust the laskar jihad out of the Moluccas. The reason is that up to now the laskar jihad unhindered come and go as they wish using governmental travel facilities. Their presence in the Moluccas and North Moluccas is even sanctioned by the government.

- (3) The laskar jihad to be ousted either on their own accord or to be shot anywhere they are roaming about.

- (4) Various international forums, including the UN Security Council and the UN General Assemblee, to discuss the conflict in the Moluccas and their wish to decide themselves on their destiny.

- (5) To bring Prof.Dr. Amein Rais, chairman of the national Legislative Council (MPR-RI) to justice. Likewise several military and police high officials who are involved in and responsible for the conflict in the Moluccas and the North Moluccas.

The letter was signed by Semmy Waileruny SH, Simon Noya SH and Buganata Yunus SH. (SH = Sarjana Hukum = Lawyer) representing the Tim Pengacara Gereja.

3. The mourning of the christians and their abstinence from daily work was kept up the whole day long. All of the schools, offices and shops were closed. There were hardly any minibuses or becaks on the streets. Neither were there newspapers.

4. Masariku network (http://www.egroups.com/group/masariku) reports on the conflict situation up to 4.00 p.m. as follows (summary):

- (1) The laskar jihad succeeded in conquering several areas between Poka and Hative Besar. Starting at Wayame they proceeded to Wailete and Sahuru (which is part of wide-spread agglomeration of Hative Besar).. It is reported that security forces that guard the Pertamina fuel  Deptt did not obstruct the attackers to pass by on their expedition to Wailete.

At Wailete all christian houses were burned down. Thereupon, with the assistance of military Zipur forces they moved on to Sahuru. It was reported that in Sahuru a nurse on duty, Betty Leinata, was molested (raped) and subsequently killed in a grievous way; her body was found cut into pieces. A father and son, Mesak and Heri Kastanya were reported to be murdered and subsequently burned. Meanwhile the attacking muslims are being halted by christian civilians from Hative Besar (Hative Besar consists of four villages: Sahuru, Batulubang, Latta and Masisili). Total number of christians killed: eight, wounded also eight persons. Those killed are: Nus Tarumaseli, Mesak Kastanya, Heri Kastanya, Nansy Hendriks, Poli Silvera, Betty Leinata, Karlo Warloka and Alfred Redrikus.

- (2) Today the village of Suli was attacked for the second time.

- (3) There was launching of mortirs and bombs towards the Ambon christian neignhbourhood of Karang Panjang and the nearby christian village of Galala.

Report no. 65

Ambon, September 27, 2000

1. Newspaper "Suara Maluku" reports that as a result of the attacks on the village of Suli (see Report 62 no.1), some fifty houses were burned down and four christians were injured.

2. On our Report 64 no.4 have to be made some corrections:

- After post-mortem examination on the body of Betty Leinata, the nurse who was killed in Sahuru, it was reported by the responsible physician of the hospital in Kudamati, that there was no apparent indication that Betty was sexually molested before being murdered. Neither was there any mentioning of her body being cut into pieces. She apparently had been shot and her right shoulder had been cut.

- Mesak and Heri Kastanya are not father and son, but brothers. Mesak was killed and burned together with his autcar when fleeing, whereas Heri is either missing or has saved himself by swimming to the nearby village of Riang.

3. The attack on Hative Besar resulted in large-scale burning of the place. Total number of victims on christian side: 8 or 9 killed, 17 injured. With priority for women, children and elderly people, about two thousand of the residents of Hative Besar were taken to safety to Benteng (town of Ambon) on the opposite shore of the bay.

4. Meanwhile in this way the christians' living area is more and more reduced, without anybody seeming to be able to stop the muslim expansion. The muslims will also probably not have much difficulty to proceed to nearby Laha airport, thus controlling in- and outgoing traffic by sea and by air.

Report no. 66

Ambon, September 28, 2000

1. At the evening news on local TV, military chief commander I Made Yasa acknowledged to the mass media that the leader of the Laskar Jihad, Jafar Umar Thalib, must be interrogated, because of his influence on recent development of the situation in Ambon, both negative and positive. But - he said - it was not his competence to summon him.

2. Commenting on the recent attack on the village of Hative Besar, he declared that the christians' refusal to admit the military forces to enter the area (for instance by obstructing the roads with masses of people and vehicles) had added to the ensuing loss of lives and property. He beseeched the people to trust the security forces to do their duty, like had been proved for instance in Suli, where the from three sides attacking warriors had been halted by these forces.

3. He also informed that the situation on the island of Saparua was under control. Sweeping on weaponry was underway. Most of the military were being withdrawn from the island.

4. On Masariku network we read the text of a letter:

From: FORUM KOMUNIKASI MASYARAKAT MALUKU di AMBON (Communication Forum of the Moluccan Community in Ambon)

To: The President and Vice President of Indonesia, the Military Chief Commander in Jakarta, the Police Chief Commander in Jakarta, the Minister of Interior Affairs and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassadors of Befriended Nations in Jakarta.

Herewith we translate this letter from Indonesian into English:

S.O.S

(1) Returning to Ambon after our meeting with Presiden Gus Dur in the beginning of September 2000, our prediction "that blood will be shed anew in the Moluccas" proved to be true: the christians being attacked and forced out of their ancestral homesteads.

(2) During this week - again - christian villages on the island of Saparua were attacked by Laskar Jihad and muslim radicals, supported by military and police persons, whereas on the island of Saparua there are only three islam villages and fifteen christian villages.

(3) Today, Tuesday, 26-09-2000, after the announcement from the church pulpits of a week of mourning, prayer and fasting, there were again attacks, looting, burning and barbarous slaughtering of humans on the island of Ambon at the christian villages of Hative Besar, Wayame, Suli and Galala.

(4) We are most disappointed about the way the unrest is dealt with by the responsible for the civil emergency, including the military and police, who are unable to detect timely the moves of those who want to impair any conducive situation. It demonstrates the weakness of the Intelligence Division of the military and police.

Thus we ask:

(1) President Gus Dur to allow the UN Security Council as a neutral body, to enter the area and help to end the unrest in the Moluccas.

(2) If realization of point (1) is impossible, to provide means of transport to carry the christians to any place waves and current will take them.

So far. Thank you.

Coordinator FKKM

Report no. 67

Ambon, September 28, 2000

1. The total number of casualties (killed) as a result of the recent attack on Hative Besar is 31.

2. Heri Kastanya on whom was initially reported that he was killed and afterwards that he was missing, at last was reported to have been able to save himself by swimming to the village of Riang, not far from Hative Besar.

3. "Siwalima" newspaper interviewed this Hery Kastanya. He swore: "In the name of the Lord, I witnessed with my own eyes that the attack on Hative Besar was launched not by laskar jihad, but by a military army compagnie". He said that afterwards they were joined by white-clad warriors, but that these were just disguised military.

4. Residents of the recently attacked village of Suli declared to "Siwalima" reporters that there is undeniable indication that among the laskar jihad foreign warriors are to be found, specifically from Afganistan, Saudi Arabia and Moro (Philippines). They have sneaked in because they had learned about the muslims in the Moluccas being suppressed. It is apparent by their faces, by their headdresses "like Yassar Arafat" that some of them wear and other non-Indonesian clothing, by commands being given by means of gesticulations instead of spoken orders and by information from certain trustworthy muslim sources.

5. It is reported that Suli is being attacked again today.

6. The situation is most serious. The thousands of still surviving christians are desperately crying either for protection or for evacuation.

Report no. 68

Ambon, September 29, 2000

URGENT APPEAL   -   S.O.S.

The unrest in the Moluccas has been going on for more than 20 months now. There are very strong indications that a tragic ending of it is not far away any more, being the liquidation of christianity and annihilation of the christians in the Moluccas and North Moluccas.

Laskar Jihad Strategy

Slower than was predicted in our Urgent Appeal issued on June 22, 2000, but not less inescapably, the Laskar Jihad have been carrying out their strategy of dominating the island of Ambon while ousting or obliterating all what is christian.

After taking a few weeks of rest, the Laskar Jihad are now concentrating their efforts on the island of Ambon again. Since last year they have succeeded in cleansing about 75% of the island from christians. After their recent fairly succesful attack on Hative Besar - destroying a significant part of it - and neighbouring villages on the North coast of the Bay of Ambon, they will not have much difficulty to push through to the international airport of Laha, thus controlling all traffic by air.

The larger northern part of the island (Jazirah Hitu) is connected with the smaller southern part (Jazirah Leitimur) by a bottleneck where the large christian village of Passo still impedes their progress to the town of Ambon. The christian village of Suli, east of Passo is now uncessantly being assaulted to free the way to Passo.

The motivation of the Jihad warriors exceeds by far the motivation of the security forces, they are even assisted by part of these. They are also superior in weaponry and numbers. They seemingly succeed in convincing public opinion that they are fighting "christian RMS-separatists" (whereas in fact there is no RMS at all here nor any apparent instigation for separation). All of this contributes to their immediate goal: conquering Passo, after which they are expected to launch their final attack on the town of Ambon. Ambon undoubtedly will be attacked from the east (Passo), from the sea and from within (the various muslim quarters in town).

From Passo onwards, they will meet more than a hundred thousand of refugees, including women, children and elderly people. In Ambon itself they will find a twofold of them. What will be their fate? Many christians swear that they will defend their families and their ancestral homestead to their last drop of blood. Well, they will very likely have the dreadful opportuniy to prove it.

Probably most of the christians will still be able to flee to the southern part of the Jazirah Leitimur, crammed together on the last 10% of the island which is still left to them. If in that ultimate agony there are no ships waiting to evacuate them, they will have to choose either to convert to islam (like several thousands of christians on Ceram already did) or to be slaughtered.

The effect of the State of Civil Emergency

The governor of the Moluccas, Dr. Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina, as the Responsible for the State of Civil Emergency, on various occasions promised and stated:

- That razzia would be carried out on everybody in the Moluccas, immediately ousting anyone from outside the Moluccas who had no clear and honorable reason to be here. As far as we know, up to now nobody has been identified as such. On the contrary, there are strong indications that Laskar Jihad are still coming in, both by Jos Sudarso harbour and via Banda and Namlea (island of Buru). The chief commander of the Jihad warriors, Jafar Umar Thalib, was to be arrested. Up to now there is no follow-up of this order.
- That there would be razzia on weaponry. Apparently too many loopholes are left open. The weapons that are still being smugggled in, are thought to exceed the amount of weaponry that have been confiscated.
- That the security forces are to be trusted to be strictly neutral and do their duty. But in many cases part of these forces, particularly the army, join the laksar jihad in their attacks on the christians.
- That the intelligence department of the security forces do their utmost to detect any signs of  unrest. In fact, however, time and again they prove their inability or unwillingness to anticipate the strategy of the laskar jihad.
- That no gathering of masses would be allowed. However, there is no visible enforcement of this.

Conclusion

The christian community of Ambon doubts the ability of the local and national government to end the conflict in a peaceful way.

So - on behalf of justice and the right to live - we have no choice than - once again - to appeal to the United Nations Security Council and the UN Human Rights Commission to come and bring about peace. The least we ask for is, please, to keep ships on the ready to evacuate the still surviving christians.

Ambon, September 29, 2000

Report no. 69

Ambon, September 30, 2000

1. A sum-up of the loss of physical facilities of the Catholic Church in the Moluccas and North Moluccas due to the unrest, since the conflict started in January 1999: 58 church buildings burned or destroyed, 39 schools, 1 orphanage, 4 Sisters' convents and 3 hospitals burned/destroyed, 1 pilgrimage centre destroyed. Since the catholics account for only 5% of the population of the Moluccas, whereas the protestant christians number about 45%, the loss of physical facilities among the protestants must be enormous.

2. According to UN press release, four UN agencies have been present in the Moluccas since July 30, with their headquarters in the Government Office Building in Ambon. These are:

- UNDP = United Nations Development Programme
- WFP = World Food Programme
- Unicef = United Nations Children's Fund
- OCHA = Office for the Coordination on Humaniatrian Affairs (arrived only recently).

3. A deputation representing several islam organisations held a demonstration in front of the government office building yesterday morning requesting:
(1) Infantery Colonel A.Siswanto, Section Commander of the A-region of Ambon, and Mr. Van Bulouw (Water Police) to be replaced, because of their repressive measures which damage the muslim community;
(2) To carry out investigation on the shooting at the speedboat at Ouw, which had triggered the recent conflicts in Saparua and Ambon;
(3) To investigate on the violation of human rights by christians on that fatal 19th of January 1999, the start of the conflict;
(4) To take severe measures against those police servicemen who up to now have not reported yet to their units.

They added that they very much agreed to the policy of the police and military chief commanders in their endeavours to put an end to the conflict by persuasive measures.

The governor having listened to their list of requests, provided no answer but immediately returned into the building.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 70 - 79
(October 5 - 19, 2000)

Report no.70

Ambon, October 5, 2000

1. It is almost a week since we sent our last report. The reason is that the situation ' apart from some incidental bombing ' has been fairly conducive lately. However, everybody is on his/her alert, for intermezzos like this happened before. Since our telephone connection is very slow, we seldom consult web-sites on the conflict in the Moluccas. Anyway, here are some of them:

http://www.infomaluku.net

http://www.angelfire.com/rock/hotburrito/index.html

http://webstep.community.everyone.net/commun_v3/scripts/directory.pl

http://www.go.to/ambon_menangis

http://www.geocities.com/alifuru67

http://www.egroups.com/group/masariku

If there are among our subscribers who happen to know other websites on the conflict in the Moluccas we would appreciate to learn about it.

2. The Crisis Centre is most grateful for any funds or financial support. We acknowledge and report on each transfer. Since both of our treasurers are not in Ambon until the beginning of next November, the acknowledging of receiving funds may experience some delay.

Any donations can be transferred to: Bank BCA, Cabang Ambon

Number of account: 0440387144

Name of account holder: CRISIS CENTRE KEUSKUPAN AMBOINA, Albertus Jamlean & Cornelia J.J.Moens.

3. Various groups and factions have drawn up an evaluation of the result of the Civil Emergency State during these three months. At least on the christian side this evaluation turns out to be very negative. There is disappointment in the following matters:

The reporting by the Responsible of the CES to the government in Jakarta is not always according to the facts, so that the Central CES in Jakarta often takes inappropriate measures, causing escalation of the conflict and adding to the suffering of the Moluccans. This is a statement by the TAPAK (Team Advokasi Penyelesaian Kasus Ambon = Advocation Team to end the Conflict in Ambon), coordinated by a Nus Ukru. On October 4, the Governor, in a meeting with the mass media, expressed his dismay on this statement and will summon the TAPAK coordinator to account for it.

The Responsible of the CES (the governor) is not consistent in carrying out his decisions. See our URGENT APPEAL from September 29, 2000 (Report 68): The effect of the State of Civil Emergency.

There is not enough cooperation and coordination between the security forces, specifically between the army and police forces chief commanders.

Safety at sea in the bay of Ambon and in the straits between Ambon and the other Lease Islands is not enough attention being paid to by the navy.

Legal processes are handled very poorly.

The members of the provincial Legislative Council seem to be more inclined to argue in the context of their own religious adherence than for common well-being.

4. The chairman of the diocesan Crisis Centre, Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan, recently returned to Ambon and can be contacted via phone number 0062 0911 314938. Mgr. P.C. Mandagi and Mgr. Jos Tethool will be absent until the beginning of November.

Report no.71

Ambon, October 8, 2000

1. In various neighbourhoods of Ambon last night there was quite some bombing and launching of mortars. However no substantial damage was reported.

2. Today the Governor, the military chief commander and the police chief commander left for Jakarta, among other things to report on the effect of the Civil Emergency State during three months, to ask for additional security forces etc.

3. Among the christians there are rumours that there are undeniable indications that attacks are to be carried out by Laksar Jihad troops on the neighbourhoods of Benteng, Kudamati and Batugantung tomorrow or at least within a few days.

4. Yesterday afternoon Sirisori Amalatu (christian) on the island of Saparua was attacked again. The church and dozens of houses that had survived the attack of September 21, were burned down. Four christians were wounded. One christian was reportly killed while fishing at sea.

5. To the websites on the Moluccas we mentioned in our report 70 no.1, can be added:

http://www.maluku2000.org

http://www.maluku.org/hain

Thanks to our friends who draw our attention to these websites.

6. Since October 1, 2000, Merpati Nusantara Airlines has resumed flights from Ambon to several destinations in the Moluccas, such as Ternate, Namrole, Langgur and Dobo.

Report no.72

Ambon, October 10, 2000

1. Being in Jakarta, police chief Commander Firman Gani will ask for an additional Compagnie of Brimob police forces specifically to consolidate security on the island of Saparua.

2. According to local newspapers, the attack on Sirisori Amalatu (christian) during these last few days was carried out with mortars and organic weaponry, outdoing the weapons of the security forces. 171 houses and the protestant church were destroyed. The total houses destroyed in Sirisori Amalatu is now 340. What is left of the village: 15 houses and two schoolbuildings. Several thousands of panicking residents took refuge in the nearby woods or fled to the town of Saparua. Meanwhile on christian side, Joseph Lekahena was killed by a bullet while fishing at sea. On Monday September 9, conflict at the border of Sirisori Islam and Ulath flared up as well.

3. Forty Brimob police and 192 military forces have been sent to the location in order to restore order and carry out intensive sweeping on weapons. This sweeping reportedly started at Sirisori Kristen and not at Sirisori Islam which would have been more obvious. To avoid any conflict between the police and the military, the 40 additional Brimob policemen are being stationed at the town of Saparua for four days, until sweeping activities by the military are finished.

4. This violence resulted in several casualties: On christian side three christians from Ulath were killed by bullets, whereas in Sirisori Amalatu one christian was killed by security forces while sweeping was underway.

A number of Yonif 403 military (Infantery Battalion 403) was reported to engage actively in the attack on Sirisori kristen. Three of them are reported to be killed: N.Kurniawan, Suyanto and Seru Paryono. However a military spokesman only confirmed three soldiers to have been injured. The MUI (Islam Board) confirmed that 5 muslims were wounded, whereas another 5 were missing. Unconfirmed sources say that 5 laskar jihad have been killed as well.

5. In Ambon town, at the border between Tanah Lapang Kecil and Batugantung (called "Paradise") a christian from Kudamati, named Arizona, was stabbed and died shortly afterwards in hospital.

6. Another website on the conflict in the Moluccas: http://www.paxchristi.nl

Report no.73

Ambon, October 11, 2000

1. Already having been attacked on September 25 and September 28, yesterday starting at 6.00 a.m., the christian village of Suli was attacked the third time. One christian civilian (Wim Matakena) and one Brimob policeman (Albert Makaliu) were killed; three people were wounded. The assailants, muslim and jihad warriors, launched a totally unexpected attack, causing the Suli residents fleeing in panic. Three houses were burned down. The invaders made use of modern weaponry and launched hundreds of grenades and mortars. Among the attackers reportedly fifteen were killed and several wounded.. At 9.00 military and Brimob police managed to halt the attackers, though incidentally the sound of grenades and mortaras still could be heard up to the evening. The people of Suli were enraged that apparently any sweeping on weapons by the military had been carried out only superficially. It was further reported that three truckloads of military which had been dispatched to Suli, were halted by muslim masses at Batumerah. The soldiers had no choice than getting off the trucks and cover the distance to Galala on foot.

2. The wide-spread issue that on October 10 several christian areas in the town of Ambon would be stormed by muslim/jihad warriors caused many people to prefer staying at home yesterday. However, there was only some bombing at the Pohon Pule site, whereas during the preceding night some vehement explosions of bombs were to be heard in the christian neighbourhood of Diponegoro.

3. In order to encounter false information being spread on national level about the situation in Ambon and to ensure reliable information instead, a collective independent information centre has been installed, the members of which consist of two representatives of all local newsmedia and representatives of the Civil Emergency, the military and police forces. These latter are not supposed to control or restrict publication of facts, but to be informed about reporters' findings and perceptions and to provide necessary explanation or comment.

Report no.74

Ambon, October 12, 2000

1. After the assailants withdrew from Suli on October 10, they left behind 19 killed. The christians could identify only 4 of them. All of them were buried consequently.

2. This morning the christian villages of Galala and Halong, near Ambon town, were assaulted, both from the islam stronghold of Poka at the opposite shore of the bay, and from the muslim neighbourhoods of Galunggung and Air Besar. No details are available yet, except that security forces succeeded in deflecting the attackers.

3. At this moment, 11.30 a.m., shooting is to be heard in the town. People are panicking.

4. Sweeping on the passengership "Rinjani" while docking at Jos Sudarso Harbour, Ambon, on October 9, resulted in confiscating 4187 items of ammunition and weaponry. However, nobody could be indicated as the owner. On the "Dobonsolo" passengership, docking the following day, no weaponry was found.

Report no.75

Ambon, October 13, 2000

1. Today’s 'Suara Maluku' and 'Siwalima' provide more detailed information about the attack on Galala and Halong we mentioned yesterday.

After their failure to occupy Suli, muslim and jihad forces shifted their attention to some villages east of the town of Ambon: Galala, Hative Kecil (Gatik) and Halong Atas ('Atas' = Upper). The attacked was launched at about 6.30 a.m., starting from Tantui and Galunggung (Ambon town), after encircling their target and coming down from the hills to the north. Shooting (with the usual organic weapons and bombs with military trademark) started as they were at a distance of about 700 m., aimed at the civilians’ houses. Of course many residents fled to safer places, among which the naval base of Halong.

The attackers, however, were halted both by christian civlilians with home-made rifles and by security forces, which consisted of the military Yonif (battalion infantery) 141, assisted by marinir and brimob police forces. Marinirs also stood by with four tanks, anticipating any spreading of the conflict to other sites. At about 0.30 p.m. the situation was under control.

Sad result of this confrontation: 3 military and two christian civilians wounded. The Al-Fatah hospital responsible confirmed that on muslim side five were killed and 14 wounded. More than a dozen houses were burned down.

Another result was the emotional impact on a muslim multitude in the centre of the town of Ambon, moving in the direction of the Governor Office building. In order to disperse the crowd, security forces fired frequently as a warning, causing people to flee in panic. Concentration of masses near Pohon Pule (brige leading to the western outskirts of the town) at about noon, too, could be dissolved. One christian schoolboy was badly injured by a sniper’s bullet.

During these clashes the security forces (in the eyes of the christians) showed themselves as being strictly neutral and stable in fullfilling their duty.

2. Yesterday a delegation of the European Union arrived in Ambon: five Ambassadors and their aides, namely from Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal; also the first secretary of the Swedish Embassy and the Consul of the European Commission. They arrived by special airplane. Safe passage across the bay from Laha airport to Jos Sudarso Harbour was guaranteed by security forces. Then immediately there was a meeting with the Governor Dr. Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina, together with Vice Governor Dra. Paula B.Renyaan and several other officials. Points of discussion were: latest development of the conflict, the presence of the laskar jihad, the sweeping on weaponry, the role of the national government and the handling of the refugees (IDP-s). After the meeting, the governor declared to the press that he had mainly stressed the handling of the thousands of IDP-s. According to the governor, there are still laskar jihad in Ambon, but only 996; more than 300, of their own free will, have already returned to where they had come from.

After the meeting, the visitors went by boat from Jos Soedarso Harbour to the naval base of Halong to have a look at the large refugees camp at that site, which consists of both christian and muslim refugees. Today’s programme includes meetings with the military and police leaders, the Diocese of Amboina, the MUI (muslim leaders) and the Protestan Church leaders. This afternoon the deputation will leave for Ternate (North Moluccas)

Report no.76

Ambon, October 14, 2000

1. The police chief commander, Brigadir General Firman Gani, declared to the press that the chief commander of the national police forces in Jakarta, S.Bimantoro, has promised to send an additional Mobile Brigade (Brimob) to the Moluccas. Also fast ships will be sent to enhance mobility of the police forces, ensuring quick passage to areas where conflicts are flaring up. It is often the only way to quick access, since not seldom the roads to certain areas are heavily barricaded; besides, sometimes sea straits have to be crossed.

2. In our Report 72 no.4 is to be read about the three Yonif 403 military who were supposed to be killed during the attack on Sirisori kristen: N.Kurniawan, Suryanto and Paryono. However, yesterday the military chief commander, I Made Yasa, declared that these three soldiers were reported to be missing and that up to now they have not been found yet.

3. The delegation of the European Union, which arrived at Ambon on October 12 (see yesterday’s report no.2), yesterday had meetings with the military chief commander, I Made Yasa, and his staff, with police chier commander, Firman Gani and his staff, with the MUI = muslim leaders at the Al-Fatah Mosque compound, with the Diocese of Amboina and with the leaders of the Moluccas Protestant Church (GPM – Gereja Protestan Maluku). There was no meeting with laskar jihad on the programme. On each occasion from both sides there was much understanding and goodwill. In the afternoon the fifteen member delegation left for Ternate, from where they will return to Jakarta.

4. 'Siwalima' newspaper reports on one meeting which turned out to be a disapointment for the Molluccans, i.e. the meeting with the leaders of the Moluccas Protestant Church. Even, according to Dr.Ir.M.K.J.Norimarna MSc, Rector of the UKIM (Universitas Kristen Indonesia Maluku), this visit was to be regarded as a failure. He said: Technically spoken, they were not open to receive information from our side. They should not talk too much… They should be more open to information of facts, they should not draw conclusions too hastely. They were heard to say: “According to information we have got, the christians refuse any dialogue with the muslims”. Why do not they heed our explanation of the background of this refusal? Why do they show themselves already been “contaminated” by earlier clarification from one party? It is a pity that they did not give us sufficient opportunity to clarify our stance.

5. Since we ourselves were present at the meeting of these delegates with the Diocese of Amboina (the Roman Catholic Church), we may amplify a little on this meeting. It took place in the Pastoral Centre building (which also happens to shelter about 200 IDP-s or refugees) from 11.25 to 12.05 on Friday October 13. Since both the bishop (Mgr. P.C.Mandagi) and the auxiliary bishop (Mgr. Jos Tethool) are in Kei now for the annual Diocesan Pastoral Meeting, the delegation was welcomed by the chairman and the secretary of the Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina (Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan and Fr. C.J.Böhm). Some 25 representatives of the catholic community had been invited as well. Though in a relaxed atmosphere, nevertheless tough and fundamental questions were asked. Answering, Fr. Agus stressed that the catholics’ strive is uniquely to end the bloodshed, to end the conflict, to come to sincere reconciliation. During this meeting - preceding the one with the Moluccas Protestant Church - the subject of the refusal of dialogue was raised. Fr. Agus answered that the main obstacle was the fact that the christians were of the opinion that no dialogue was possible as long as outsiders (read: laskar jihad) meddled in the Moluccas affair.

We may recall to mind what we wrote on August 2, 2000, in our Report 30 no.7 (we copy this item:)

The governor’s initiative to hold a meeting of delegates of all factions to establish a common perception on the actual situation of conflict, on Tuesday August 1st, was cancelled since the GPM (Moluccas Protestant Church) together with the (catholic) Diocese of Amboina disagreed with this meeting to be held if certain conditions were not met first, as was clarified in a common statement, signed by the Vice Chairman of the GPM (Ds.L.Lohy) and auxiliary bishop Mgr. Joseph Tethool MSC. Their conditions are, according to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper:

- The agenda of the meeting should be defined in clear terms.
- There should be a clear statement about the repressive measures to be taken to remove all jihad warriors from the Moluccas.
- The army should not play off the conflicting parties one against the other.
- There should be done a careful selection on the participants of this meeting first. For instance non-Moluccas should not participate.
- The Navy and the Police Forces must be involved in the defense of those who are under attack.
- The Yos Soedarso harbour of Ambon has to be freed from muslim control.

6. Though the delegation could only spend one full day in Ambon, nevertheless their coming was a visible sign of interest and concern of the European Community with the protracted conflict. This fosters optimism among the population of the Moluccas of a quick ending of the violence, for their reporting on their visit may add to a more realistic comprehension of what in fact is going on in the Moluccas – which is not always like it is being reported to the outside world by various reports and press releases.

7. A sample of this difference in reporting, for instance, one could compare some reports on what happened in Galala/Halong last October 12. Our view on that sad event can be found in Report 74 no.2 and Report 75 no.1.

Here, however, is the Press Release of the Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah on this same event (translated from the original text in Indonesian):

"The attack of the muslims on Galala and Halong at 8.00 a.m. on Thursday, October 12, 2000, was initiated as a response to the attack by the christian RMS militia on Sirisori Islam, island of Saparya, on Saturday, October 7, 2000.

This vindictive attack was fiercely retorted by the christians, who in fact had already planned an attack on the muslims. Besides, the christian RMS militia was assisted by christians among the Marinir forces. This resulted in the muslims being trapped by the strategy of the christians who initially withdrew, thus inducing the muslims to move forward. When they had come within shooting distance, the security forces and the christians started shooting both from the left and from the right. This resulted in a lot of casualties on the side of the muslims. Up to now three of them are known to have been killed, and more than a dozen wounded.

The attack of the muslims came to an end at 4.00 p.m., since more and more security forces came and blockaded the Galala and Halong-Atas area. A soldier from the Yonif 141, who guarded the islam-christian border, was reportedly shot by the christian RMS militia while he tried to fend off the christian RMS militia from entering the muslim area.

Jakarta, October 12, 2000

Dewan Pimpinan Pusat Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah, Ayip Syafruddin, S.Psi., Chairman / Hardi Ibnu Harun, head communication/information department.

Copyright & copy: 2000 Laskar Jihad."

Report no.77

Ambon, October 16, 2000

1. SECURITY FORCES UNDER THREAT - On Saturday morning, October 14, army batallion Yonif 141 was attacked at their location in the neighbourhoods of Rinjani and Kebun Cengkeh (outskirts of Ambon town), resulting in tenseness in Galala, Hative Kecil, Halong and Karang Panjang. The attackers (muslims) are supposed to try and oust these military who had previously driven muslim forces back during the attack on Galala on October 12, when at least 5 of the attackers had been killed and 27 wounded.

2. MOSQUE AT WAAI - In our REPORT 63 no. 4 (1) we provided the following summary of a report by muslim MHI on internet, dated September 20 2000: Salahutu residents agree to build the village of Waai: "Since the beginning of the 16th century the muslim villages in whole Indonesia have been forced by intruders from Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands to embrace the christian religion, including the village of Waai in the Salahutu area, island of Ambon. Alhamdulillah, since last August 31, the village of Waai has officially become Waai Islam. It was lost in 1670, but now taken over again after a battle between the ummat Islam and the Christian RMS. The return of Waai into muslim embrace and its rebuilding was the focus of discussion at a meeting on September 15 by civil and military authorities of the Salahutu area, including the raja-s (traditional "kings") of Liang, Tulehu, Tial and Tengah-Tengah. Present was also the chief commander of the Laskar Jihad, Ustad Ja'far Umar Thalib. One of the proposals of Ustad Ja'far was to build a mosque exactly on the place where there had been a mosque in the 16th century. The meeting resulted in unanimous agreement to rebuild Waai as a muslim village, thus also ensuring security for nearby muslim villages from being harassed by christian RMS."

Now on October 8, 2000, the DPP (Central Leading Board) of the Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah (FKAWJ) published on internet the ascertainment that indeed the Muslims are starting to build Waai Islam, the first project being the building of Mesjid Raya ("Grand Mosque") which will have an area of 2.936 m2.

However, the governor's reaction was that he will not allow the muslims to build a "Waai Islam" at the site of the totally devastated location of the christian village of Waai.

3. AL-FATAH HOSPITAL DIRECTOR KILLED - During the night of Saturday on Sunday, October 14-15, the sound of home-made grenades and firing of organic rifles could be heard in the Ambon neighbourhoods of Mardika and Karang Panjang and especially at the muslim neighbourhood of Waihaong. It was reported that some muslim youngsters came to Waihaong seemingly looking for trouble, which was not appreciated by the local residents. Security forces initially did not succeeed in preventing ensuing conflict. Physician (specialist) Dr.Paing Suryaman, director of the Al-Fatah hospital, tried to intervene and separate the conflicting parties, but was hit by fragments of a grenade, wounding him seriously in the abdomen; he died a few hours later. Several others, too, were injured. However, there is another report saying that he was hit by a bomb which was thrown by a mob of youngsters from the nearby neighbourhood of Soa Bali, directed at a mob of youngsters from Waihaong, as a revenge on an earlier beating of one of them by a Waihaong young man. There was also talk of one among them being drunk The Governor, Dr.Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina together with Police Chief Firman Gani, went to the Al-Fatah compound to pay a visit of condolence.

4. VISIT DELEGATION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION TO THE NORTH MOLUCCAS - The 17 member delegation of 9 European countries, representing the European Union, arrived at Ternate, the capital of the province of the North Moluccas, in the late afternoon of Friday, October 13. During their meeting with the responsible of the Civil Emergency State, governor Muhyi Effendie and other officials, they were informed about the situation in the Province of the North Moluccas. The situation was said to be under control, and reconciliation efforts were underway. The total of casualties is at least 2004 killed. refgees: at least 197.000. Houses destroyed: 20.000. Churches and mosques destroyed: 144. School buildings destroyed: 173. Also a not mentioned number of (other) public facilities was destroyed.On this occasion Dutch Ambassador, Mr. Schelto Baron van Heemstra, expressed the willingness of the Dutch Government to assist the Indonesian Government to end the conflict in the North Moluccas with its expertise on matters of conflict like these.

5. NOTE: Information in the French and Spanish languages on the situation in the Moluccas can - among others - be found at http://www.caritas.org

Report no. 78

Ambon, October 17, 2000

1. SOLDIER KILLED – Monday afternoon, October 16, a conflict between some military marinirs and some Brimob policemen in the christian neighbourhood of Gudang Arang, Ambon, resulted in the death of a military intelligence soldier, named Karel Paulus. Three Brimob policemen, apparently drunk, had come down from their post at the Television Station, Gunung Nona, to Gudang Arang. An ensuing conflict was initially settled by the commanders of each unit, but was immediately overruled by undefinite shooting. An unidentified bullet struck Karel Paulus; he died shortly afterwards in
hospital.

2. DIALOGUE – A growing willingness, even eagerness, to come to a dialogue is to be perceived on both sides. Last Saturday, October 14, some muslim and some christian (former) residents of Poka/Rumahtiga/Tihu met in the Governor’s Office for a pre-dialogue. It was agreed upon that there should be formed a reconciliation team. There should also be socialisation of the will to put aside animosity and revenge. Funds should be made available to this purpose as well. On this occasion a muslim named Th.Kaplale, was heard to say: All of us should be ashamed when we see the harmony between
christians and muslims in Wayame (nearby village consisting of mixed religion, but still untouched by the conflict). We should follow their example!

It was noticed that the recent visit of the delegation of the European Union again and again stressed the need of mutual approach and dialogue. Protestant Minister Ds. Chris Sahetapy STh, member of the Provincial Legislative Council at Ambon, stressed than this dialogue should not be held between on one side Muslims and on the other side Christians, but
“among brothers” (“orang basudara”), regardless of their religious adherence. He said that the Moluccans were not facing each other, but they together should face conspiration of certain elite persons on national level to destroy the Moluccas. The laskar jihad should be left alone: they are not our business, but the central government’s business. But they should not participate in this dialogue. Also the muslims’ condition that the christians should apologize to the muslims first, should be dropped. If there were to put a precondition to this dialogue, it should be an apology by local and national leaders of government, military and police for what they have done or permitted to be done to the Moluccans.

3. ELECTRICITY SUPPLY – Everybody understands that normal functioning of the PLN (Perusahaan Listrik Negara – National Electricity Company) in these circumstances should hardly be possible. All the more is praiseworthy that the PLN during these past two years has managed to operate near to normal. Their financial deficit since the start of the unrest in January 1999 is reported to have accumulated to a total of 40 billion rupiahs (Rp 40.000.000.000,-) = about US $  4,700,000.-There has already been done a lot of repairing on damaged connections.  However, due to the fact that of the eight generators four cannot be operated due to serious break-down, there is no choice than to effectuate a schedule of distribution, especially during the evening hours from about 6.00 to 10.00 p.m., leaving parts of the island of Ambon in the dark by turns (each other day).

Report no. 79

Ambon, October 19, 2000

1. ROAD TO RECONCILIATION - The chairman of the FBI = Front Pembela Islam Maluku (Islam Front of Defense in the Moluccas), M.Husni Outuhena SH (Sarjana Hukum / Lawyer), according to “Suara Maluku” newspaper, urges all those who are involved in the Moluccas conflict, not to allow that religious issues are being used in order to attain certain political advantages. Christians and muslims should respect each other’s religion, they should not attempt to gain the other party over to their own religion.

Likewise the interim deacon of the Pattimura University Law Faculty, Yanes Leatemia SH, MH, expressed his conviction that religious difference up to now has been used by certain politicians to accomplish their own political goals. A dialogue among the conflicting parties will be possible if only no outsiders meddle in such effort of reconciliation. So the request that the laskar jihad should leave the Moluccas before a dialogue will be possible, will not be withdrawn.

2. NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCY - On October 19, the National Commission for Human Rights opened an agency for the Moluccas in Ambon. To that purpose an operational team from this Commission – led by Mr. Bambang W.Soeharto – came to Ambon. They will recruit two local assistants, one muslim and one christian. This agency hopes – in cooperation with various other agencies, even in cooperation with the whole populaton – to act as a mediator to end the conflict. However, the main task of this agency will be the survey on violation of human rights.

3. AGAIN CONFLICT ON CERAM - Waitasi is a christian settlement in the mountains, not far from Kairatu on the south coast of the island of Ceram. “Siwalima” newspaper reports that in the afternoon of Tuesday, October 17, Waitasi was attacked by masses that are thought to have come from the islam settlements of Kelapa Dua and Pakarena. Any number of casualties or number of houses burnt is still unknown due to lack of proper communication facilities with the site. Equally, two days earlier, the christian village of Ahiolo, situated in the mountains at a distance of about 12 km from the coast, was attacked, resulting in the burning of a church, a school and a number of houses. No casualties were reported. Some residents from Waitasi and Ahiolo managed to escape to Ambon; they told that the aggressors came from the muslim village of Hualoi; on earlier occasion these had also destroyed the village of Seriholo (near Kairatu), namely on September 8, 1999 and on September 8. 2000 (See Report 59 no.4).


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 80 - 89
(October 20 - November 15, 2000)

Report no. 80

Ambon, October 20, 2000

1. DIALOGUE WITHOUT PRECONDITION - For the 1245 newly enrolled students of the Pattimura University, the academic year was opened on October 19 in a school compound at Manggadua, since the University Campus itself at Poka/Rumahtiga was burned down. On that occasion the police chief commander Drs. Firman Gani addressed the students, speaking among other things about the need of immediate dialogue between christians and muslims. He stressed two items: (1) Both parties should not make any previous conditions; (2) These students should make a first move, initiating dialogue among themselves, thus demonstrating to the conflicting parties that indeed a dialogue without making any previous terms, can be realised; such initiative would also undoubtedly attract everybody's attention to the Pattimura University!

2. FURTHER EXPLANATION ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCY AT AMBON - (see yesterday's Report no. 2). Mr.Bambang W. Soeharto, the vice Second Chairman of the National Commision for Human Rights, declared to the press that everybody could and should report to this commission on any committed violence - both vertical and horizontal, both civil and military - without any fear.

Meanwhile many are afraid that any such report will have no effect what-so-ever if nobody will get down to business bringing to justice these violators. Precisely due to lack of any law enforcement, people again and again execute "justice" themselves, taking inproportional acts of revenge.

3. RECENT CONFLICT ON CERAM -(see yesterday's Report no. 3). The attack on the village of Waitasi, not far from Kairatu, South Ceram, on October 17, was launched at about 11.00 a.m. and could be stopped by local security forces at about 5.00 p.m. The attack was carried out both by civilians of the village itself and by masses that had come from the villages of Kelapa Dua and Latuhualoi. No casualties were reported. The material damage was restricted to twelve houses and one spiritual center burned.

Any further report on the conflict in Ahiolo (yesterday's Report no. 3) is not yet available.

4. VISIT OF VICE GOVERNOR TO THE KEI-ISLANDS - On her return from a brief visit to the Kei-Islands, S.E.Moluccas, vice Governor Dra. Paula B.Renyaan, reported on the situation in that area, where during April 1999 were clashes with many casualties and much damage. She informed "Siwalima" newspaper that reconciliation had been facilitated by the fact that the Keiese still hold strongly to their adat (tradition). Also the role of the local Raja-s ("kings") and spiritual leaders turned out to be of paramount influence. Most important consideration to come to terms one with another was the jeopardizing of the future of their children and grandchildren if the conflict was to go on and on. The dialogue as the road to reconciliation in Kei, was not initiated by any government officials, but was realised solely by the people's initiative, and without any precondition.

Report no. 81

Ambon, October 22, 2000

1. DIALOGUE? - It is noticed that both sides (christians and muslims) are more and more inclined to drop any preconditions to start a dialogue in order to restore normal relations. On two earlier occasions the governor's invitation to both conflicting parties to meet one with another, was refused by the christians. Law expert Mr.Fileo Pistos Noija, member of the protestant Church Advocacy Team, explained that the christians could not possibly comply to the first of these invitations, since just then the christian village of Waai was being annihilated by muslims (the second opportunity was in Jakarta when meeting with presiden Abdurrahman Wahid). Another precondition - the immediate ousting of the laskar jihad - had not been directed at the muslims but at the responsible for the Civil Emergency State, i.e. the governor. Yet another condition which was to be fulfilled for a christian-muslim dialogue, was the non-participation of any ousiders. Mr.Noija stressed that this condition was not to be applied to (for instance) people from Bugis/Buton/Makasar, most of whom were born and have grown up in the Moluccas, so they are to be regarded as Moluccans.

Meanwhile the recently established "National Human Rights Agency" (see Report 79 no.2) declared its readiness to act as intermediary between the two conflicting parties. Thus was declared to the press on October 21 by one of its members, Mr. B.N.Marbun. Though the principal task of this agency is the survey of violation of human rights, it also provides various suggestions to the governor to come to a dialogue and ultimately to reconciliation. The agency is also ready to open talks with each of the two sides if a conducive dialogue is still out of the question.

2. DRUGS? - On October 21 a seminar was held at the protestant Imanuel church at Karang Panjang, Ambon town, on mental training for women and on abuse of sex and narcotics/drugs. On that occasion the police chief commander, Firman Gani, declared that it might be possible that those who always carry out assaults, make use of certain narcotica, psychotherapics and other damaging drugs to enhance their bravery, resulting in a significant number of casualties among these attacking forces. On earlier occasions this suspicion had already been raised (Report July 14, no.2, and Report July 20, no.1).

3. BURNING OF BUS KAIRATU-KAMARIAN - On October 20 tenseness in the Kairatu area (South Ceram) flared up again when a passenger bus was intercepted and burned by a muslim mass on its way from Kairatu to Kamarian, not far from the turn off to Kelapa Dua. On the bus were 23 persons, including two security servicemen. Three persons were seriously wounded in this incident.

4. THE ATTACK ON AHIOLO (see Report 79 no.3) - Some evidence about the attack on Ahiolo, a christian village which lies at a distance of about 12 km from the south coast of Ceram, in the Kairatu area, is now available. According to "Suara Maluku" newspaper, on October 14, Ahiolo was attacked by masses from the villages of Latu and Hualoi. The attack was launched in the early morning, when many people were saying their prayers both in church and in their houses. The masses at last were repulsed by the villagers together with civilians from the villages of Abio and Huku Kecil who had come to their support. Reported damage: 46 houses, a school building and a polyclinic were burned down; the fate of the church buidling is still in doubt. Five villagers were killed in the incident (three males, two females), one 7 years old boy by the name of Ade Latu, was said to be abducted by the aggressors. Security forces had not been able to arrive to the site in time due to lack of proper roads.

5. CONFLICT ON THE ISLAND OF SAPARUA FLARES UP AGAIN - At 8.00 a.m. on Sunday, October 22, as the christians of the village of Ulath (island of Saparua) were preparing to go to church, their village was attacked again by masses that came from Sirisori Islam. The assailants were beaten off by the villagers and local security forces.

After their failure at Ulath, the masses from Sirisori Islam launched an attack on Sirisori Kristen at 5.00 p.m. on the same day. From the 15 houses that were left untouched on earlier assaults, several were burned down, also the already heavily damaged church was burned more thoroughly. There were no reports of casualties on christian side. Brimob police forces at last managed to repulse the invaders.

Report no. 82

Ambon, October 24, 2000

1. VISIT CONSUL GENERAL USA – Yesterday USA Consul General Robert Pollard came to Ambon to have meetings with the governor and several other officials, including separate meetings with leaders of the muslim and christian communities, the latter of which are to be held today. It is his second vist to Ambon. The dialogue is likely to focus on humanitarian aid and on facilitating reconciliation efforts.

2. RED CROSS CONFERENCE – Yesterday the Third Provincial Red Cross Conference was opened at Ambon. On that occasion the vice chairman of the National Indonesian Red Cross acknowledged that the main tasks which are currently entrusted to the R.C. in the Moluccas – by decree of the International R.C. in accordance to the Geneva Conference – is (1) finding lost people; (2) protection of civilians. By “finding lost people” is meant the reunification of familiy members that lost track of each other when fleeing for safety to other regions. They also try to investigate on casualties which are still unknown to their families. They stand by, too, for First Aid and the promotion of blood transfusion. Apart from this, their task is also survey of the refugees camps observing the need of improvement of sanitary facilities, the need of additional food etc.

3. ATTACK ON KAIRATU – Yesterday, starting at 5.00 a.m. an attack was launched at the christian town of Kairatu on the south coast of Ceram, opposite the island of Ambon. According to the Kepala Kecamatan Kairatu (local government responsible), Drs. Bram Udiata, this attack resulted in the burning of 17 houses. One christian was killed (Yoris Akollo), whereas the attackers had 4 or 5 casualties. Also a soldier from military battalion Yonif 731, Viktor Tuhusulwa, was killed in the incident. At 8.30 a.m. the situation was reported to be under control.

4. TENSENESS IN AMBON – There is increasing tenseness in Ambon town. Last night at about 10.30 p.m. a mass of muslims moved on from the neighbourhood of Waihaong in the direction of nearby Batugantung and Kampung Kolam. Frequent bombing was noticed, but no significant damage was reported. The attacker were repulsed by military marinir forces.

Report no. 83

Ambon, October 26, 2000

1. MEETING WITH CONSUL GENERAL USA - The Consul General of the USA, based in Surabaya, together with the second Secretary of the political Section of the USA Embassy at Jakarta, Ms. Victoria A.Alvaredo, together with another official, had several meetings in Ambon on October 24 (see Report 82 no.1). A visit to the refugees’ camp at the naval base of Halong had to be cancelled for reasons of safety. The Consul General, Mr. Robert A.Pollard, who speaks Indonesian fluently, met with representatives of the Muslim Community, the Protestants and the Catholics. We restrict ourselves to report on the meeting with the catholics. Since the bishop was still in Kei, Pastor Agus Ulahaiyanan, chairman of the Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina, welcomed the deputation. The meeting was held together with seven members of the catholic community in the bishop’s house.

Mr. Pollard expressed his disappointment that in various reports on national and international level, the suffering of the christians due to the conflict, was insufficiently exposed. As a consequence the conflict in the Moluccas was mainly looked upon as savagery of christians towards muslims, whereas in fact both sides equally endure casualties, damage and other suffering. This unbalanced reporting evokes antipathy among the muslims outside the Moluccas towards non-muslim Moluccans and triggers eagerness to wage a jihad on the christians in the Moluccas.

He further stressed the importance of a sincere dialogue between the conflicting parties, without any preconditions. He even declared his personal readiness to act as a mediator in this dialogue. He also stated that the USA is opposed to any official international intervention to end the conflict, for this could bring about escalation of the conflict instead of ending it.

2. AGAIN CONFLICT ON SAPARUA - On October 24 unrest flared up again on the island of Saparua, east of Ambon island. The conflict started at about 6.00 p.m. between on one side Sirisori Islam and on the other side the christian villages of Ulath and Ouw. Twelve people from Ulath and Ouw and two people from Sirisori Islam were injured, of whom five seriously. Most of the villagers, especially old people, women and children fled to safety. It is not yet clear how this conflict started. A military company of the Yonif 407 was despatched from Ambon to the location. Due to limited communication facilities nothing definite can be reported yet on the present situation in the area.

3. TWELVE JIHAD FIGHTERS ARRESTED - On the holy day of Isra Mi’raj Nabi Muhammad SAW, October 25, from 1.00 a.m. to 3.00 a.m. a nocturnal attack was launched by muslim/jihad forces on targets at the western outskirts of the town of Ambon, namely on Gunung Nona (which means Maiden Mountain), where the TV-Station is located, Benteng Atas (Upper Benteng) and Airsalobar. The attacks were initiated from the nearby muslim enclave of Pohon Mangga. Security forces repulsed the assailants and immediately carried out sweeping. Twelve people were arrested because carrying various kinds of both military and home-made weaponry and other combat facilities, such as bulletproof vests, grenades and grenade launchers, jerrycans of petrol etc. All of them were non-Moluccans aging 18 - 23, coming from Bogor, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Madiun, Solo, Bandung, Tjilatjap (places on Java), Medan and Nganjuk.

4. ACCUSATION OF MALTREATMENT - The arrest of the twelve Laskar Jihad caused commotion among the muslims, for rumours were spread that the twelve were seriously maltreated, beaten, stripped of their clothes etc. These 'facts' were publicly announced at the Al-Fatah Mosque. Consequently there were muslim demonstrations and gathering of muslim masses in Ambon and also in several places on the opposite shore of the bay, namely in Waiheru and Kota Jawa. At Wayame a merchant’s large petrol storages were attacked (we have no information about the result of this attack). Also christian speedboats on their way from Benteng to Galala v.v. were shot at, whereby one person was wounded. A house in Airsalobar was burned down.

Asked about the alleged maltreatment of the detained laskar jihad, Colonel Infantery Agus Suyitno answered that there will be made investigation to this end. If needed, a meeting of those twelve with religious and civil authorities can be arranged. He was of the opinion that the arrest of these jihad warriors was misused by provocators to rouse mass emotions.

Report no. 84

Ambon, October 27, 2000

1. ASSAULT ON THREE POLICE VEHICLES - In the early morning of October 24, three police vehicles on their way from Passo to police headquarters in Batumeja/Ambon were thrown at with four grenades and shot at by snipers while passing the muslim dominated eastern neighbourhood of Galunggung. The grenades missed their target, and the shooting had no effect since the vehicles were bullet proof.

2. CONTINUATION OF THE CONFLICT ON THE ISLAND OF SAPARUA - In the early morning of October 26, the christian villages of Ulath and Ouw on the island of Saparua again became the target of an assault from the side of nearby Sirisori Islam. Local newspaper 'Suara Maluku' reports that as a result of this attack one resident of Ulath (Buang Supusepa, 50) and one Brimob policeman were killed. Newspaper 'Siwalima' reports that also three army soldiers were killed in the incident. Three residents of Ulath were injured. At least five houses were burned down. The attackers, numbering several thousands, used organic weapons, mortars and molotov cocktails. At about 2.00 p.m. the security forces together with local civilians at last managed to get the situation under control.

Report no. 85

Ambon, October 30, 2000

1. SMUGGLING OF WEAPONS - A load of water-melons on the passengership 'Lambelu', which docked at Ambon Yos Soedarso harbour last week, apparently contained 1.300 detonators (devices to trigger explosives).

2. MINOR COMMOTION IN AMBON - During the night between October 28/29, the exploding of several dozens of bombs and grenades were heard in some Ambon muslim neighbourhoods. Perhaps this had to do with some internal conflict of a number of muslims, by which a young man was wounded.

3. THE TWELVE DETAINED LASKAR JIHAD - Though much critized by muslims, nevertheless the military chief commander I Made Yasa maintains that the arrest of 12 Jihad fighters on October 25 (see Report 83 no.3) is fully justified, since they were in possession of weaponry, which is illegal for civilians. Further steps are to be taken by the police who within two weeks have to prepare the indictment to the attorney for further prosecution. Much will depend on the fact whether these twelve were caught either in action (in which case repressive measures will be taken) or in “rest” (in which persuasive measures might be taken). The procedure is still delayed since three of them are still under medical treatment. in hospital. Thus was confirmed to the press by Police chief Firman Gani.

4. KAIRATU - The recent unrest in and around the town of Kairatu on the south coast of Ceram (see Report 82 no. 3 and several earlier reports) has virtually isolated Kairatu from the outside world. According to the secretary of the NGO 'Yayasan Manusela', Mr. Rudy Talahatu, Infantery battalion Yonif 731/Kabaresi did a good job in neutralizing the conflict in a professional way. However only two of the three truckloads of rice that were sent to Kairatu by this NGO, reached Kairatu. The third one, though under protection of two security forces servicemen, was halted by Jihad forces at the muslim village of Gemba. They demanded their share of the rice. A representative of this NGO answered them that the villagers of Gempa would get their share as soon as the Laskar Jihad withdrew from the area. It was not reported how this this incident ended.

Since the residents of Kairatu have no way out to the small anchorages of Waipirit to the west and Kamariang to the east, besides feeling endangered and also lacking food, many of them have sought refuge in the mountains.

5. DOUBT ABOUT STATEMENT FIRST LADY - There is some confusion in Ambon about the statement of First Lady Mrs. Shina Nuriah Wahid, wife of President Gus Dur. She said that in the Moluccas children between the ages of 6 - 12 years are being instructed how to fabricate firearms. She also said that nowadays in the Moluccas girls from 12 upwards are involved in prostitution. There are no visible facts about these things happening. It is just further damaging the already besmirched reputation of the Moluccas.

6. MINISTERS TO VISIT AMBON - Tomorrow, October 31, 13 Ministers of State from Jakarta are scheduled to come to Ambon to observe the situation and condition in the Moluccas.

Report no. 80

Ambon, November 1, 2000

1. MINISTERS’ VISIT TO THE MOLUCCAS - Instead of 13 Ministers (see Report 85 no.6), only 6 Ministers from Jakarta arrived at Laha airport, Ambon, on October 31. Several other officials were with them, among others the Supreme Military Commander, Widodo AS. The deputation was led by the Minister of Political/Social/Security Affairs (MenSosPolKam), Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. They previously had visited Atambua and Kupang (Nusa Tenggara Timur islands), Wamena and Jayapura (Irian/Papua). They arrived at Laha airport at 9.45 a.m. and left at 2.00 p.m. the same day to go on to Ternate (North Moluccas) and the same day further on to Makassar (South Celebes). Their visit to the Province of the Moluccas was restricted to a meeting with local officials at the airport. Of course local population was disappointed that this visit was to be so brief!

2. CLARIFICATIONS AND ASSERTIONS - From the side of the Ministers deputation several assertions were made:
- The Minister of Political/Social/Security Affairs (Mensospolkam), Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, declared that he had ordered the Laskar Jihad in the Moluccas to end all of their activities. He hoped that 'all elements from outside the Moluccas' would leave the area, by which they could be sure of protection by security forces.
- The Minister of Defense, Prof.Dr. Moh.Mahfud MD, acknowlegded having written, before become a Minister, a preface to the second edition of the (especially by the christians) much critized Laskar Jihad Handbook by Rustam Kastor, titled 'Konspirasi Kristen dan RMS Menghancurkan Umat Islam di Ambon-Maluku' (Christian and RMS Conspiration to annihilate the Muslim Community of Ambon-Moluccas). In this preface, he declared, he did not really approve of this booklet, since he had only written that the contents of this book was just a theory, notably one of six possible theories. In this way, he said, he wanted to make known that he disapproved of its contents as far as it offered a clarification of the muslim-christian conflict in the Moluccas.

3. VISIT TO TERNATE - Having arrived at Ternate, the Minister of political/social/security Affairs (Mensospolkam), Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, during a meeting with governor Muhyi Effendie and other officials, confirmed that he had been informed by the local security forces that in the North Moluccas there was still going and coming of provocators, who might have aspirations to continue the conflict. However, generally spoken, the situation in the North Moluccasas was under control, even near to normal, he said.

4. NEGLECTING THE MOLUCCAS? - Both in Ambon and Ternate, Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono repudiated accusations by the population of the Moluccas that the central government allegedly does not pay much interest in the conflict in the Moluccas, compared to short-living conflicts elsewhere, such as in Wamena (Irian/Papua). He retorted that - on the contrary - most attention is paid to the Moluccas, judged by the total of security forces available in the Moluccas as many as 13.000 troops, police forces not included. This is about 40% of all military security forces which are dispatched to the critical areas (Moluccas, Irian, Aceh, Atambua etc.).

5. LONGSHEDS FOR REFUGEES - The provincial Pekerjaan Umum (Public Works) up to now has build in and around Ambon 222 longsheds (barraques) for refugees. According to the chairman of the Town Council, Drs. Y.Papilaya, the quality of these sheds is only fit for animals. If the building of these sheds had been entrusted to the town’s authorities, their quality would have been much better. Sheds that have been (or are being) built by local NGO-s, such as the Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina, in fact are of better quality.

Report no. 87

Ambon, November 3, 2000

1. BURNING OF A VAN - On November 1, on its way from Ambon town to the village of Lateri, a distance of about 8 km, a refuse collector van with 33 year old Julius Diponegoro at the wheel, when passing the Muslim neighbourhood of Batumerah, was thrown at with stones by a group of Muslims, badly wounding the driver. However, Yonif 141 soldiers could free Julius and his two companions, but they could not prevent the van being burned by the mass. A source quoted by 'Siwalima' newspaper, reports that previously the driver had hit somebody with his car.

2. ATTACK ON SULI = On November 2, the village of Suli in the eastern part of the island of Ambon, east of Passo, was attacked for the fourth time. Earlier attacks took place on September 25, September 28 and October 10. This time it was a minor attack on this christian village and could be stopped by security forces in half an hour’s time.

3. CONFISCATION OF WEAPONRY, DRUGS AND ALCOHOLICS - Regular sweeping is carried out by security forces on all incoming ships. On the cargo/passengers ship 'Iramuar', arriving yesterday from Tual (S.E.Moluccas), was found: 325 bullets, 30 ounces of drugs and 1500 liters of alcoholics (locally fabricated so-called 'sopi').

4. The situation in the Kei Islands, part of the Kabupaten (sub-province) of the S.E.Moluccas, is more and more conducive, after violent confrontation between Muslims and Christians in April last year. In Tual, the capital of this Kabupaten, the chairman of the muslim Nahdatul Ulama (NU) group, Haji Yahya Tamher, expressed his feelings of relief, witnessing and experiencing the renewed traditional brotherhood disregarding religion. He also underlined that Christians and Muslims should join forces to forestall any intrusion of Jihad troops in the area. Thus Yahya Tamher stated to 'Siwalima' newspaper reporters on the occasion of some official reception in Tual.

5. During the last few weeks postal service in Ambon, both incoming and outgoing mail, has virtually come to a stand-still. It is not clear for what reason, since airplanes and ships are coming and going almost daily. Anyway, what is turning up now, at last, are letters from somewhere in 1999.

Report no. 88

Ambon, November 4, 2000

1. MUSLIM VS MUSLIM? - We read in masariku@egroups.com that there are various informations and rumours about discordance within the muslim community, such as:
- A splitting up in factions, for instance the BBM group (those who originally come from Buton-Bugis-Makasar), the Hatuhaha group (dominated by Ambonese muslims who originally come from the villages of Pelau and Kailolo on the island of Haruku, which lies immediately east of Ambon), the Leihitu group (a gathering of muslim villages in the northern part of Ambon island). Further a disparity between local jihad warriors and jihads from elsewhere.
- It was reported that the day before yesterday the muslim village of Negeri Lima (also called just Lima) attacked the muslim villages of Ureng and Asilulu at the north-western coast of the island. Reason of this attack is still unknown.

2. DEFILEMENT OF CHURCH - Today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper reports a sad follow-up of the destruction (during September and October) of the christian village of Sirisori Amalatu on the island of Saparua. It has been reported to the governor with carbon copies to Pope John Paul II, the United Nations Board and various other persons and agencies, that in what is left of the Sirisori church building, muslims indulge themselves in irregular sexual activities. This statement was issued on November 3 2000 by the vice village head of Sirisori Amalatu, F.Uktolseja.

3. FUNDS FOR PATTIMURA UNIVERSITY - 80 billion rupiahs (about US $ 9,500,000.-) have been allotted to rebuild the destroyed Campus of the Pattimura University at Poka/Ambon. These funds come from both national and international sources, i.a. from Japan. Thus was confirmed by the Rector of the University, Prof.Dr. Mus Huliselan. He added that this amount was still far from enough. However, building activities can only start if the situation allows it. Meanwhile part of the funds are being spent on development of necessary provisional facilities.

4. PELA GANDONG - There are some frequently used words and expressions in Ambonese of which sometimes people ask what exactly the meaning is of each of these words. For those who are interested we herewith provide a brief explanation.

a) PELA - The word is not to be found in the dictionary. But is known in the whole Moluccas as sort of closeness or togetherness. There may be pela between two villages or also between two areas each consisting of a number of villages. They have a permanent mutual trust in each other, a sincere relation of friendship, which has peculiar consequences such as:
- Marriages between them is not allowed (for they are like brothers and sisters)
- If some disaster occurs to one of them (floods, earthquake, epidemic disease etc.) one (or several) of the others come to help by symbolically destroying the village thus abating the wrath of the gods. On that occasion they are also free to take home any chickens, goats and pigs (which in fact they eagerly do!).

b) GANDONG - Derived from the Indonesian KANDUNGAN which means 'womb'. Herewith is stressed that, sure, they come from one mother.
So PELA-GANDONG means: a very close brotherhood.
There is a popular nostalgic Moluccan song 'Satu hati satu gandong' = 'One heart one womb'.

c) BASUDARA - Derived from Indonesian BERSAUDARA. 'Saudara' = brother/sister/cousin and still farther up. The prefix 'ber' always means 'having'. So 'Basudara' means: having each other as 'saudara' = brotherhood.

d) ALE RASA BETA RASA - the Ambonese word ALE = you; the Ambonese word BETA (stress on the first syllable) = I / me. The Indonesian word RASA = feel. So the meaning is: I feel what you feel. If you have pain, I have no less pain. If you are happy, I am happy too.

How and when will these wonderful traditional practices be restaured again?

Report no. 89

Ambon, November 15, 2000

We have been absent for quite some time. The reasons are:

First: The situation is rather under control.

Secondly: We were infected by the PrettyPark.Worm virus. We suppose to be clean by now, but it is said that a host of other virusses is waiting to intrude, especially trojan and matrix virusses. It could be a deliberate paralyzing from certain quarters. We, though being a victim as well, herewith want to apologize for any inconvenience or damage we brought about to your computer.

1. BRIMOB FORCES TRANSFERRED FROM THE NORTH MOLUCCAS TO AMBON - Considering the North Moluccas to be sufficiently conducive, Police chief commander Firman Gani last week transferred 224 Brimob Police from Ternate and Tidore (Province of the North Moluccas) to Ambon. Most of them are now being assigned in the tense Tial/Suli area, in the eastern part of the island, not far from the village of Passo.

2. CHINESE KILLED - A catholic Chinese merchant, named Benedictus Tanasal (48) was killed on November 8 in the muslim dominated Sam Ratulangi Road (shopping street). He was used to do business with a muslim woman, but this time he seems to have been tricked. Just another indication that any intermingling of christians and muslims is still impossible. However it might be an ordinar criminal act.

3. MISTRUST - Proof of the separateness and mutual mistrust in Ambon is following incident. In the afternoon of November 13, six christian students, five female and one male, asked an off-duty minibus to take them from Manggadua/Pohon Pule to Mardika. However, at the Trikora crossroads the bus turned left instead of turning right, so took the way straight to the Alfatah Mosque. The driver intended to turn right immediately after that, following the Anthoy Rheebock street to Mardika. However the six students panicked and preferred jumping off the riding car to being taken to the muslim quarters. This resulted in two female students being badly injured and one slightly wounded.

4. DISCORDANCE - We already mentioned internal discordance within the muslim community (see Report 88, no.1). But the christians, too, experience internal conflict, especially on the grass roots level. The christian civil 'warriors' of Kudamati are divided in the 'Coker' group and the adherents of Agus Wattimena. 'Coker' is short for Cowo-Cowo Keren (Ambonese, meaning 'Bold Youngsters'). They regularly fight each other, with some houses burned down as a result.

5. VISITORS FROM THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY - The vice ambassador from the Australian Embassy at Jakarta, Mr. Lislie A.Rowe, came to visit Ambon on November 8-9 in order to collect first-hand information about the situation in Ambon/Moluccas. There were meetings with government leaders and religious representatives. We were present at the meeting with about twenty delegates of the Diocese of Amboina on November 9. Mr. Rowe expressed the eagerness of the people of Australia to continue providing help in matters of humanitarian aid and reconciliation. However they should be sure of the competence and trustworthiness of the local NGO-s. Asked by the vice ambassador about priorities in humanitarian aid for the refugees, Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan, chairman of the diocesan Crisis Centre, answered: what is important to them, is: housing, activating them (creating jobs, small business, home-industry etc.) and education/formation for the children.

6. MEGAWATI VISITS KEI- AND ARU ISLANDS - Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri arrived at Ambon airport on Saturday, November 11. She was on her way to Tual, S.E.Moluccas, to preside there at her party’s (PDI Perjuangan) Provincial Conference. During her one hour’s transit at Ambon airport she used the opportunity to have an informal meeting with the local christian and muslim religious leaders and other influential people. She stressed that the conflict in the Moluccas had its origin in the people of the Moluccas, and no effort from outside can bring about real peace. It is the Moluccans themselves who must reconcile one with another. Her vist to the Kei- and Aru-islands was most successful.

7. ADDITIONAL LASKAR JIHAD ARRIVING - We read in 'Siwalima' newspaper that on November 11, another group of Laskar Jihad arrived at Ambon. They had embarked on the Bukit Si Guntang passengership at Surabaya. The group consists of 415 persons, thus bringing the total of Laskar Jihad in the Moluccas at 15.219 persons. They have been dispatched by the Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. According to the group leader, Muhammad Ghifary, their mission is the same as earlier 'shipments': to assist their fellow muslimin in the Moluccas, specifically in Ambon, Saparua and Ceram, in the fields of enhancing religious practice, social work, physical rebuilding of houses and other facilities, medical care etc. To prove it, they had all kinds of appropriate tools with them (hammers, medicines etc.).


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 80 - 89
(October 20 - November 15, 2000)

Report no. 80

Ambon, October 20, 2000

1. DIALOGUE WITHOUT PRECONDITION - For the 1245 newly enrolled students of the Pattimura University, the academic year was opened on October 19 in a school compound at Manggadua, since the University Campus itself at Poka/Rumahtiga was burned down. On that occasion the police chief commander Drs. Firman Gani addressed the students, speaking among other things about the need of immediate dialogue between christians and muslims. He stressed two items: (1) Both parties should not make any previous conditions; (2) These students should make a first move, initiating dialogue among themselves, thus demonstrating to the conflicting parties that indeed a dialogue without making any previous terms, can be realised; such initiative would also undoubtedly attract everybody's attention to the Pattimura University!

2. FURTHER EXPLANATION ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS AGENCY AT AMBON - (see yesterday's Report no. 2). Mr.Bambang W. Soeharto, the vice Second Chairman of the National Commision for Human Rights, declared to the press that everybody could and should report to this commission on any committed violence - both vertical and horizontal, both civil and military - without any fear.

Meanwhile many are afraid that any such report will have no effect what-so-ever if nobody will get down to business bringing to justice these violators. Precisely due to lack of any law enforcement, people again and again execute "justice" themselves, taking inproportional acts of revenge.

3. RECENT CONFLICT ON CERAM -(see yesterday's Report no. 3). The attack on the village of Waitasi, not far from Kairatu, South Ceram, on October 17, was launched at about 11.00 a.m. and could be stopped by local security forces at about 5.00 p.m. The attack was carried out both by civilians of the village itself and by masses that had come from the villages of Kelapa Dua and Latuhualoi. No casualties were reported. The material damage was restricted to twelve houses and one spiritual center burned.

Any further report on the conflict in Ahiolo (yesterday's Report no. 3) is not yet available.

4. VISIT OF VICE GOVERNOR TO THE KEI-ISLANDS - On her return from a brief visit to the Kei-Islands, S.E.Moluccas, vice Governor Dra. Paula B.Renyaan, reported on the situation in that area, where during April 1999 were clashes with many casualties and much damage. She informed "Siwalima" newspaper that reconciliation had been facilitated by the fact that the Keiese still hold strongly to their adat (tradition). Also the role of the local Raja-s ("kings") and spiritual leaders turned out to be of paramount influence. Most important consideration to come to terms one with another was the jeopardizing of the future of their children and grandchildren if the conflict was to go on and on. The dialogue as the road to reconciliation in Kei, was not initiated by any government officials, but was realised solely by the people's initiative, and without any precondition.

Report no. 81

Ambon, October 22, 2000

1. DIALOGUE? - It is noticed that both sides (christians and muslims) are more and more inclined to drop any preconditions to start a dialogue in order to restore normal relations. On two earlier occasions the governor's invitation to both conflicting parties to meet one with another, was refused by the christians. Law expert Mr.Fileo Pistos Noija, member of the protestant Church Advocacy Team, explained that the christians could not possibly comply to the first of these invitations, since just then the christian village of Waai was being annihilated by muslims (the second opportunity was in Jakarta when meeting with presiden Abdurrahman Wahid). Another precondition - the immediate ousting of the laskar jihad - had not been directed at the muslims but at the responsible for the Civil Emergency State, i.e. the governor. Yet another condition which was to be fulfilled for a christian-muslim dialogue, was the non-participation of any ousiders. Mr.Noija stressed that this condition was not to be applied to (for instance) people from Bugis/Buton/Makasar, most of whom were born and have grown up in the Moluccas, so they are to be regarded as Moluccans.

Meanwhile the recently established "National Human Rights Agency" (see Report 79 no.2) declared its readiness to act as intermediary between the two conflicting parties. Thus was declared to the press on October 21 by one of its members, Mr. B.N.Marbun. Though the principal task of this agency is the survey of violation of human rights, it also provides various suggestions to the governor to come to a dialogue and ultimately to reconciliation. The agency is also ready to open talks with each of the two sides if a conducive dialogue is still out of the question.

2. DRUGS? - On October 21 a seminar was held at the protestant Imanuel church at Karang Panjang, Ambon town, on mental training for women and on abuse of sex and narcotics/drugs. On that occasion the police chief commander, Firman Gani, declared that it might be possible that those who always carry out assaults, make use of certain narcotica, psychotherapics and other damaging drugs to enhance their bravery, resulting in a significant number of casualties among these attacking forces. On earlier occasions this suspicion had already been raised (Report July 14, no.2, and Report July 20, no.1).

3. BURNING OF BUS KAIRATU-KAMARIAN - On October 20 tenseness in the Kairatu area (South Ceram) flared up again when a passenger bus was intercepted and burned by a muslim mass on its way from Kairatu to Kamarian, not far from the turn off to Kelapa Dua. On the bus were 23 persons, including two security servicemen. Three persons were seriously wounded in this incident.

4. THE ATTACK ON AHIOLO (see Report 79 no.3) - Some evidence about the attack on Ahiolo, a christian village which lies at a distance of about 12 km from the south coast of Ceram, in the Kairatu area, is now available. According to "Suara Maluku" newspaper, on October 14, Ahiolo was attacked by masses from the villages of Latu and Hualoi. The attack was launched in the early morning, when many people were saying their prayers both in church and in their houses. The masses at last were repulsed by the villagers together with civilians from the villages of Abio and Huku Kecil who had come to their support. Reported damage: 46 houses, a school building and a polyclinic were burned down; the fate of the church buidling is still in doubt. Five villagers were killed in the incident (three males, two females), one 7 years old boy by the name of Ade Latu, was said to be abducted by the aggressors. Security forces had not been able to arrive to the site in time due to lack of proper roads.

5. CONFLICT ON THE ISLAND OF SAPARUA FLARES UP AGAIN - At 8.00 a.m. on Sunday, October 22, as the christians of the village of Ulath (island of Saparua) were preparing to go to church, their village was attacked again by masses that came from Sirisori Islam. The assailants were beaten off by the villagers and local security forces.

After their failure at Ulath, the masses from Sirisori Islam launched an attack on Sirisori Kristen at 5.00 p.m. on the same day. From the 15 houses that were left untouched on earlier assaults, several were burned down, also the already heavily damaged church was burned more thoroughly. There were no reports of casualties on christian side. Brimob police forces at last managed to repulse the invaders.

Report no. 82

Ambon, October 24, 2000

1. VISIT CONSUL GENERAL USA – Yesterday USA Consul General Robert Pollard came to Ambon to have meetings with the governor and several other officials, including separate meetings with leaders of the muslim and christian communities, the latter of which are to be held today. It is his second vist to Ambon. The dialogue is likely to focus on humanitarian aid and on facilitating reconciliation efforts.

2. RED CROSS CONFERENCE – Yesterday the Third Provincial Red Cross Conference was opened at Ambon. On that occasion the vice chairman of the National Indonesian Red Cross acknowledged that the main tasks which are currently entrusted to the R.C. in the Moluccas – by decree of the International R.C. in accordance to the Geneva Conference – is (1) finding lost people; (2) protection of civilians. By “finding lost people” is meant the reunification of familiy members that lost track of each other when fleeing for safety to other regions. They also try to investigate on casualties which are still unknown to their families. They stand by, too, for First Aid and the promotion of blood transfusion. Apart from this, their task is also survey of the refugees camps observing the need of improvement of sanitary facilities, the need of additional food etc.

3. ATTACK ON KAIRATU – Yesterday, starting at 5.00 a.m. an attack was launched at the christian town of Kairatu on the south coast of Ceram, opposite the island of Ambon. According to the Kepala Kecamatan Kairatu (local government responsible), Drs. Bram Udiata, this attack resulted in the burning of 17 houses. One christian was killed (Yoris Akollo), whereas the attackers had 4 or 5 casualties. Also a soldier from military battalion Yonif 731, Viktor Tuhusulwa, was killed in the incident. At 8.30 a.m. the situation was reported to be under control.

4. TENSENESS IN AMBON – There is increasing tenseness in Ambon town. Last night at about 10.30 p.m. a mass of muslims moved on from the neighbourhood of Waihaong in the direction of nearby Batugantung and Kampung Kolam. Frequent bombing was noticed, but no significant damage was reported. The attacker were repulsed by military marinir forces.

Report no. 83

Ambon, October 26, 2000

1. MEETING WITH CONSUL GENERAL USA - The Consul General of the USA, based in Surabaya, together with the second Secretary of the political Section of the USA Embassy at Jakarta, Ms. Victoria A.Alvaredo, together with another official, had several meetings in Ambon on October 24 (see Report 82 no.1). A visit to the refugees’ camp at the naval base of Halong had to be cancelled for reasons of safety. The Consul General, Mr. Robert A.Pollard, who speaks Indonesian fluently, met with representatives of the Muslim Community, the Protestants and the Catholics. We restrict ourselves to report on the meeting with the catholics. Since the bishop was still in Kei, Pastor Agus Ulahaiyanan, chairman of the Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina, welcomed the deputation. The meeting was held together with seven members of the catholic community in the bishop’s house.

Mr. Pollard expressed his disappointment that in various reports on national and international level, the suffering of the christians due to the conflict, was insufficiently exposed. As a consequence the conflict in the Moluccas was mainly looked upon as savagery of christians towards muslims, whereas in fact both sides equally endure casualties, damage and other suffering. This unbalanced reporting evokes antipathy among the muslims outside the Moluccas towards non-muslim Moluccans and triggers eagerness to wage a jihad on the christians in the Moluccas.

He further stressed the importance of a sincere dialogue between the conflicting parties, without any preconditions. He even declared his personal readiness to act as a mediator in this dialogue. He also stated that the USA is opposed to any official international intervention to end the conflict, for this could bring about escalation of the conflict instead of ending it.

2. AGAIN CONFLICT ON SAPARUA - On October 24 unrest flared up again on the island of Saparua, east of Ambon island. The conflict started at about 6.00 p.m. between on one side Sirisori Islam and on the other side the christian villages of Ulath and Ouw. Twelve people from Ulath and Ouw and two people from Sirisori Islam were injured, of whom five seriously. Most of the villagers, especially old people, women and children fled to safety. It is not yet clear how this conflict started. A military company of the Yonif 407 was despatched from Ambon to the location. Due to limited communication facilities nothing definite can be reported yet on the present situation in the area.

3. TWELVE JIHAD FIGHTERS ARRESTED - On the holy day of Isra Mi’raj Nabi Muhammad SAW, October 25, from 1.00 a.m. to 3.00 a.m. a nocturnal attack was launched by muslim/jihad forces on targets at the western outskirts of the town of Ambon, namely on Gunung Nona (which means Maiden Mountain), where the TV-Station is located, Benteng Atas (Upper Benteng) and Airsalobar. The attacks were initiated from the nearby muslim enclave of Pohon Mangga. Security forces repulsed the assailants and immediately carried out sweeping. Twelve people were arrested because carrying various kinds of both military and home-made weaponry and other combat facilities, such as bulletproof vests, grenades and grenade launchers, jerrycans of petrol etc. All of them were non-Moluccans aging 18 - 23, coming from Bogor, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Madiun, Solo, Bandung, Tjilatjap (places on Java), Medan and Nganjuk.

4. ACCUSATION OF MALTREATMENT - The arrest of the twelve Laskar Jihad caused commotion among the muslims, for rumours were spread that the twelve were seriously maltreated, beaten, stripped of their clothes etc. These 'facts' were publicly announced at the Al-Fatah Mosque. Consequently there were muslim demonstrations and gathering of muslim masses in Ambon and also in several places on the opposite shore of the bay, namely in Waiheru and Kota Jawa. At Wayame a merchant’s large petrol storages were attacked (we have no information about the result of this attack). Also christian speedboats on their way from Benteng to Galala v.v. were shot at, whereby one person was wounded. A house in Airsalobar was burned down.

Asked about the alleged maltreatment of the detained laskar jihad, Colonel Infantery Agus Suyitno answered that there will be made investigation to this end. If needed, a meeting of those twelve with religious and civil authorities can be arranged. He was of the opinion that the arrest of these jihad warriors was misused by provocators to rouse mass emotions.

Report no. 84

Ambon, October 27, 2000

1. ASSAULT ON THREE POLICE VEHICLES - In the early morning of October 24, three police vehicles on their way from Passo to police headquarters in Batumeja/Ambon were thrown at with four grenades and shot at by snipers while passing the muslim dominated eastern neighbourhood of Galunggung. The grenades missed their target, and the shooting had no effect since the vehicles were bullet proof.

2. CONTINUATION OF THE CONFLICT ON THE ISLAND OF SAPARUA - In the early morning of October 26, the christian villages of Ulath and Ouw on the island of Saparua again became the target of an assault from the side of nearby Sirisori Islam. Local newspaper 'Suara Maluku' reports that as a result of this attack one resident of Ulath (Buang Supusepa, 50) and one Brimob policeman were killed. Newspaper 'Siwalima' reports that also three army soldiers were killed in the incident. Three residents of Ulath were injured. At least five houses were burned down. The attackers, numbering several thousands, used organic weapons, mortars and molotov cocktails. At about 2.00 p.m. the security forces together with local civilians at last managed to get the situation under control.

Report no. 85

Ambon, October 30, 2000

1. SMUGGLING OF WEAPONS - A load of water-melons on the passengership 'Lambelu', which docked at Ambon Yos Soedarso harbour last week, apparently contained 1.300 detonators (devices to trigger explosives).

2. MINOR COMMOTION IN AMBON - During the night between October 28/29, the exploding of several dozens of bombs and grenades were heard in some Ambon muslim neighbourhoods. Perhaps this had to do with some internal conflict of a number of muslims, by which a young man was wounded.

3. THE TWELVE DETAINED LASKAR JIHAD - Though much critized by muslims, nevertheless the military chief commander I Made Yasa maintains that the arrest of 12 Jihad fighters on October 25 (see Report 83 no.3) is fully justified, since they were in possession of weaponry, which is illegal for civilians. Further steps are to be taken by the police who within two weeks have to prepare the indictment to the attorney for further prosecution. Much will depend on the fact whether these twelve were caught either in action (in which case repressive measures will be taken) or in “rest” (in which persuasive measures might be taken). The procedure is still delayed since three of them are still under medical treatment. in hospital. Thus was confirmed to the press by Police chief Firman Gani.

4. KAIRATU - The recent unrest in and around the town of Kairatu on the south coast of Ceram (see Report 82 no. 3 and several earlier reports) has virtually isolated Kairatu from the outside world. According to the secretary of the NGO 'Yayasan Manusela', Mr. Rudy Talahatu, Infantery battalion Yonif 731/Kabaresi did a good job in neutralizing the conflict in a professional way. However only two of the three truckloads of rice that were sent to Kairatu by this NGO, reached Kairatu. The third one, though under protection of two security forces servicemen, was halted by Jihad forces at the muslim village of Gemba. They demanded their share of the rice. A representative of this NGO answered them that the villagers of Gempa would get their share as soon as the Laskar Jihad withdrew from the area. It was not reported how this this incident ended.

Since the residents of Kairatu have no way out to the small anchorages of Waipirit to the west and Kamariang to the east, besides feeling endangered and also lacking food, many of them have sought refuge in the mountains.

5. DOUBT ABOUT STATEMENT FIRST LADY - There is some confusion in Ambon about the statement of First Lady Mrs. Shina Nuriah Wahid, wife of President Gus Dur. She said that in the Moluccas children between the ages of 6 - 12 years are being instructed how to fabricate firearms. She also said that nowadays in the Moluccas girls from 12 upwards are involved in prostitution. There are no visible facts about these things happening. It is just further damaging the already besmirched reputation of the Moluccas.

6. MINISTERS TO VISIT AMBON - Tomorrow, October 31, 13 Ministers of State from Jakarta are scheduled to come to Ambon to observe the situation and condition in the Moluccas.

Report no. 80

Ambon, November 1, 2000

1. MINISTERS’ VISIT TO THE MOLUCCAS - Instead of 13 Ministers (see Report 85 no.6), only 6 Ministers from Jakarta arrived at Laha airport, Ambon, on October 31. Several other officials were with them, among others the Supreme Military Commander, Widodo AS. The deputation was led by the Minister of Political/Social/Security Affairs (MenSosPolKam), Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. They previously had visited Atambua and Kupang (Nusa Tenggara Timur islands), Wamena and Jayapura (Irian/Papua). They arrived at Laha airport at 9.45 a.m. and left at 2.00 p.m. the same day to go on to Ternate (North Moluccas) and the same day further on to Makassar (South Celebes). Their visit to the Province of the Moluccas was restricted to a meeting with local officials at the airport. Of course local population was disappointed that this visit was to be so brief!

2. CLARIFICATIONS AND ASSERTIONS - From the side of the Ministers deputation several assertions were made:
- The Minister of Political/Social/Security Affairs (Mensospolkam), Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, declared that he had ordered the Laskar Jihad in the Moluccas to end all of their activities. He hoped that 'all elements from outside the Moluccas' would leave the area, by which they could be sure of protection by security forces.
- The Minister of Defense, Prof.Dr. Moh.Mahfud MD, acknowlegded having written, before become a Minister, a preface to the second edition of the (especially by the christians) much critized Laskar Jihad Handbook by Rustam Kastor, titled 'Konspirasi Kristen dan RMS Menghancurkan Umat Islam di Ambon-Maluku' (Christian and RMS Conspiration to annihilate the Muslim Community of Ambon-Moluccas). In this preface, he declared, he did not really approve of this booklet, since he had only written that the contents of this book was just a theory, notably one of six possible theories. In this way, he said, he wanted to make known that he disapproved of its contents as far as it offered a clarification of the muslim-christian conflict in the Moluccas.

3. VISIT TO TERNATE - Having arrived at Ternate, the Minister of political/social/security Affairs (Mensospolkam), Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, during a meeting with governor Muhyi Effendie and other officials, confirmed that he had been informed by the local security forces that in the North Moluccas there was still going and coming of provocators, who might have aspirations to continue the conflict. However, generally spoken, the situation in the North Moluccasas was under control, even near to normal, he said.

4. NEGLECTING THE MOLUCCAS? - Both in Ambon and Ternate, Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono repudiated accusations by the population of the Moluccas that the central government allegedly does not pay much interest in the conflict in the Moluccas, compared to short-living conflicts elsewhere, such as in Wamena (Irian/Papua). He retorted that - on the contrary - most attention is paid to the Moluccas, judged by the total of security forces available in the Moluccas as many as 13.000 troops, police forces not included. This is about 40% of all military security forces which are dispatched to the critical areas (Moluccas, Irian, Aceh, Atambua etc.).

5. LONGSHEDS FOR REFUGEES - The provincial Pekerjaan Umum (Public Works) up to now has build in and around Ambon 222 longsheds (barraques) for refugees. According to the chairman of the Town Council, Drs. Y.Papilaya, the quality of these sheds is only fit for animals. If the building of these sheds had been entrusted to the town’s authorities, their quality would have been much better. Sheds that have been (or are being) built by local NGO-s, such as the Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina, in fact are of better quality.

Report no. 87

Ambon, November 3, 2000

1. BURNING OF A VAN - On November 1, on its way from Ambon town to the village of Lateri, a distance of about 8 km, a refuse collector van with 33 year old Julius Diponegoro at the wheel, when passing the Muslim neighbourhood of Batumerah, was thrown at with stones by a group of Muslims, badly wounding the driver. However, Yonif 141 soldiers could free Julius and his two companions, but they could not prevent the van being burned by the mass. A source quoted by 'Siwalima' newspaper, reports that previously the driver had hit somebody with his car.

2. ATTACK ON SULI = On November 2, the village of Suli in the eastern part of the island of Ambon, east of Passo, was attacked for the fourth time. Earlier attacks took place on September 25, September 28 and October 10. This time it was a minor attack on this christian village and could be stopped by security forces in half an hour’s time.

3. CONFISCATION OF WEAPONRY, DRUGS AND ALCOHOLICS - Regular sweeping is carried out by security forces on all incoming ships. On the cargo/passengers ship 'Iramuar', arriving yesterday from Tual (S.E.Moluccas), was found: 325 bullets, 30 ounces of drugs and 1500 liters of alcoholics (locally fabricated so-called 'sopi').

4. The situation in the Kei Islands, part of the Kabupaten (sub-province) of the S.E.Moluccas, is more and more conducive, after violent confrontation between Muslims and Christians in April last year. In Tual, the capital of this Kabupaten, the chairman of the muslim Nahdatul Ulama (NU) group, Haji Yahya Tamher, expressed his feelings of relief, witnessing and experiencing the renewed traditional brotherhood disregarding religion. He also underlined that Christians and Muslims should join forces to forestall any intrusion of Jihad troops in the area. Thus Yahya Tamher stated to 'Siwalima' newspaper reporters on the occasion of some official reception in Tual.

5. During the last few weeks postal service in Ambon, both incoming and outgoing mail, has virtually come to a stand-still. It is not clear for what reason, since airplanes and ships are coming and going almost daily. Anyway, what is turning up now, at last, are letters from somewhere in 1999.

Report no. 88

Ambon, November 4, 2000

1. MUSLIM VS MUSLIM? - We read in masariku@egroups.com that there are various informations and rumours about discordance within the muslim community, such as:
- A splitting up in factions, for instance the BBM group (those who originally come from Buton-Bugis-Makasar), the Hatuhaha group (dominated by Ambonese muslims who originally come from the villages of Pelau and Kailolo on the island of Haruku, which lies immediately east of Ambon), the Leihitu group (a gathering of muslim villages in the northern part of Ambon island). Further a disparity between local jihad warriors and jihads from elsewhere.
- It was reported that the day before yesterday the muslim village of Negeri Lima (also called just Lima) attacked the muslim villages of Ureng and Asilulu at the north-western coast of the island. Reason of this attack is still unknown.

2. DEFILEMENT OF CHURCH - Today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper reports a sad follow-up of the destruction (during September and October) of the christian village of Sirisori Amalatu on the island of Saparua. It has been reported to the governor with carbon copies to Pope John Paul II, the United Nations Board and various other persons and agencies, that in what is left of the Sirisori church building, muslims indulge themselves in irregular sexual activities. This statement was issued on November 3 2000 by the vice village head of Sirisori Amalatu, F.Uktolseja.

3. FUNDS FOR PATTIMURA UNIVERSITY - 80 billion rupiahs (about US $ 9,500,000.-) have been allotted to rebuild the destroyed Campus of the Pattimura University at Poka/Ambon. These funds come from both national and international sources, i.a. from Japan. Thus was confirmed by the Rector of the University, Prof.Dr. Mus Huliselan. He added that this amount was still far from enough. However, building activities can only start if the situation allows it. Meanwhile part of the funds are being spent on development of necessary provisional facilities.

4. PELA GANDONG - There are some frequently used words and expressions in Ambonese of which sometimes people ask what exactly the meaning is of each of these words. For those who are interested we herewith provide a brief explanation.

a) PELA - The word is not to be found in the dictionary. But is known in the whole Moluccas as sort of closeness or togetherness. There may be pela between two villages or also between two areas each consisting of a number of villages. They have a permanent mutual trust in each other, a sincere relation of friendship, which has peculiar consequences such as:
- Marriages between them is not allowed (for they are like brothers and sisters)
- If some disaster occurs to one of them (floods, earthquake, epidemic disease etc.) one (or several) of the others come to help by symbolically destroying the village thus abating the wrath of the gods. On that occasion they are also free to take home any chickens, goats and pigs (which in fact they eagerly do!).

b) GANDONG - Derived from the Indonesian KANDUNGAN which means 'womb'. Herewith is stressed that, sure, they come from one mother.
So PELA-GANDONG means: a very close brotherhood.
There is a popular nostalgic Moluccan song 'Satu hati satu gandong' = 'One heart one womb'.

c) BASUDARA - Derived from Indonesian BERSAUDARA. 'Saudara' = brother/sister/cousin and still farther up. The prefix 'ber' always means 'having'. So 'Basudara' means: having each other as 'saudara' = brotherhood.

d) ALE RASA BETA RASA - the Ambonese word ALE = you; the Ambonese word BETA (stress on the first syllable) = I / me. The Indonesian word RASA = feel. So the meaning is: I feel what you feel. If you have pain, I have no less pain. If you are happy, I am happy too.

How and when will these wonderful traditional practices be restaured again?

Report no. 89

Ambon, November 15, 2000

We have been absent for quite some time. The reasons are:

First: The situation is rather under control.

Secondly: We were infected by the PrettyPark.Worm virus. We suppose to be clean by now, but it is said that a host of other virusses is waiting to intrude, especially trojan and matrix virusses. It could be a deliberate paralyzing from certain quarters. We, though being a victim as well, herewith want to apologize for any inconvenience or damage we brought about to your computer.

1. BRIMOB FORCES TRANSFERRED FROM THE NORTH MOLUCCAS TO AMBON - Considering the North Moluccas to be sufficiently conducive, Police chief commander Firman Gani last week transferred 224 Brimob Police from Ternate and Tidore (Province of the North Moluccas) to Ambon. Most of them are now being assigned in the tense Tial/Suli area, in the eastern part of the island, not far from the village of Passo.

2. CHINESE KILLED - A catholic Chinese merchant, named Benedictus Tanasal (48) was killed on November 8 in the muslim dominated Sam Ratulangi Road (shopping street). He was used to do business with a muslim woman, but this time he seems to have been tricked. Just another indication that any intermingling of christians and muslims is still impossible. However it might be an ordinar criminal act.

3. MISTRUST - Proof of the separateness and mutual mistrust in Ambon is following incident. In the afternoon of November 13, six christian students, five female and one male, asked an off-duty minibus to take them from Manggadua/Pohon Pule to Mardika. However, at the Trikora crossroads the bus turned left instead of turning right, so took the way straight to the Alfatah Mosque. The driver intended to turn right immediately after that, following the Anthoy Rheebock street to Mardika. However the six students panicked and preferred jumping off the riding car to being taken to the muslim quarters. This resulted in two female students being badly injured and one slightly wounded.

4. DISCORDANCE - We already mentioned internal discordance within the muslim community (see Report 88, no.1). But the christians, too, experience internal conflict, especially on the grass roots level. The christian civil 'warriors' of Kudamati are divided in the 'Coker' group and the adherents of Agus Wattimena. 'Coker' is short for Cowo-Cowo Keren (Ambonese, meaning 'Bold Youngsters'). They regularly fight each other, with some houses burned down as a result.

5. VISITORS FROM THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY - The vice ambassador from the Australian Embassy at Jakarta, Mr. Lislie A.Rowe, came to visit Ambon on November 8-9 in order to collect first-hand information about the situation in Ambon/Moluccas. There were meetings with government leaders and religious representatives. We were present at the meeting with about twenty delegates of the Diocese of Amboina on November 9. Mr. Rowe expressed the eagerness of the people of Australia to continue providing help in matters of humanitarian aid and reconciliation. However they should be sure of the competence and trustworthiness of the local NGO-s. Asked by the vice ambassador about priorities in humanitarian aid for the refugees, Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan, chairman of the diocesan Crisis Centre, answered: what is important to them, is: housing, activating them (creating jobs, small business, home-industry etc.) and education/formation for the children.

6. MEGAWATI VISITS KEI- AND ARU ISLANDS - Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri arrived at Ambon airport on Saturday, November 11. She was on her way to Tual, S.E.Moluccas, to preside there at her party’s (PDI Perjuangan) Provincial Conference. During her one hour’s transit at Ambon airport she used the opportunity to have an informal meeting with the local christian and muslim religious leaders and other influential people. She stressed that the conflict in the Moluccas had its origin in the people of the Moluccas, and no effort from outside can bring about real peace. It is the Moluccans themselves who must reconcile one with another. Her vist to the Kei- and Aru-islands was most successful.

7. ADDITIONAL LASKAR JIHAD ARRIVING - We read in 'Siwalima' newspaper that on November 11, another group of Laskar Jihad arrived at Ambon. They had embarked on the Bukit Si Guntang passengership at Surabaya. The group consists of 415 persons, thus bringing the total of Laskar Jihad in the Moluccas at 15.219 persons. They have been dispatched by the Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah. According to the group leader, Muhammad Ghifary, their mission is the same as earlier 'shipments': to assist their fellow muslimin in the Moluccas, specifically in Ambon, Saparua and Ceram, in the fields of enhancing religious practice, social work, physical rebuilding of houses and other facilities, medical care etc. To prove it, they had all kinds of appropriate tools with them (hammers, medicines etc.).


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 100 - 109
(December 2 - 15, 2000)

Report no. 100

Ambon, December 2, 2000

1. CHAOTIC DEMONSTRATION - Led by Laskar Jihad, yesterday at about 11.00 a.m., a mass of muslims, including women, came to the Governor’s Office at Jalan Pattimura to proffer a list of seven complaints and demands, together with several warnings about things that will happen if their demands are not fulfilled, among others that the large Maranatha church (adjacent to the governor’s office) will be destroyed, 'be it at the cost of a thousand muslim lives'. Noticing the disorder among the demonstrators, security forces tried in vain to prevent them from entering the governor’s office compound by firing in the air, which was answered by the mob with throwing of grenades. Onlooking christians were thrown at with stones and bricks, which was answered by them likewise. Then the military started to aim their shooting directly at the demonstrators. In this action two of the protesters were killed and three wounded. At last a delegation of five muslims was allowed to meet the governor and other government officials. There they read and handed to the governor a list of seven complaints and demands. The main complaint handled about the savage way in which recently combined military forces had carried out sweeping on weaponry in the islam village of Gemba (starting from Gemba, muslims had attacked and destroyed the christian town of Kairatu on S.W.Ceram on November 25, see Report 97 no.2), which had allegedly resulted in the death of a child. They demanded this combined military unit to be replaced by neutral military forces. Section-I military commander colonel A.Siswanto should be discharged immediately (an already often repeated demand from the side of the muslims). The governor answered by promising that investigation would be done on what in fact had happened in Gemba. During the rest of the day there was still much commotion and concentration of masses in that neighbourhood. During the night a lot of bombing and shooting could be heard coming from the direction of the neighbourhood of Mardika.

2. VICTIMS IN THE BAY OF AMBON - The muslim casualties during the demonstration at the governor’s office, apparently triggered the muslims’ determination to take revenge. At 2.30 p.m. the large motorboat 'California' crammed with christian passengers, left Gudang Arang anchorage, immediately followed by three or four speedboats with christians. On its way to Galala, this convoy was attacked and shot at with organic weapons by muslims from speedboats and from the shore. 'Siwalima' reports the sad result: among the passengers of the 'California', one person was killed (Mrs. Etji de Lima, 35) and two were wounded. Also the three speedboats had victims: one killed (crew member Berty Malaihollo, 23) and nine wounded. According to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper, among the wounded were three police security forces.

3. RECONCILIATION IN HALMAHERA - Today’s 'Suara Maluku' newspaper reports that the christians and muslims of the region ('Kecamatan') of Sahu on the island of Halmahera have reached an official agreement on the return of the muslims refugees, 465 families or about 2000 persons, to Sahu. Both parties have pledged to keep to a list of nine statements which will guarantee safety for all. Security forces will keep an eye on it.

4. NUMBER OF JIHAD FORCES - It is often asked: 'What is the number of Jihad troops in the Moluccas.' The answer is: nobody knows but the Laskar Jihad themselves. A few days ago the Police Chief Commander, Mr.Firman Gani, said: 800. At the same time the Governor, Mr.M.Saleh Latuconsina, said: 1.300. However the chairman of the protestant-christian attorney team (Tim Pengacara Gereja - TPG) Ambon, Mr. Semmy Waileruny - according to today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper - puts their number at 14.167.

A HUNDRED REPORTS: - This is the hundredth Report we send out. When will the last report be written? - if ever. But we prefer to say with the holy woman Julian of Norwich (1342 - 1416): 'Anything which might happen: it will eventually turn out to one’s benefit'. We are most grateful to all of our subscribers who care to read these brief reports and to share our concern and sorrows, also joining us in their prayers.

Report no. 101

Ambon, December 5, 2000

1. MUSLIM ATTACK ON MARDIKA - Starting early in the morning on Saturday December 2, up to Sunday morning, there was frequent shooting and launching of mortirs from the islam neighbourhood of Batumerah towards the bordering christian neighbourhood of Mardika in Ambon town. Among the christians five young men were wounded, among whom one seriously. Military security forces of Battalion Infantery Yonif 527, however, managed to hold out against these attacks.

2. CONSOLIDATING CHRISTIAN UNITY - All christian denominations in Ambon have convened in establishing a new organisation which was officially promulgated in the large Maranatha Church, Pattimura Street, on Saturday December 2 by the chairman of the Moluccan branch of the PGI (Persatuan Gereja Indonesia = United Churches of Indonesia), Minister Sammy Titaley STh. Its members include various kinds of specialists like academici, lawyers, businessmen, reporters, church leaders and also 'grass roots'. The organisation is called the LKPMKM which stands for Lembaga Koordinasi dan Pengkajian Masyarakat Kristen Maluku = 'Foundation for Coordination and Development of the Christian Community of the Moluccas'. Basic target of the organisation is: responding to actual needs of the people of the Moluccas, particularly in trying to find a solution to the conflict which is actually destroying the Moluccas. It is definitely not meant as a front line against the muslims. On the contrary, its aim is undiscriminately humanitarian for the welfare of all Moluccans. It also intends to enhance mental and spiritual formation activities for christians, promoting justice and honesty, reestablish Moluccan cultural values among the christians, strengthening faith, encouraging activities in the field of economy etc.

3. HUNDREDS OF CAPTIVES - About 600-700 christians from the four recently destroyed villages on the island of Keswui, most of whom catholics, are being held as captives in several local mosques. They are being prepared to become islam, and some 30 of them are said to have been circumcised already (see Report 99 no.4). This was confirmed to the Diocesan Crisis Centre by somebody from Ambon who happened to be at Keswui and had been allowed to leave. He said that the mosques where the christians are being held hostage, are continuously surrounded by muslims, threatening to shoot anybody who wants to escape. The freighter 'Shinta' was sent there by the government with twenty security forces from Masohi on board to evacuate these christians, arriving there in the afternoon of Desember 1. However, they were assured that there was nobody who wanted to be evacuated. So the ship returned empty to Masohi/Amahai. A navy vessel reportedly is being prepared now to free the captives. However, it is very much doubted whether the soldiers will risk a battle with jihad forces to free the captives. No need to say that a grave violation of human rights is going on there.

4. FURTHER RECONCILIATION ON HALMAHERA - Not only the 'Kecamatan' (group of towns and villages) of Sahu (seeReport 100 no. 3), but also three other Kecamatans on West Halmahera, North Moluccas, want to restore normal relations between christians and Muslims, namely the Kecamatans of Jailolo, Ibu and Loloda. It is even said that the now 100% muslim Provincial capital of the North Moluccas, Ternate, wishes the christians to come back. These efforts to make peace are said to come not only from the government but first of all have their origine at a sincere desire of the local population to put an end to the whole conflict.

5. INVOLVEMENT OF POLICE FORCES - As a follow-up of the attack by muslim forces on Kairatu, November 25 (see Report 97 no. 2), 16 Brimob policemen have been detained because they allegedly involved themselves actively in the attack.

Report no. 102

Ambon, December 6, 2000

1. CORRECTION ON THE TOPIC 'HUNDREDS OF CAPTIVES' - see Report 101 no. 3. In yesterday’s Report 101 no. 3 we wrote: "However, they (the twenty soldiers on the freighter ‘Shinta’, arriving at Keswui) were assured that there was nobody who wanted te be evacuated". This 'assured' might be misunderstood. Actually this was a lie: the soldiers were deceived, because all of the captives - of course - wished to leave.

2. AGUS WATTIMENA ON JIHAD PRESENCE - Agus Wattimena (aged about 60), leader of the christian 'grassroots' fighters with headquarters in the neighbourhood of Kudamati, Ambon, accuses the Jihad warriors of having only one objective: the islamisation of Indonesia. They are provoking christians to continue the conflict, thus destroying both christians and moderate muslims. The Moluccas are sort of barometer for them. As soon as the Moluccas are subdued and its ethnic roots eradicated, the rest of Indonesia will be an easy prey. Any reconciliation - according to Agus - will be easy as soon as these radical muslims have left. Allowing their presence in the Moluccas is a criminal act by the Indonesian Government. So what have all christians and muslims of good will to hope for from Indonesia? Why should we remain part of this evil country? - Thus a summary of what we read in this morning’s 'Siwalima' newspaper.

3. LASKAR JIHAD REPORTING ON FOREIGN NGO ACTIVITIES:
On http://www.laskarjihad.or.id (newsletter@laskarjihad.or.id) we read among others (we translate from Indonesian): "The condition in the town of Ambon, which is separated in muslim quarters and christian quarters, causes the christians, whose cowardness and frightfulness and deceiving manners are well-known, to find all kinds of ways of spying on the muslims. To this end they use some foreign agencies, which pretend to have programs of humanitarian aid" It has been proved that these foreign NGO-s, like Medicine Saint Frontiers [meant is Médécins Sans Frontières - MSF) and the ACF are nothing but a web of espionage. Pretending to provide aid, these foreigners take account of the muslims’ capacity, number of residents, their strength and the weakness. They come and go daily driving their luxury new sedan cars, but in fact it is only a little they actually do for the muslims. It is like Islam Teaching says: the infidels will not do anything good to us. They have only bad intentions. So by giving a little, they want to legitimize their presence and be accepted by the muslims. However, al this is mere cheating. Are not we aware of this?"

4. AMBON IN TURMOIL AGAIN - Today, early in the morning (about 4.30 a.m.) a peculiar thing happened. There came a group of about forty christian young men from the neighbourhood of Batumeja Dalam walking down the Pattimura Street. They were brandishing their long knives ('parang') and spears and were singing the Indonesian version of 'Onwards Christian Soldiers'. In front of them walked a female still unemployed protestant minister in official black vestments, carrying a cross. They held this march (people say) because of an apparition or a dream this minister got, urging her to do so. Thus they walked up to the A.J.Patty Street, just inside the muslim quarters. The military came into action, and at last had no choice than aimed shooting, killing one the demonstrators and wounding several others in their legs. The chairman of the Moluccan Protestant Church (GPM), Mr.Sammy Titaley, immediately declared that the Church totally disagreed with this wild action. However, the muslims reacted, and in that bordering area there is a lot of shooting and bombing going on now. Its effect is felt in the whole town.

Report no. 103

Ambon, December 7, 2000

1. 'ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS' (see Report 102 no. 4) - A spokesman of the Information Department of the Civil Emergency at Ambon, Mr. Marthen Luther Djari, declared to the mass media that the uncontrolled action of the forty christian youngsters, marching down A.J.Patty Street towards the Al-Fatah Mosque, centre of muslim activities, in fact was meant to be a peace march. Their intention was to surrender their weapons (longknives & spears) to the military commander of that sector, convinced that the time had come to stop all fighting. However, since they had not informed the sector commander neither the Responsible of the Civil Emergency State (the governor) about their action, it took everybody by surprise. Islam youngsters from Waihaong started to throw stones at them. Some of the christians went hysterical. In the following turmoil nine of the christian youngsters were wounded, one soldier of Yonif 521 was killed, three other soldiers were wounded. The LKPMKM (Lembaga Koordinasi dan Pengkajian Masyarakat Kristen Maluku = 'Foundation for Coordination and Development of the Christian Community of the Moluccas', see Report 101 no.2) has published a statement that this 'ritual action' was perhaps well-meant, but was performed without any coordination with the LKPMKM. However, since they are christians, the LKPMKM expresses its regret and apologizes for this action.

2. UNREST IN THE TOWN OF AMBON - Following the unruly march of the 40 young christians, the whole day long yesterday there was a lot of shooting and bombing in various quarters of the town. Snipers - after the cleaning up of Perigi Lima by the police chief commander (see Report 99 no.3) - moved their activities to other sites of the town. Total death-toll in Ambon yesterday: three killed, twenty wounded, some of whom seriously and may not survive. All night long there was shooting in the neighbourhoods of Ahuru and Karang Panjang and elsewhere in town. Today is quiet.

3. FORCED 'CONVERSIONS' AT KESWUI - The christian hostages at the island of Keswui having the choice between either converting to islam or to be killed, has produced a lot of reactions worldwide. The governor has promised to send there a team of investigation and clarification. The Crisis Centre got the following information from a University student, John Rusin, a resident of Keswui but studying in Ambon. At time of the attack he was at Keswui for a family visit. According to him reports about 50 or even 91 people killed are incorrect. The total number of casualties of the four villages at Keswui is nine, most of them old people who could not get to safety quick enough. As many as 700 christians are now being held captive in local mosques. When the freighter 'Shinta' cast anchor there to evacuate the captives, the muslims said: please go and board the ship, but before you ’ll get there we will kill you. A soldier stationed at Keswui happened to be a relative of this student and mananged to get him free and board the ship.

Note: A total cleaning up of our computer resulted in the unanticipated loss of our e-mail list, which consequently we had to recreate all over. This may have cost the permanent loss of the addresses of some subscribers for which we apologize. Anyone regretting to have missed some of the reports, please let us know.

We also endeavour to put some new addresses on our mailing list of persons and agencies that might be interested in the conflict in the Moluccas. However, if those prefer to be left out, please reply by unsubscribing. To those interested we can provide a complete list of our reports since June 22, 2000 (67 pages).

Report no. 104

Ambon, December 9, 2000

1. FURTHER DETAILS ON THE EVENTS AT KESWUI - Our Crisis Centre has meanwhile met several christians who managed to escape on the freighter 'Shinta' (see Report 101 no.3). A protestant teacher at the catholic elementary school of Wunin, named J. Suitella, told us that the christians who are confined in several mosques on the island, are not being beaten or tortured, at least up to December 1st, when he left. Another told us that a catholic teacher at the elementary school of the islam village of Suat, named Balubun, originating from Kei, was killed because he refused to convert to islam, apparently to set an example for the others. Today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper reports on an interview with a resident of Karlomin (island of Keswui), whose name is Matheus Masan. He was forced to 'convert' to the islam religion on November 26; his name then was changed into Mansyur Masan. He showed the kopiah (specific muslim cap) he had been given on that occasion.

Meanwhile the chairman of our Crisis Centre, Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan, wants to stress, that those witnesses who managed to escape from the island of Keswui, cannot possible know everything was has happened and is happening on the island, since the various locations are separated one from another. So our correction on the number of casualties (see yesterday’s Report sub no. 3) may be wrong after all. There is no report available yet from the investigation team which has been sent to Keswui, which - by the way - consists of muslims only (probably not on purpose, but perhaps the christians simply are scared).

2. POLICEMAN KILLED IN MASOHI - On Decenber 5 a christian policeman named Anggwarmase, was lynched by a mob of muslim youngsters in Masohi, the capital of the Central Moluccas on the South coast of the island of Ceram. It happened at the harbour of Masohi/Amahai when he went there to fetch some personal goods that had been sent to him by ship. His body has not been found yet. This event caused tenseness in and around Masohi.

3. MURDERED SOLDIER FOUND - A soldier who was missing from his unit in the muslim quarters of Waihaong (town of Ambon) since Saturday December 2, had apparently been killed. His body was found a day later in Galunggung, another islam neighbourhood of Ambon.

4. SMALL-SCALE ATTACKS IN AMBON - Every now and then the security forces come into action to cope with small-scale attacks on christian quarters, such as last nigh at Kapaha/Tantui/Galunggung, at the North-East outskirts of Ambon. When there are no casualties, such incidents are usually hardly mentioned or reported upon, but we notice improvement of the watchfulness and neutrality of the security forces.

5. WHY IS THERE NO END TO THE CONFLICT - What causes the conflict to go on and on? Frequently heard causes are (apart from the Jihads presence), among others:

- The governor is said to be insufficiently pro-active, indulging in sort of inertia or passivity;

- The legislative councils, both provincial and municipal, are impotent to cope with the conflict;

- There is no law enforcement, so the law of the jungle is practised, which means revenge upon revenge.

Report no. 105

Ambon, December 11, 2000

1. ATTACK ON ARIATE - The christian village of Ariate, West-Ceram, was attacked by muslim forces, enforced by Jihad troops, on Saturday, December 9, at about 11.00 a.m. There is no information available yet about any damage or casualties, but for one christian being wounded. After several hours the assailants were beaten off by local christians together with the security forces that are stationed there. An additional 30 security forces have been flown in from nearby Kairatu by helicopter to ensure security.

2. ISLAMISATION - Agus Wattimena (aged about 60), leader of the christian 'grassroots' fighters with headquarters in the neighbourhood of Kudamati, Ambon, declared to 'Siwalima' newspaper that it is more and more apparent that in the Moluccas there is a process of islamisation underway. Forced conversions of christians to the islam have been frequent lately, not only on the island of Keswui, but also elsewhere in the central Moluccas. Though it upsets the international community, up to now nothing has been done to stop this process. The ultimate goal seems to be: islamizing the whole Moluccas. Since up to now there are no apparent or visible appropriate measures being taken by the Indonesian government to put a halt to this process, it is likely to be part of a scheme i.e. to change Indonesia into a Muslim state. Well - Agus said - in that case, in the name of our honor and the dignity of our christian identity, we will use any means to baffle the Responsible of the Civil Emergency State. He urges the Moluccan Legislative Council (DPRD) not to close their eyes on this grave violation of human rights. He further said: The protracted conflict which has been going on for almost two years now, proves that Indonesia has no longer any leaders that are to be trusted: "All of them have been contaminated by their desire for personal profit".

3. WITNESS OF ISLAMISATION - Today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper proffers a lengthy interview with a Mrs. Hero Renyaan from Wunin, Keswui. Here is a summary of this lady’s report. After the village of Utha, island of Keswui, was attacked on November 23, three days later it was the turn of Wunin Eldedora to undergo the same fate. We had no chance. All of us fled to the woods. On November 28 our muslim brothers from the village of Tamer Timur came after us to take us - they said - to the mosque of Tanah Baru, where - again they said - 200 christians from Karlomin had gathered already. So full of hope we went with them. Having arrived at Tamer Timur, they collected any weapons that were still in possession of our men and we were divided into two groups: One group (I myself was among them) was led to the mosque of Tanah Baru, whereas the other group was taken to Kelbof. On arriving at the mosque of Tanah Baru, a lot of muslims, including their imams, were awaiting us. Still in front of the mosque a shower of questions was poured upon us by the imams. They said: "By order of the Jihad, now you have come down from the woods, this means that you have to embrace Islam. If you are not willing to do so, we have to separate you from the others and you will be killed". So what were we to do? Some of us started to pray, like: "Lord Jesus, we are Yours. You have chosen us to be Your children. If therefore we have to be killed, so be it". But others said, one to another: "Let us just do it, if only the Holy Spirit’s candle in our hearts will not quench". Mrs. Renyaan was among the latter. In her report nothing was said about anybody in fact holding on his/her christian faith.

4. INVESTIGATION TEAM RETURNED FROM KESWUI - Just now we learned about the arrival baack to Ambon of the investigation team that had been sent to Keswui to compile clarification on the islamisation of local christians. The whole team consisted of muslims but for two catholics, among whom Father Ferry Binsasi SVD, on of the two parish priests of Masohi (Keswui is part of the large parish of Masohi, South Ceram). We have not yet had the opportunity to meet any of these. We will report on it later today or tomorrow.

5. WORKSHOP OF CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS IN YOGYAKARTA - A meeting of Moluccan christians and muslims was held in Yogyakarta, Java, on December 4 - 11, 2000. Both groups were composed of about fifty representatives. It was the third meeting of the kind and was meant to pave the way for a genuine reconciliation between the two conflicting parties in the Moluccas. Reporters from two Ambon newspapers, 'Siwalima' (christian) and 'Ambon Expres' (muslim), were present. too. Earlier meetings had been held last August and October. The delegates agreed to the following five items:
(1) Starting of dialogue among the Moluccans,
(2) The establishing of two neutral zones in Ambon to facilitate economy and education,
(3) Protection of these two areas by local residents themselves as a Peace Keeping Force,
(4) Action 'Baku Bae' = Being of Good Will, for whole Indonesia,
(5) Guaranteeing justice to be done in the whole Moluccas.
Also was called for a People’s Dialogue ('Musyawarah Rakyat') to be organized in the Moluccas in April 2001. The result of this workshop should be spread and promoted worldwide. Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono X of Yogyakarta, who was also present at this workshop, wrote his directive on a white piece of cloth: "Restoring Peace is the Plead of Everybody’s Inner Voice". He said that restoring peace in the Moluccas can only be done by the Moluccans themselves, but the first step should be done through a clean intermediary team.

Report no. 106

Ambon, December 12, 2000

1. VILLAGES ON TEOR ATTACKED - At the eastern tip of the island of Ceram, in south-eastern direction, lies a string of little islands, among others Geser, Gorong, Keswui, Teor, Kurmangur and Tayando, thus geographically linking Ceram with the Kei Islands. On the island of Teor (also spelled 'Tior' or 'Teur') there are six christian villages, all of them catholic, except one mixed catholic/protestant. One of our Crisis Centre members, Father Fred Sarkol MSC, is stationed at the Kei-islands and has first-hand information from refugees who are arriving daily now from the island of Teor. We summarize a six page fax message from him to our Crisis Centre, dated December 11, as follows.

Due to the sad events on the neighbouring island of Keswui, the situation on Teor was growing tense during these last weeks. Christians started to leave for the Kei-islands on small vessels, some of which have arrived safely, others, however, have not and maybe got lost.

On Desember 8 Mrs. Paulina Kolatlena, the minister of the protestant community of Rumoy, was told by a muslim she had better convert to islam. Other christians were also told they should do so, according to a catholic named Emerikus Rahayaan. In that way they would save their lives. They were told that in several other villages, catholics had converted already and were now staying in the islam village of Mamur. Thus was reported to Fr.Fred Sarkil by Paulina and Emerikus after their arriving at Langgur. They further said that the residents of the christian villages of Rumoy and Kerker had noticed the arrival of five boats at the islam village of Kilwow, island of Teor, thus accelerating the exodus of christians from Teor, even paddling sampans.

At 5.00 p.m.on Desember 11, two refugees from Teor, Ais Rumatora and Otniel Kolatlena, talked via the radio of the Forest Administration Office at Tual, with a Victor Rumagiar on Teor. Victor reported that the catholic villages of Korfutin and Korlokin had been attacked by muslims, starting on Sunday December 10, at 7.00 a.m. On Monday up to 5.00 p.m. the attack was still underway. Victor said that among the attackers there two casualties. Of these two villages many houses have been burned down and destroyed. He urged to send in additional security forces to help them to hold on.

2. ISLAMIZATION OF KESWUI - On this item we prefer to postpone any information. Learning their report, we must conclude that the mission of the seven member investigation team, sent by the governor, was a failure. The team - after adding some more members - will leave again for Keswui immediately.

3. RESIDENTS OF WAESOAR MISSING - According to today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper, only now has been reported the missing of 123 residents of Waesoar, a village in the northern part of the large island of Buru, west of Ambon island. Muslim attacks on this small village were carried out as early as February 12 and April 24, 2000. After hiding in the woods for four months in most distressing circumstances, 24 families (96 persons) could at last join fellow christians in the relatively safe village of Labuan, but up to now the fate or 123 other residents of the village is unknown. Thus was declared to the Protestant Advocacy Team and to 'Siwalima' by the village head. He added that they never had any help from the government.

4. VICE PRESIDENT MEGAWATI TO VISIT THE NORTH MOLUCCAS - Together with several State Ministers, Vice President Mrs.Megawati Soekarnoputri will visit the Province of the North Moluccas next December 24. She will sign the official charter of reconciliation in the village of Mamuya, where two conflicting areas border, namely Galela and Tobelo. She will also visit various other places on the island of Halmahera, and also the islands of Tidore and Bacan.

Report no. 107

Ambon, December 13, 2000

1. LASKAR WEBSIDE BLOCKED - The offical Website of 'Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah' www.laskarjihad.or.id has been blocked by Indosite (Indonesia Website Services). It is thought that this measure has been taken because of provoking messages on that site.

2. INVESTIGATION TEAM SENT TO KESWUI AGAIN - Today for the second time an investigation team will leave for Keswui (see yesterday’s Report No. 2). This time muslims, protestants and catholics are proportionally represented in this team. Also the Department of Religion is represented. The governor acknowledged to the press that the task of this team is difficult. He added that, if this team, too, failed in its mission, other steps will be taken. He did not specify, however, what steps would be taken.

3. THREAT TO OCCUPY THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE - The christians of Rumahtiga, on the northen shore of the Bay of Ambon, where the bay narrows opposite Galala, saw their large village destroyed together with the adjacent village of Poka and the Campus of the Pattimura University on July 4, 2000 (see Report No. 8 etc.). These christians are now threatening the Governor, M.Latuconsina, that they will come with their whole lot of 7.016 refugees and occupy the large Governor’s Office building at the Pattimura Street in Ambon and also the Baileo Rakyat building in Karang Panjang. Previously the Governor had promised that before Christmas and Idulfitri, the Poka/Rumahtiga site would be secure. Now the villagers demand the governor to hold to his promise enabling christians and muslims to celebrate Christmas (December 25-26) and Idulfitri (December 27-28) in Rumahtiga. If the governor proves not to be able to comply with this demand, he Indonesian Government must be asked to allow intervention of ASIAN Police Forces to restore security in the Moluccas and specifically in Rumahtiga. If this demand will not be fulfilled either, they will ask the governor permission to recover the site 'in their own way'.

4. FLOATING SECURITY STATIONS - The Navy is establishing ten floating security stations in the Bay of Ambon, to ensure safe passage for speedboats and other watercraft. Overland routes are still hazardous. All watercraft that operates in the bay, from now on is given a registration number by the Navy.

Report no. 108

Ambon, December 14, 2000

1. REBUILDING OF PATTIMURA UNIVERSITY - The Rector Magnificus of the Pattimura University, Prof. Dr. Mus Huliselan, confirms that rebuilding of the Pattimura University Campus is planned to start in 2001. The Japanese government has allotted 140 billion rupiah ( US$ 16,000,000.-) to this purpose. The University is situated in Poka, at the opposite side of the Bay of Ambon. It was destroyed by muslim masses in the beginning of July 2000 (see Report 8).

2. ISLAMISATION - The coordinator of the protestant-christian advocacy team (Tim Pengacara Gereja - TPG) Ambon, Mr. Semmy Waeleruny, declared to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper, that since the conflict in the Moluccas started, January 19, 1999, at least 5.948 christians have been forced to 'convert' to islam. Main locations of this practice are the islands of Bacan (North Moluccas), North Buru, Bula and surrounding villages on N.E.Ceram, Tehoru and surrounding villages on South Ceram, and, recently, Keswui, a little island S.E. of Ceram. Not included are the 123 missing villagers of Waesoar, who may have undergone the same fate (cf. Report 106, no.3), and the christians of the island of Teor, next to Keswui, whose islamisation is underway at this very moment. Mr. Paulus Widiyanto, member of Parliament in Jakarta, yesterday declared to 'Siwalima' newspaper in Ambon, that the Keswui tragedy is totally not known by the Parliament. He is somewhat surprised that up to now there has not yet been issued an official statement either by the Protestant Churches or by the Roman Catholic Church. The chairman of the Crisis Centre, Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan has sent out an urgent appeal to convents and catholic communities to hold prayer meetings for the victims of Keswui and Teor.

3. WEAPONRY CONFISCATED - After on November 29 a large quantity of weapons and ammunition was confiscated on the passengership 'Dobonsolo' when it docked in Ambon, yesterday - again - an even larger quantity of weaponry was found on the same ship. Among others there were: 4.691 M-16 bullets, 800 Short Range RB-1 bullets, 344 CPMJ bullets, 173 Alexei Kalesnikov bullets. Further: 12 detonators, 134 bullets FN, 500 gram TNT, Iron Oxide Red, Oxide Las, Magnesium Sulfat etc. Both the sender and the addressed are unknown. It is being investigated whether this perhaps might belong to TNI-people who had in mind to sell all this stuff for personal or group profit.

4. IS EVACUATION THE RIGHT WAY? - Vice Deacon of the Law Faculty of the Pattimura Universtity, Mr. George Leassa, wonders whether evacuation of the threatened party whenever there is conflict, is the correct way. Having been evacuated, will there be a time they can go back to their patrimony? He very much agrees with the steadfast demand of the christians of Rumahtiga to be enabled to return to their village (see yesterday’s Report no.3).

Report no. 109

Ambon, December 15, 2000

1. From many sides our reports meet much appreciation, perhaps because they are concise, do not use abusive language, and restrict themselves to merely providing information on facts without any commentary.

We can understand however that outsiders are often puzzled, which to believe: the reports of the Crisis Centre and of websites such as www.maluku.org/hain and www.egroups.com/group/masariku or - on the other hand - the reports that are spread by the Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah ( www.laskarjihad.or.id ). The reader might possibly be guided by noticing slanderousness of language or by ostensibly false accusations, such as the allegation from the side of the jihads that christians are RMS separatists. Everybody knows that since the early sixties there has not been any RSM movement any more in the Moluccas. Besides, RMS in the Moluccas was always restricted to the Lease Islands only (the island of Ambon and its small neighbours to the east). And if there are any separatists here, well that is none of the jihads’ business: the government will take care of that. Do they fight separatism in Aceh and Papua?

2. In this context we read on laskarjihad@mailandnews.com, December 12 2000, about the conflict on the island of Keswui/Kasui (we quote just a small part of it). 'Church Liars Team Lying Again'. On November 27 the RMS christians of Kasui launched a surprise attack. This aroused a jihad fighting spirit among the local residents [why should this christian minority launch an attack on their ethnic brothers?]. These christians got international sympathy. The Church Advocacy Team [TPG in Ambon] managed to make the residents of Kasui that had feigned to convert to islam and were evacuated on the freighter 'Shinta', report to the Human Rights Commission in Ambon, that grave violation of human rights was underway on Kasui... As soon as the christians were cornered and defeated, their (protestant) minister hastened to flee to safety. That was an eye-opener for the christians to realize the rottenness of the christian religion and its minister, and they preferred to go over to islam [Mind: the majority of the local christians is catholic!]. However, the christian militia of Kasui was so fraudulent that - when interviewed by the Colonial Dutch Radio [meant is Radio Nederland Wereldomroep / Dutch Radio World Service] - they said that they had been forced to convert to islam, because their lives were being threatened... [Thus the twisting of facts goes on and on. For what really happened, see our reports starting at Report 96].

3. On the other hand the cause of the Moluccas is not promoted either by exaggerating the other way round. Today via internet we and others were invited to sign a petition, created by the 'Australian Peace Committee', to Mrs.Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and H.E. Kofi Annan, Secretary General United Nations, in which is said that '23.000 Indonesian soldiers backed by 30.000 Laskar Jihad mercenaries and some hundreds of Taliban mercenaries are waging a full-scale war against the innocent Moluccan people... Moluccans report that 40.000 of their people have been killed and thousands more injured" Etc. We very much appreciate the world’s concern, but are not helped by such exaggerations, which - of course - will simply be put aside by those addressed, since they are too clever to believe such nonsense.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 110 - 119
(December 16 , 2000 - January 3, 2001)

Report no. 110

Ambon, December 16, 2000

1. INVESTIGATION ON THE ISLAND OF KESWUI - The forced islamization of the christians on the island of Keswui, a tiny island South-East of the large island of Ceram, central Moluccas, attracks worldwide attention. So the Governor of the Moluccas, as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State, decided to send an investigation team there. It carried out its investigation on December 8-10. This team consisted of two government representatives, two human rights delegates, one newsreporter (Antara), one local NGO representative and the parish priest of Masohi, Keswui being part of the large parish of Masohi. But for this priest and the NGO representative, all members were muslims. They went to Keswui by ship on Desember 8, together with 31 military and 1 policeman.

* PREPARATION. The team had prepared a questioner with the following questions:

(1) Are you in healthy condition? Yes / No

(2) What is your religion at this moment?

(3) Is the religion you adhere now, according to your personal choice? Yes / No

(4) If 'No', why:

- Is it because you feel your life is endangered?

- Is it because you are forced to it by other people?

- Is it because you just follow others?

(5) Do you want to leave Keswui? Yes / No

(6) Have you anything to add?

(7) Have you answered these questions under pressure from outside? Yes / No

* THE RESULT. Only a small minority could be questioned. All victims said that they had become islam of their own free will. They also said they did not wish to be evacuated from Keswui. Since the honesty of these answers was doubted, another more representive team was sent to Keswui (see Report 107, No. 2).

2. RENEWED INVESTIGATION ON THE ISLAND OF KESWUI - This second investigation team reports - while still in Keswui - to the Protestant Maranatha Advocacy Team in Ambon, that also this second mission may turn out to be a failure. About a hundred christians have already been brought to the ship (the freighter Mentari II), where they are to be questioned. No wonder the local laskar jihad protest vigorously against this method, and at the same time the remaining christians feel more and more threatened. The Advocacy Team has urged the governor to send there additional security forces at once by helicopter. It also accuses the governor of creating unwanted escalation of tenseness by such unprofessional handling of this case. In this way it is rapidly becoming a major issue in the international news media, and the Indonesian government may not refuse international intervention any more. Thus we read in today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper.

3. EARLIER FORCED CONVERSIONS - 'Siwalima' newspaper reports on christians having been forced to 'convert' to islam on South Halmahera island, in the village of Doro. Mrs.Nilda Adrian reported to 'Siwalima' yesterday that she and her younger sister Ratna Tempumona managed to escape from Doro elsewhere and at last to Ambon 8 months ago, saving themselves from being islamized. On December 18, 1999, muslim masses had destroyed their village. Its residents had fled to the woods. However, on December 22 they had been rounded up and consequently received instruction in islam teaching. The following day the 23 families had been circumcised. Only the two of them had managed to escape, she said in tears.

Report no. 111

Ambon, December 18, 2000

1. REFUGEES FROM BACAN ON RECONCILIATION - A spokesman of the christian refugees from the island of Bacan (North Moluccas), Mr. M.Tiven, informed 'Siwalima' newspaper about their disappointment concerning the government’s handling of their situation. Months ago they had to evacuate from their island and sought refuge in Kairatu, South Ceram. Some weeks ago they had to flee again saving themselves in the woods, because Kairatu was attacked and partly destroyed. They are cautiously coming back to Kairatu now, but urgently call on the government either for protection against any renewed attacks or for evacuation elsewhere. Commenting on the planned reconciliation on Bacan in the presence of Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri next December 23, he said that this would be a misleading reconciliation, since there are only muslims left on the island but for some christians living in longsheds in the village of Babang on Bacan.

2. MEETING POPE JOHN-PAUL II - On Saturday December 16, Msgr. P.C.Mandagi, bishop of Amboina, returned from his mission to Rome/Vatican, where he met Pope John-Paul II and had the opportunity to inform His Holiness about the situation in the Moluccas, paying special attention to the recent forced conversions of christians who had to embrace islam in order to save their lives on the islands of Keswui and Teor.

3. INVESTIGATION TEAM RETURNS FROM KESWUI - The second investigation team that was sent to Keswui on December 13 to investigate on any forced conversions of christians (see Report 107 No. 2) arrived back in Ambon last midnight. They brought with them 41 catholics from the village of Karlomin, Keswui island, and about 70 catholics from the neighbouring island of Teor. Besides there were also 17 protestant christians from Keswui. Most of all these refugees are women and children. At 2.00 a.m. this morning they arrived at the Sacred Heart Church complex of Batugantung, Ambon town to stay there as refugees. About one thousand more should have come with them, but were somehow prohibited to be evacuated. A more detailed report will be provided in our next report.

S.O.S. Appeal 19/12/2000

 

Report no. 112

Ambon, December 20, 2000

1. PRAYER AND FASTING - Yesterday the 21 christian denominations in Ambon held a day of mourning, repentance and prayer. It was a day of fasting and abstinence, abstaining also from daily work. A similar action had already earlier been done on September 26, 2000.

2. CORRECTION - Msgr.Mandagi MSC, Bishop of Amboina, informed us that during his recent visit to Vatican City (see Report 111 no. 2), he did not meet the Pope personally, he only met the Pope in general audience. Whom he met personally was the head of the Congregation of the Evangelization ('Propagatio Fidei'), Cardinal Josep Tomko.

3. MSGR. MANDAGI DEMANDS THE KESWUI CHRISTIANS TO BE FREED - On December 18 Monseigneur P.C.Mandagi MSC, bishop of Amboina, went to the Sacred Heart Church complex at Batugantung/Ambon to meet the recently freed christians from Keswui. He declared to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper that he insisted to both the local government and the Indonesian government that immediate steps must be taken to free those christians who are still being confined on Keswui and meanwhile have been forced to embrace islam. If not, he will call out a fierce protest to the world. He said: "I have no weapons but my moral influence, by which I will call on President Abdurrahman Wahid, and if he does not heed this appeal, I will call on the United Nations and the international community." He beseeched the endangered christians of Keswui not to be afraid to inform everybody, including reporters, about what is happening to them.

4. DETAILS ON INVESTIGATION IN KESWUI - In our Report 106, no. 2 we reported on the result of the mission to Keswui of the first investigation team. It was sent there by the governor and did investigation on December 9-10. The catholic priest who was with the team, Fr. Ferry Binsasi SVD, on his return, declared:

Having arrived at the village of Utta, the (former) christians were gathered on an open space in the middle of the village, in order to answer the questioner. Of the 165 victims that were held in Utta, only 51 could be questioned. The others were absent for whatever reason. (The questioner is to found in our Report 110, no.1).

Next location was the village of Tanah Baru. The (former) christians were gathered in one of the houses, in the presence of local leaders. Of the 311 people, only 98 could be questioned. The others were absent.

The three other locations could not be visited due to lack of time.

All victims said that they had become islam of their own free will. They also said they did not wish to be evacuated from Keswui.

EVALUATION: The mission was to be considered a failure, because:

The composition of the team was not proportional (5 muslims, 2 catholics, no protestants).

The questioning of the (former) christians was not carried out in a secluded location, their answers could be heard straight away by the muslim onlookers. This, of course, hampered those questioned to answer freely. Apparently they were frightened, which was obvious by the way they proffered their answers: some answered while trembling all over, others answered in tears, others furtively shot their eyes to the left and the right before answering, etc. They already knew what on December 1st had happened to two protestant teachers, named E.Rumatora and David Balubun, who had been abducted by the muslims and consequently been killed in a neighbouring village because they had refused to abjure their christian religion.

There had been no appropriate protection during the questioning.

Only a minority of the victims had been questioned.

It was then decided that a second investigation would be sent, which has taken place meanwhile.

Report no. 113

Ambon, December 20, 2000 (second Report today)

RESULT OF THE INVESTIGATION AND EVACUATION BY SPECIAL TEAM, SENT TO KESUI and TEOR on December 13, 2000

Summary of the written report by Rev. Agus Laritembun, R.C.Priest, member of the team representing the Diocese of Amboina

1. CARRYING OUT THE MISSION - The team that was dispatched by the Governor of the Province of the Moluccas, in his function as Responsible for the Civil Emergency State, to the islands of Kesui and Teor on December 13, 2000, consisted of delegates representing The National Commission of Human Rights, the Department of Religion (Islam, Protestant, Catholic), delegates of the Protestant Religion and the Catholic Religion, 'Grass Roots', Reporters and Security Forces.

Their assignment was to carry out investigation and evacuation, in connection with numerous allegations that force islamisation of christians was taking place on these two islands.

The first site to be visited was the village of TANAH BARU on the island of Kesui on December 15. Almost two-thirds of the christians who had already confessed to the islam, could be retrieved and brought to the ship for questioning and dialogue. It was assumed that on this neutral location, the questioning could take place unhampered by the presence of muslims. However, immediately after their coming on board, turmoil erupted on the shore. Fearing for the lives of their family members that had been left behind, they chose get off the ship again immediately.

This initial failure did not disencourage the team to go and visit the the other places where christians were held, namely Kelbuta, Kelbo, Suar, Amarlaut, Guliar, Utha and the island of Teor. From al those places could be evacuated a total of 172 people, consisting of 7 muslims, 18 protestants and 147 catholics.

2. EVALUATION - Father Agus Laritembun evaluates this mission as follows:

a) The circumstances under which these christians had 'chosen' to become islam, can be summarized as follows: their villages destroyed / their possessions looted / their crops and fruit trees destroyed / being under permanent threat of being slaughtered. The choice to become islam under such circumstances cannot be called 'free'.

b) The local muslim village heads assured the investigation team that there was no need to bring their christian captives on board of the ship, since they were safe in these villages. In some cases - specifically in Kelbuta and Kelbo - while the christians walked to the shore to be brought to the ship for questioning, women and children were withheld to come along. Being questioned on the ship, fearing for the lives of their wives and children on the shore, quite a lot pronounced their wish to adhere to their new religion (islam). Those who had already got on the ship and wanted to be evacuated, were not allowed to go back to fetch some simple belongings.

c) The ship was meant to be a neutral place for questioning. However, the security forces did not take appropriate measures to prevent muslims getting on the ship freely. Anybody could board the ship.

d) When the ship anchored off the village of Tanah Baru, a laskar jihad leader, Ibrahim Lamade, having boarded the ship, returned to the shore, telling the people that the situation on the ship was out of control, which was totally untrue, thus causing turmoil on the shore.

e) The christians that could be questioned in a sealed off location on the ship, acknowledged that they had become islam solely because they had no choice than saying so in order to save their lives. Those who were questioned so that they could be overheard or witnessed by muslims, confessed that they had chosen to convert to islam "of their own free will". This is rather astonishing, since the christian religion has had adherents on Kesui since 107 years already. It is hardly to believe that suddenly so many of them want to go over to islam.

3. TEOR: Kesui’s neighbour island is the tiny island of Teor. On Teor 140 catholics of two villages, Kartutin and Karlokin have already been islamised. They were forced to it by muslims who chased them and brought them to an islam village, where they were been islamised immediately.

GENERAL CONCLUSION: This team - again - failed in its mission. There seems to be left only one way to save the christians of Keswui and Teor: a full-sccale evacuation of all christians by neutral military forces.

Report no. 114

Ambon, December 21, 2000

1. CONFLICT IN MASOHI - Masohi, on the south coast of Ceram, is the capital of the regency of the Central Moluccas. Conflict flared up again there at about midnight yesterday, December 20. 'Suara Maluku' newspaper reports that a small motorboat with three christian fishermen was shot at off the shore at Amahai, the anchorage site of Masohi. The shooting came from a speedboat that is thought to belong to people from the village of Amahai Islam. Two of the fishermen escaped safely to the shore. The third is missing. The christians of Amahai retaliated by burning a muslim minibus, abducting the driver and consequently killing him, and seriously injuring two others (burned together with the car): a military and a 16 years old boy. The muslims then took revenge by burning the protestant Zebaoth Church and the Protestant GPM community building of Masohi.

2. FURTHER NEWS ON KESWUI and TEOR - According to paroecial statistics, the total number of catholics on the islands of Keswui and Teor is 1400. The catholic villages of Rumalussy and Kerker on Teor are reported to have hold out against the muslims up to now. Inside information reports that 29 residents of Rumalussy, who had fled by speedboat, have been caught by muslims and taken to Kewui as hostages in order to force Rumalussy to surrender. It is said that there are no outside laskar jihad involved in the events on Keswui and Teor, just laskar jihad from the neighbouring islands of Gorong (Gorom) and Geser.

3. FORCED ISLAMISATION ACKNOWLEDGED - Governor M.Saleh Latuconsina as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State has acknowledged to the newsmedia that no longer can be denied that forced islamisation has taken place on the islands of Keswui and Teor. He told so after meeting with the recently returned investigation team and after personally meeting with a number of newly arrived refugees from both islands. He promised to do his utmost best to evacuate all of the christians; only after that would be decided what legal measures would be taken against those violators of human rights. He further said that earlier reports about 93 christians having been killed there, were not true. Those killed number only 9 people, he said.

Report no. 115

Ambon, December 22, 2000

1. CONFLICT IN THE NORTH MOLUCAS - During the last few days on the Jihad Communication Forum Ahlus Sunnah Wal’ Jamaah website there is much talk about a serious incident which occurred on December 8, but hardly was reported about in local 'christian' newsmedia. Today’s christian oriented 'Suara Maluku' newspaper reports on this event and its follow-up. It is said that on December 8 the (muslim) motorboat 'Hasil Karya-2' was attacked by the (christian) motorboat 'Jenny-II' off the coast of North Halmahera, near the island of Kahatola. In this incident the seven crew members and also 40 civilians from the villages of Tobotobo and Dama-Loloda were killed. The Jenny-II is thought to have subsequently sailed to Manado. On December 21 several dozens of muslims held a demonstration at the Governor’s Office in Ternate, demanding to clarify this sad event. The demonstration, however, got out of control and the security forces had to restore order when the demonstrators tried to force their way into the building, resulting in injuring some of the demonstrators.

2. JIHAD REPORTS DENY FORCED ISLAMISATION - Reading laskarjihad@mailandnews.com a 'bunch of priests' (segerombolan pastor) is accused of obstructing the free choice of the Keswui and Teor christians to become islam. They are said to intimidate the about 600 christians, mainly catholics, who of their own free will had decided to follow the islam religion. However only 170 of the 'mualaf' (neo-converts) paid heed to this 'poisoning intimidation' and those were not autochtone residents of these two islands, but newcomers from the island of Saparua [Mind: on the whole island of Saparua there is not one catholic to be found - all christians there are protestants!].

3. CIRCUMCISION - Refugees from Keswui confirm to 'Siwalima' newspaper that the circumcising of the hundreds of christians on Keswui was carried out using a razor blade ('Gilette'), causing infection to several of them. Women, too, were circumcised, they said.

Report no. 116

Ambon, December 23, 2000

Greetings and information

1. SEASON’S GREETINGS - The Bishop of Amboina, Msgr. P.C.Mandagi MSC, on the occasion of Christmas and Idul Fitri, herewith wants to express his sincere gratitude to all those who care for the Moluccan tragedy and hopes you will continue to pray and enhance activities for reconciliation, justice and peace in the Moluccas. To all readers of this bulletin he sends his best wishes for a blessed and peaceful Christmas and Idul Fitri. May the Lord bestow His Blessing upon all of you who are of Good Will.

2. GREETINGS FROM THE CRISIS CENTRE - The chairman and members of the Diocesan Crisis Centre equally send you best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a peacefuyl Idul Fitri. We send our regular messages to 330 direct subscribers and also to those who care to open websites such as Masariku, Hain, Lawamena, Pax Christi, Caritas etc. which are so kind as to spread our regular bulletins.

We are grateful for the many reactions we receive by email, at an average of some twenty mails a day. We try and answer as many as we can. If, however, we neglect replying or confirming received messages, we apologize and will try to avoid any disappointment in future.

3. WEBSITE - Special thanks to Mr. Joh.Scholz for guiding us to an interesting website, which - among others - recently published an impressive 25-items way of solution to the conflict. No wonder when one sees the personalities who endorse this website. See http://www.intl-crisis-group.org

Report no. 117

Ambon, December 25, 2000

1. CHURCH LEADERS’ PROCESSION - On Saturday, December 23, about 500 Church Leaders of all christian denominations expressed their concern on the unrest which has been going on in the Moluccas for almost two years now, and especially on recent islamisation on the islands of Kesui and Teor. The black robed protestant ministers and their church council members, also in traditional black, dominated the spectacle. The procession started at the St.Francis Xavier parish building on Pattimura Street and ended some 400 meters farther at the Maranatha Church on the same street, where a oecumenical worship was held. The sermon was delivered by Bishop P.C.Mandagi MSC, whereas a lengthy and impressive testimony was pronounced by one of the Kesui victims. A delegation went to the governor’s building (just across the street) to hand a signed manifesto to the governor requesting to effectuate any legal way to put an end to the conflict. It was stated that in fact the governor had failed in his task as the Responsible of the Civil Emergency. Any endeavour to replace the current ideology of the Republic of Indonesia ('Pancasila') by another ideology was to be vigorously rejected. It was demanded to restore justice, especally bringing to justice the instigators of the violence. He also should take strategical steps to return all refugees to their own locations under protection of security forces.

2. VICE PRESIDEN VISITS THE NORTH MOLUCCAS - On December 23-24 Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Mrs. Megawati Soekarnoputri, visited several places in the Province of the North Moluccas. Witnessing the total destruction of the village of Susupu, island Halmahera, she could not help crying, and she affirmed to the assembled refugees, that the tears she had already shed because of the Moluccas might fill a 'bak' (bathtub). She said, according to Antara National News Agency: "The houses have been destroyed, people have to stay in plastic covered sheds, many children have become orphans and cannot go to school... The government builds longsheds, but within a month these, too, are destroyed by the conflicting parties". She promised some time in future she would come back to Susupu, to dance and sing with the people, for one day peace will be restored. The Governor of the North Moluccas, Mr. Muhyi Effendie replied that the two conflicting groups already were determined to make peace, so that all of the village residents could come back to their ancestral homestead. Megawati also visited the villages of Soasiu, Malifut, Tobelo and Galela on the island of Halmahera and the island of Bacan.

3. CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS - As far as we know, all religious celebrations on the island of Ambon on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day went along undisturbed.

4. THANK YOU - Monseigneur P.C.Mandagi MSC, bishop of Amboina, herewith wishes to express his gratefulness for the many Christmas greetings and encouraging words - especially those from Austria that came in in large numbers - assuring him of care and prayers for the well-being of the people in the Moluccas. Reciprocally he sends his sincere wishes for a blessed and happy Christmas & Idul Fitri and a good beginning of the New Year to all those who share his concern with the Moluccas.

Note: A recently recorded reportage on Ambon and on the Kei Islands will be broadcasted by Dutch EO-Television on December 27.

Report no. 118

Ambon, December 29, 2000

A. THE PROCESS OF ISLAMISATION ON THE MOLUCCAS ISLANDS OF KESUI AND TEOR
Summary based on clarification by eye-witnesses.

1. START OF THE UNREST - For whatever reason, on November 23-26, christians of the island of Kesui, a tiny island between the eastern tip of Ceram and the Kei Islands, unexpectedly were attacked by joined muslim jihad militias, mainly from the neighbouring islands of Geser and Gorong. The about 2000-3000 assailants attacked and burned each day a different village: Utta, Karlomin, Wunin and Tanasoa. At least 9 residents, most of them from Karlomin, were killed.

2. ISLAMISATION - Some of the christians managed to escape by boats to the neighbouring island of Teor or further on to the Kei Islands. Others fled to the woods. On November 28 their muslim brothers from Kesui came after them and took them to several mosques. On arriving at those mosques, a lot of muslims, including their imams, were awaiting them. They said: ‘By order of the Jihad, now you have come down from the woods, this means that you have to embrace Islam. If you are not willing to do so, we have to separate you from the others and you will be killed’.

3. ATTACK ON TEOR - On the neighbouring small island of Teor there are six christian villages, all of them catholic, except one mixed catholic/protestant. Learning about the sad events on the island of Kesui and seeing from afar the burning of villages, many christians of Teor started to leave for the Kei-islands on small vessels. Individual muslims told the remaining christians that they had better immediately come over to the islam religion in order to save their lives. It is reported that in fact 140 catholics of two villages, Kartutin and Karlokin surrendered to be islamised. On December 10-11, Kartutin and Korlokin were attacked and conquered by muslims. Among the attackers there were to be noticed former christians, turned muslim. Of these two villages many houses were burned down and destroyed.

4. FIRST ATTEMPT OF EVACUATION - Initially the freighter 'Shinta' was sent to Kesui by the government with twenty security forces from Masohi (capital of Ceram) on board in order to evacuate the christians. It arrived there in the afternoon of December 1. However, they were assured by the jihads, that 'there was nobody who wanted to be evacuated'. This was ostensibly a lie. Lacking sufficient armed forces, the ship returned, without bringing refugees, to Masohi/Amahai.

5. SECOND ATTEMPT - The Governor of the Moluccas, as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State, then decided to send an investigation team there, which also should evacuate those who wanted to be evacuated. This team carried out its investigation on December 8-10. It consisted of two government representatives, two human rights delegates, one newsreporter, one local NGO representative and Father Ferry Binsasi, parish priest of Masohi. But for this priest and the NGO representative, all members were muslims. They went to Kesui on a freighter on Desember 8, together with 31 military and 1 policeman. The mission was to be considered to be a failure, because:

- The composition of the team was not proportional (5 muslims, 2 catholics, no protestants).

- The questioning of the (former) christians was not carried out in a secluded location, their answers could be heard straight away by the muslim onlookers. This, of course, hampered those questioned to answer freely. Apparently they were frightened, which was obvious by the way they proffered their answers. They already knew what on December 1st had happened to two protestant teachers, named E.Rumatora and David Balubun, who had been abducted by the muslims and consequently been killed in a neighbouring village because they had refused to abjure their christian religion.

- Only a small minority could be questioned. All victims said that they had become islam of their own free will. They also said they did not wish to be evacuated from Kesui. Since the honesty of these answers was doubted, another more representive team had to be sent to Kesui.

6. THIRD ATTEMPT - This time muslims, protestants and catholics were proportionally represented in the team. Represented were the Government, the Department of Religion, the National Commission of Human Rights and the 'Grass Roots'. Besides Father Ferry Binsasi, there was another catholic priest on the team, namely Fr. Agus Laritembun. The team departed on December 13 and returned to Ambon on December 18. Their assignment was to carry out investigation and - if needed - evacuation

The first site to be visited was the village of Tanah Baru on the island of Kesui on December 15. Almost two-thirds of the christians who had already confessed to the islam, could be retrieved and brought to the freighter for questioning and dialogue. It was assumed that on this neutral location, the questioning could take place unhampered by the presence of muslims. However, immediately after their coming on board, turmoil erupted on the shore. Fearing for the lives of their family members that had been left behind, they chose get off the ship again immediately.

Then the team went and visited the other places where christians were held, namely Kelbuta, Kelbo, Suar, Amarlaut, Guliar, Utta and also the island of Teor. From all those places could be evacuated a total of 172 people, consisting of 7 muslims, 18 protestants and 147 catholics. They are now being sheltered in a R.C. Church in Batugantung /Ambon.

Father Agus Laritembun evaluates this mission as follows:

- The circumstances under which these christians had 'chosen' to become islam, can be summarized as follows: their villages destroyed / their possessions looted / their crops and fruit trees destroyed / being under permanent threat of being slaughtered. The choice to become islam under such circumstances cannot be called 'free'.

- The local muslim village heads assured the investigation team that there was no need to bring their christian captives on board of the ship, since they were safe in these villages. In some cases - specifically in Kelbuta and Kelbo - while the christians walked to the shore to be brought to the ship for questioning, women and children were withheld to come along. Being questioned on the ship, fearing for the lives of their wives and children on the shore, quite a lot pronounced their wish to adhere to their new religion (islam). Those who had already got on the ship and wanted to be evacuated, were not allowed to go back to fetch some simple belongings.

- The ship was meant to be a neutral place for questioning. However, the security forces did not take appropriate measures to prevent muslims getting on the ship freely. Anybody could board the ship.

- When the ship anchored off the village of Tanah Baru, a laskar jihad leader, Ibrahim Lamade, having boarded the ship, returned to the shore, telling the people that the situation on the ship was out of control, which was totally untrue, thus causing turmoil on the shore.

- The christians that could be questioned in a sealed off location on the ship, acknowledged that they had become islam solely because they had no choice than doing so in order to save their lives. Those who were questioned so that they could be overheard or witnessed by muslims, confessed that they had chosen to convert to islam 'of their own free will'. This is rather astonishing, since the christian religion has had adherents on Kesui since 107 years already. It is hardly to believe that suddenly so many of them want to go over to islam...

7. CIRCUMCISION - Refugees from Kesui confirm that the circumcising of the hundreds of christians on Kesui was carried out using just one razor blade ('Gilette') for all of them, causing heavy bleeding and also infection to a number of them, whereupon they were sent into the sea for 'disinfection'. Women, too, were circumcised, removing their clitoris.

8. CONCLUSION - On the island of Kesui, of the 692 catholics, it has been ascertained that at least 473 are still alive and have been islamised. Nothing is known about the fate of the other 219 catholic residents: where they are, whether they are still alive, whether they are still catholics or have already become muslims. On the island of Teor, of the 841 catholics, 142 have already been islamised, about 300 have succeeded to flee to the island of Kei Kecil, whereas the remaining 400 still hold out on Teor. So of the 1.533 catholics on the islands of Kasui and Teor, 615 have been forced to become islam or preferred becoming islam to losing their lives. There are on these islands also several hundreds of protestant christians who have become islam in the same way.

The governor of the Moluccas has conceded that on both islands (like earlier also happened to several thousands of christians on the islands of Buru, Ceram and Bacan) forced islamisation is taking place. He will do his utmost to free and evacuate these christians, but he is apparently at a loss how-on-earth he will do this. We suppose that only help from outside can bring solution. Otherwise this process of forced islamisation - which takes place in virtually all places where the christians are cornered - will go on and on...

B. CHRISTMAS AND IDUL-FITRI - Christmas (December 25-26) and Idul-Fitri (December 27-28) were celebrated in Ambon and elsewhere in the Moluccas without disturbance. 'Suara Maluku' newspaper reports that the Governor’s mansion, situated in the christian neighbourhood of Mangga Dua, became a 'platform of reconciliation' when on Wednesday December 27 the traditional reception on occasion of Idul-Fitri was held: guests from both sides exchanged Christmas and Idul-Fitri wishes, often accompanied by hugging each other. The same encouraging situation could be witnessed the following day on a similar occasion at the Police Chief Commander’s mansion, also in Mangga Dua.

Report no. 119

Ambon, January 3, 2001

1. Today the Governor of the Moluccas, Dr. Ir. M. Saleh Latuconsina, meeting with the mass media, expressed his contentment with the situation in the Moluccas during these last few weeks, so that the muslims could undisturbed hold their month of Ramadan and celebrate Idul Fitri, and the christians likewise could prepare and celebrate Christmas. He entreated both sides to carry out intern consolidation and mutual understanding as preparation for universal reconciliation on all social levels in the near future.

2. On the same occasion the governor expressed his concern on what is happening at the islands of Kesui and Teor. He confirmed that within short for the fourth and maybe last time a team will be sent to both islands for investigation and (if needed) evacuation. He said very probably he himself would also take part in this mission. Meanwhile the bishop of Amboina, Monseigneur P.C. Mandagi MSC, too, has expressed his intention to join this expedition, together with a Karlomin born catholic priest, Father Gerardus Esserey MSC (58).

3. The governor provided also clarification on the missing 123 residents of Waesoar, a village in the northern part of the large island of Buru, west of Ambon island (see Report 106, no. 3). Investigation by the local military responsible - he said - had resulted in information from several local village chieftains that these missing people were staying in their villages. However, there was no mentioning about their still being christians or not (all christian villages have been wiped out in North Buru).

4. FURTHER UNREST AT KESUI AND TEOR - Father Gerardus Esserey got the following information from two sources at Kesui via wireless communication (we call it 'Ratelda'), which was also published in 'Siwalima' newspaper:

- In the muslim village of Suar on Kesui a catholic woman, named Theresia Rahayaan (not 'Renyaan' as is mistakenly written in 'Siwalima' newspaper) was killed because she refused to marry in the islam way. The Crisis Centre is still checking on the truth of this information.

- On December 27, muslims from the villages of Sumelang and Keldor on Kesui, attempted to attack the christians that were held in de muslim village of Tanah Baru. However, the muslims of Tanah Baru beat off the attackers.

- Attacks on several christian villages on the island of Teor have been successfully beaten off by their residents.

- Many of the captive christians in the villages of Tanah Baru and Suar suffer from various diseases and need immediate evacuation.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 120 - 129
(January 5 - 24, 2001)

Report no. 120

Ambon, January 5, 2001

1. INTERNAL CONFLICT AMONG CHRISTIANS - In the afternoon of Wednesday January 3, there arose a conflict between christian youngsters at a 'play station' in the neighbourhood of Batugantung-Dalam, Ambon. The conflict escalated in the evening, leaving one young man killed, one wounded and one house burned down.

2. FLOATING SECURITY STATIONS - In our Report 107 no.4 - December 13, 2000 - we reported that the Navy would establish ten floating security stations in the Bay of Ambon, to ensure safe passage for speedboats and other watercraft. Up to now only one station has been effectuated.

3. ISLAMISATION ON THE ISLANDS OF KESUI AND TEOR - A muslim lawyer from Ambon, Abdullah Wattimena SH, published in 'Siwalima' newspaper of January 4, his interpretation of the islamisation of christians on the islands of Kesui and Teor. He maintains that these christians have become christians of their own free will, because - he writes - "Islam teaching says that no one can be forced to become muslim. This avowal is strictly maintained without exception".

One of the victims, Konstantinus Idi, now a refugee in Ambon, retorts in today’s 'Siwalima' that Abdullah Wattimena’s statement is totally untrue. Konstantinus reports that since September 2000, muslim delegates were coming to them: Jakaria Esserey from Sumelang, Kasim Rumakur from Rumadurun, Ali Rumakur, chief of the village of Ampera and several others, telling them that they should convert to islam. If not, the jihads would come and destroy their villages. Christians refused, resulting in them being attacked near the end of November.

4. CONCISE HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE ISLANDS OF KESUI AND TEOR - In his article, Abdullah Wattimena also says: "It has been proved that the ancestors of the christians on Kesui and Teor were muslim, but christian evangelists tricked them to become christian. Is it their fault that now they want to return to their forefathers’ religion?" What are the facts?

In 1992 the Dutch catholic missiology expert Dr. P.G.H.Schreurs MSC published a book "Terug in het Erfgoed van Franciscus Xaverius / Het herstel van de katholieke missie in Maluku, 1886-1960" ("Coming back to the inheritance of Francis Xavier, the restauration of the catholic Mission in the Moluccas, 1886-1960" - also translated in Indonesian). On page 95 sqq. is recorded that a Dutch Jesuit priest, Father Le Cocq d’Armandville SJ, who was stationed at Bomfia in East Ceram, in 1893 went on an expedition to Kesui, where never before a christian minister had been. On June 28, 1893, he wrote in the magazine 'Berichten uit Nederlandsch Oost-Indië' about his experience on that island. He found that there were already many muslims there. Among the remaining heathens many opened their hearts for the Gospel and he baptized 33 of them. The Apostolic Vicar (bishop) of Batavia (Jakarta) then sent Father W.Hellings SJ and Brother J.Zinken SJ to Kesui on March 10, 1894. However after some time there arose repeatedly conflict between the muslims and the catholic community, so that Father Hellings was called back to forestall further unrest. Now Father van der Heyden, who was stationed at the nearby Kei Islands then, went there from time to time, until at last he, too, was ordered (either by the Apostolic Vicar or by the Dutch Government) to keep away from Kesui and Teor.

The catholics of Kesui and Teor did not see a priest between about 1898 up to 1931, when at last the situation had become sufficiently conducive for being administered again by the priests, who regularly came on visits up to now, first from the Kei Islands, later on from Masohi (Ceram). It is almost a miracle that for a period of more than thirty years these catholics held on to their religion without ever being visited by a priest.

Report no. 121

Ambon, January 9, 2001

1. SHUFFLING - Police Commander of Ambon and the Lease Islands (Saparua / Nusalaut / Haruku) Mr. Wahyudin, though having held this function for only three months, has been replaced by Mr. Hassanudin. The reason of this quick changing - according to Police Chief Commander Firman Gani - is his 'unsufficient contribution to reestablish exertion of justice'.

2. WITHDRAWAL OF SECURITY FORCES - Considering the improving situation in Ambon, the military infantery battalions Yonif 141 and 404 and also a company of marinirs will immediately be withdrawn from Ambon without being replaced. Newsmedia regret especially the withdrawal of Yonif 141, which proved to be a reliable battalion, sincerely committed to its task.

3. RUMAHTIGA - In our Report 107 no.3, December 13 2000, we reported on the Rumahtiga christians’ threat to come and occupy the Governor’s Office if the Governor did not fulfill his promise to enable the christian and muslim residents of Rumahtiga to celebrate Christmas and Idul Fitri in their original homestead, i.e. Rumahtiga. They have however been persuaded by Military Chief Commander I.Made Yassa to have patience and give the authorities the opportunity to initiate strategic measures of socialisation, communication and dialogue between the conflicting parties first.

4. MISINFORMATION - Via laskarjihad@mailandnews.com, Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah di Yogyakarta on January 6 informs its readers that: "The reconciliation which is proclaimed by the christians is just a strategy of war". It subsequently reports on an attack by christians from Gudang Arang on the muslims of the village of Airsalobar (on Friday January 5? - no day and date are mentioned) at 0.400 pm. "The christians used dozens of organic weapons. However, the residents together with local security forces could beat off the christians who fervently wanted to end the existence of the village of Air Salobar. At last, at 05.30 pm, the attackers were driven back. The residents of Air Salobar are now intensifying their watchfulness. Alhamdulillah nobody was hurt."

Reading this message, we would advise the Laskar Jihad Information Centre in Yogyakarta to check carefully on the facts. There is no village of Air Salobar. Air Salobor is a neighbourhood at the west end of Ambon town. And: all of its residents are christians. Since no local newsmedia mentioned an incident of this kind, we went there ourselves to check out. The people of Air Salobar were astonished to learn about this piece of news.

Report no. 122

Ambon, January 11, 2001

1. RECONCILIATION BETWEEN CHRISTIAN FACTIONS - The young christians of Batugantung, town of Ambon, have ended their recent conflict which resulted in the death of a young man, named Erick Latumeten (see Report 120 no. 1). To forestall similar conflicts to happen in future they have founded a 'Satgas Bersama' (kind of joined Crisis Center) mainly to prevent any one from outside to provoke internal conflict. They also confessed their neglectfulness in regard to attend worship and guidance meetings, causing their minds being more and more contaminated by actions of violence. Thus we read in today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper.

2. PROCLAIMING DIALOGUE - On occasion of a Meeting of Thanksgiving by a number of christians at the start of the New Year on January 9 in the Baileo Oikumene ('Oecumenic Center') several speakers proffered promising language. 'Grassroots' leader Agus Wattimena stressed that Moluccan christians and muslims were being played off against each other by outsiders. Minister Sammy Titaley, chairperson of the Moluccas Protestant Church (GPM) urged the 'grassroots' to become 'ambassadors of peace', opposing any provocator as their common enemy. Governor M.Saleh Latuconsina informed those present that a large-scale dialogue ('musyawarah') is being planned to take place next March. The Governor also mentioned the distressing situation on the islands of Kesui and Teor, calling it a most serious issue which is not easy to solve. However, he said, "I ask you to entrust this case to the Responsible for the Civil Emergency ( = the Governor himself) and the security forces" (summarized from 'Suara Maluku' newspaper January 11).

3. THE SULTAN OF BACAN WANTS REFUGEES TO RETURN - The sultan with adat chiefs and the population of the island of Bacan [pronounced 'batyan'], North Moluccas, declare that within short the christians of Bacan, several hundreds of whom fled to the Tanimbar islands, S.E. Moluccas, about ten months ago, will be persuaded and facilitated to come back to their homesteads at Bacan. Thus was confirmed by the Governor of the Province of the North Moluccas, Mr. Muhyi Effendie, to press agency 'Antara' at Ternate.

4. FKM LEADER DETAINED - 'FKM' is short for 'Front Kedaulatan Maluku', which means 'Moluccas Sovereignty Forum'. On own responsibility a much disputed declaration of sovereignty was pronounced by its leader, Dr. Alex Manuputty on December 18, 2000. Several influential persons, including protestant and catholic church leaders, had tried in vain to prevent such ambiguous declaration. Afterwards Mr. Manuputty denied that he had separative intentions. Now, at last, Dr.Manuputty has been arrested for further investigation on several accusations. Though the FKM is thought to have not many adherents, nevertheless we perceived that his detention caused some commotion among christians.

5. VILLAGE ON TEOR ATTACKED - This morning, January 11, at 6.00 am, an attack was launched on the christian village of Rumoy on the island of Teor. However, the attackers could be beaten off by Yonif 623 security forces. Thus was declared this evening on local TV by Military Chief Commander I.Made Yassa.

6. CASUALTIES AT GALUNGGUNG - The improving situation in the town of Ambon induces some daring christians to pass through muslim neighbourhoods. However, a car with five christians on its way through the muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung was attacked, resulting in three of them wounded, whereas the two others are missing. Likewise a limousine car was thrown at and shot at near a mosque at Batumerah, resulting in two christians being seriously wounded.

7. BAY OF AMBON STILL UNSAFE - This afternoon a speedboat, bound for Galala, left Gudang Arang (Ambon town) but met disaster. It was shot at, causing the death of one christian; eleven others were wounded, among whom four seriously.

8. ANOTHER MISINFORMATION - Via laskarjihad@mailandnews.com, Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah at Yogyakarta on January 8 informs its readers that: "The christians’ aspiration to establish an independent nation, separated from the Republic of Indonesia, is more and more evident... On Saturday January 6, RMS posters and flags were placed along the streets and at civilians’ houses... This was done at all christian sites..." Reading this, we are just baffled. No muslim dares to come into christian neighbourhoods or villages. So who is sending this nonsense to Yogyakarta? It is simply not true, and we are very sorry that such reports are being sent out all over Indonesia. Careful checking on the facts would help a lot to promote the process of reconciliation and peace in the Moluccas, which is sincerely being hoped for by all Moluccans. Meanwhile we have sent an urgent letter to this Forum Komunikasi asking for mutual consultation whenever possible in order to avoid any misinformation leading to further unrest in the Moluccas.

N.B. CORRECTION: Writing on 'withdrawal of security forces' in our latest report (Report 121 no.2) we mistakenly mentioned Yonif 404. This should be Yonif 403.

Report no. 123

Ambon, January 13, 2001

1. BARRICADE POHON MANGGA - The farthest Ambon neighbourhood to the south-west of the town is Air Salobar. Bordering at Air Salobar is a small site commonly called “Pohon Mangga”. It stretches for a length of about 200 meters along the road out of town to the villages of Amahusu, Erie, Latuhalat etc. The residents of Pohon Mangga are muslim. No wonder they have muslim militias in their midst, since they are just a small enclave amidst christians. However, already for many months they control the only road, bordering at the bay, between Ambon and those villages to the south-west. Many people have to pass that site in and out of town for work, school, shopping etc. During all these months, perhaps already for a whole year, they have no choice than to travel those 200 meters by speedboat. On several occasions people were drowned when speedboats were too crowded and sunk. Nobody understands why the security forces do not take measures to open this short stretch of road and guarantee safe passage for christian civilians.

2. PROTEST - The detention of FKM executive leader Dr. A.Manuputty (see yesterday’s Report, sub no.4) met quite some resistance from the side of the christians. Carrying banners of protest a crowd of christians went to the Governor’s Office at Pattimura Street, requesting that justice and truth should be done. There is indeed astonishment among the christians why Dr. Manuputty should be arrested, whereas laskar jihad leader Ja’far Umar Thalib can freely go on with his provocative speeches. Answering the request, Police Chief Commander Firman Gani said, that some minutes before, there had been an agreement with the Protestant Attorneys Team (TPG / Team Pengacara Gereja) and the “Grass Roots”, that the arrest of Dr. Manuputty would be postponed, however, without cancelling the process of investigation. Nevertheless, probably to make sure of this, the crowd followed the Police Chief Commander to his Headquarters, also at Pattimura Street, at a distance of about 500 meters, where they requested Dr. Manuputty's immediate release.

3. MASSMEDIA BRIDLED - On January 9, the Governor as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State installed a Committee for Censoring Newsbulletins. Of course this evoked serious disappointment both at the massmedia themselves and a number of Academici from the Pattimura University (Unpatty) and the Christian University (UKIM). It was called a return to the “Orde Baru” of former president Suharto. Drs. Marthen J.Maspaitella from the UKIM said among others: “Who can the people hope for to tell the truth but the press. The Governor should be grateful to the press, for it often happens that the Governor himself only knows about certain facts because reading it in the newspaper!”

4. ISLAMISATION IN SALAS - These days the forced islamisation of a number of christians at Salas is more and more talked about in the massmedia. Salas is a village at the north-east coast of the island of Ceram, not far from Bula. The parish priest of Masohi, regional capital on the south coast of Ceram, Father Jos Kuda Makin SVD, has repeatedly protested against this forced islamisation, but up to now nobody has paid heed to his call for justice.

Report no. 124

Ambon, January 18, 2001

1. VICTIMS FOUND - The bodies of the two males that have been missing since the incident at Galunggung on January 11 (see Report 122 no. 6) were found floating in the Bay of Ambon on Saturday, January 13. The bodies were in lacerated condition.

2. TENSENESS IN WAHAI - Wahai is a small town on the North coast of the island of Ceram. The residents are mixed christian/muslim and provide shelter for refugees from elsewhere. On January 16, at 3.00 a.m. four molotov cocktails exploded at various sites in the town. At 10.30 a.m. another bomb exploded at a Secondary School site. In these incidents nobody was hurt, but crowds gathered and the christians are readying themselves to flee to safer places. Local police and military are said to do hardly any effort to try and find the trouble-makers. Muslim and christian religious leaders cooperated in calming down the masses, they even found seven unexploded molotov cocktails in plastic bags. Thus is reported in 'Suara Maluku' newspaper.

3. MCI and ACF SHIFT FOCUS - The economic department of the government in Ambon convened with delegates from two foreign NGO-s i.e. 'Mercy Corps' and 'Action Contra la Faim' in order to coordinate aid programs for refugees. It was decided upon that food aid for the refugees will gradually be reduced and be replaced by more constructive help. Both NGO-s will upgrade financial help to refugees for purchasing tools, mainly in the field of agriculture, whereas the MCI - in coordination with local NGO-s - will also grant credits for small business.

4. CHILDRENS’ PRAYER MEETING - At the suggestion of the Governor of the Moluccas, a prayer meeting for one thousand elementary school children (500 muslim / 500 christian) was organized by the Chief Police Commander Mr. Firman Gani on January 17. The meeting took place at the large front yard of the Governor’s Office. The children performed their Qasidahs, Vocal Groups, Duets and Solos in an attractive way before their thousand amigoes and several government and religious leaders. All of the children were also given school funds at a total of Rupiah 185.000.000,- (US $ 19,500.-). Everybody was very satisfied and - like one spokesman said - their parents should feel ashamed. Why cannot they make peace where the children have already.

5. EVACUATION OF KESUI AND TEOR VICTIMS - The chairperson of the Protestant Synod (GPM) at Ambon, Rev. Sammy Titaley, confirmed to 'Siwalima' newspaper that next Monday, January 22, the governor will go to Kesui and Teor to evacuate the victims of islamisation. They will be evacuated to Tual, Kei Islands, S.E.Moluccas. The governor will be accompanied by religious leaders and security forces. So the composition of this team is quite different from the composition of earlier teams, he said. Sammy Titaley further said: "After all of them have been evacuated, we must juridically investigate those that are behind this scheme". However, he stressed that what has happened at Kesui/Teor, should not be looked upon as muslim custom.

Report no. 125

Ambon, January 20, 2001

1. SPEEDBOAT SHOT AT - On Januari 18, at 7.00 p.m., a speedboat with only five people on board (christians) was shot at in the bay of Ambon from another speedboat when passing by Jos Sudarso harbour. One of the crew was seriously wounded.

2. SHOOTING AND BOMBING - After intensive praying by each party - muslims and christians - on January 19, remembering the beginning of the conflict exactly two years ago, during the following evening and night much shooting and bombing was heard in the town of Ambon, coming from the neighbourhoods of Batumerah, Karang Panjang / Ahuru and Pohon Pule. There are not many details available yet, except that one christian was hurt at his knee by a stray bullet. 'Siwalima' newspaper supposes that the unrest was mainly among the muslims themselves as a follow-up of tenseness between muslims at the muslim village of Tial (near the village of Suli) in the afternoon of Januari 19, resulting in three people being wounded.

3. ISLAMISATION OF 70 REFUGEES UNDONE - A celebration was held in the Catholic Sacred Heart church of Batugantung, Ambon, in which all of the 70 refugees from Kesui that are gathered there, were received back in the Catholic Church.

Report no. 126

Ambon, January 21, 2001

1. MUSLIMS VS. MUSLIMS - The conflict between Muslims in the afternoon of January 19, in which three people were wounded, did not take place at Tial, like we wrote in Report 125 no. 2, but at Waai. A motorcar travelling from Liang to Tulehu, while passing the totally destroyed and abandoned christian village of Waai, was shot at, wounding three people. Chief Military Commander I Made Yassa declared on local TV that the gunmen could not possibly have been christians, since there are not any christians in the Waai area.

2. MUSLIMS VS. SECURITY FORCES - Most of the shooting during the evening and the whole following night on January 19 (see Report 125 no. 2) happened between muslim gunmen and security forces, who in this case became the muslims’ target right away, so that they had to defend no others than themselves. According to local radio four civilians were killed in this incident. Main location of this shooting was the bordering area between the neighbourhoods of Batumerah (muslim) and Mardika (christian), town of Ambon. Four muslim civilians were arrested near the shore of Mardika on January 20 because they were in possession of weapons. One of them appeared to be a member of the provincial Legislative Council.

3. PATROL BOAT SHOT AT - At 10.30 AM, January 20, a Navy patrol boat was shot at in the bay of Ambon from the direction of Kapaha (Taman Pahlawan / War Cemetery, Tantui), only resulting in three holes in the ship. In this incident, too, security forces became target of violence.

4. SNIPERS - In the Pohon Pule area, town of Ambon, snipers resumed activity.

5. ATTACK ON WAHAI - During the last few days tenseness was building up in Wahai, a small town on the North coast of the island of Ceram, where residents consist of both christians and muslims that live together in good mutual understanding (see Report 124, no.2). In the morning of January 21, however, there was a full-scale attack on the place by muslim masses from other villages. Several dozens of houses were burned down, four civilians were seriously wounded: two by bullets, two by mishandling. Additional security forces from Masohi (local capital on the south coast) have been sent to Wahai. The christians have fled to the mountains south of the town.

Report no. 127

Ambon, January 22, 2001

1. ARRESTED - The name of the member of the Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD I Maluku) that was arrested together with three others at Mardika, near the shore, on January 20 (see Report 126 no. 2), is Darul Kutni Tuhepaly. He is a member of the muslim PPP Party. According to 'Siwalima' newspaper he was found to be in possession of two molotov cocktails.

2. FURTHER CONFLICT MUSLIMS VS. SECURITY FORCES - Last night, again, there was shooting between muslims and the military security forces of the 'Yon-Gab' = 'Batalyon Gabungan' (Combined Battalion) near the neighbourhood of Mardika. The conflict escalated when two muslims, Ruslan and Yudhi, were dragged by a military panzer vehicle, causing them to be killed. Mr. Malik Selang, secretary of the emergency department of the local MUI (muslim staff at the Al-Fatah mosque) declared to 'Siwalima' newspaper that some fifty women came to the Yon-Gab post at Mardika to claim the bodies of both men. However their demand was said to be met in an abusive way by these military, they even fired in the direction of these muslims civilians, resulting in protracted shooting between muslims and military during the night. Today the situation remains rather tense. The 'bottle-neck' bridge at Pohon Pule is closed by the security forces, perhaps to forestall snipers’ activities in those quarters.

3. CHRISTIAN GIRL SAVED - Martina Sahertian (18), living in Makasar (Ujung Pandang) had not seen her relatives in Ambon for four years. So she decided to come and see them. Unaware of the altered situation in Ambon she disembarked at muslim dominated Jos Sudarso harbour and got on a minibus. However, the driver took her to the Al-Fatah Mosque compound, where she was recognized as an 'Obed' (christian) girl. She was immediately surrounded by muslim youngsters. At that moment District Chief Police Commander, Mr. Hasanuddin, happened to pass by and hear her shouting. Mr. Malik Selang (see no. 2) then came and took her to safety.

4. ISLAMISATION AT SALAS - Salas is a village at the north-east coast of the island of Ceram, not far from Bula. One of the christian refugees from Salas, Edy Tonke, reports in detail to 'Siwalima' newspaper about the islamisation of christians there (cf. Report 123 no. 4). It started with the villages of Dawang Dua and Solang Gompia being attacked on January 9 and 10, 2000, causing the local christians to flee to Salas. On July 22, 2000, the village of Salas on its turn was rocked by violence, so all christians fled for safety to the nearby mountains. However, security forces came and persuaded the christians to come to Bula. There they were given shelter at the multi-purpose building (Gedung Serba Guna) and at the military compound. However, there was not any protection for the christians there. The muslims came and forced the about 250 christians to abjure their christian faith and come over to islam. Local authorities and security forces are blamed for their assuring the outside world that "the Bula case had properly been handled".

5. MOST TERRIBLE CIVIL WAR - Dr. Thamrin Tomagola, sociologist at the Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, says that the conflict in the Moluccas is "the most terrible civil war in the world". If only compared to Bosnia - he says, according to 'Siwalima' - that five year war claimed 10.000 casualties, whereas the Moluccas in barely two years’ time, have already 8.000 killed. The number of refugees or LDPs is over 350.000. He further says that of the 6.000 Jihad troops, 4.000 meanwhile have left the Moluccas. He urges that the remaining 2.000 should leave the Moluccas immediately.

Report no. 128

Ambon, January 23, 2001

1. TENSENESS IN AMBON - Due to the unfavourable situation, yesterday most people in Ambon town preferred to stay at home. The bridge at Pohon Pule, linking the centre of the town to the christian neighbourhoods to the west, was closed by the security forces, so that people who wanted to go to town, had to walk along the alternative track across the hills. This morning the road crossing the bridge was opened again.

2. HIGH RANKING OFFICERS ARRESTED - There was much shooting near the shore of Mardika neighbourhood between muslims and the security forces starting at about 9.00 PM on January 21 up to about 8.00 AM the following morning, resulting in, on muslim side, ten people being killed and more than a dozen wounded. Thus was reported by Mr. Malik Selang, secretary of the emergency department of the local MUI (muslim staff at the Al-Fatah mosque). The locally stationed Marinirs and Combined Military Forces (Yon-Gab) were more and more being surrounded by the attackers, they were even shot at from building upper floors. The attackers seemed to get additional combatants from the shore, where speedboats unloaded muslim warriors, whereas the Yon-Gab, too, got reenforcements. At last it became apparent that the attackers’ central command was located in nearby hotel Wijaya II. Entering the place early in the morning of January 22, the Yon-Gab soldiers found a number of Military and Police officers, among whom three high ranking officers, with their weapons. They were arrested immediately. Besides officers, others, too, were arrested, up to a total of 40 persons. They will be tried accordingly. Among those arrested was Police Lieutenant Colonel, Waramas Saragih.

3. UNREST IN WAHAI - (See Report 126, no. 5) The attack on Wahai by muslim masses from other villages on January 21, was carried out while the christians were in church for Sunday Worship. So nothing obstructed the attackers to burn down more than 60 houses of christians.

4. CORRECTION on 'TWO BODIES' - Yesterday we wrote in Report 127 no 2: "The conflict escalated when two muslims, Ruslan and Yudhi, were dragged by a military panzer vehicle, causing them to be killed". 'Siwalima' newspaper received this information from Mr. Malik Selang, secretary of the emergency department of the local MUI (muslim staff at the Al-Fatah mosque). However, this piece of information turns out to be not true and might have been issued to besmirch the Yon-Gab military and oust them from the Moluccas.Thus was stated by Military Chief Commander I Made Yassa.

Report no. 129

Ambon, January 24, 2001

1. ARRESTMENT - After the tenseness of January 22, yesterday - and also today - the atmosphere in Ambon was/is near to normal. However, at 11.15 yesterday morning, two young muslims, Udin (20) and Kasim (19), were caught by police security forces while entering the front yard of the Governor’s Office trying to smuggle in two molotov cocktails. They said they had made these bombs themselves and had hoped to sell them to a military serviceman. However it is feared that they may have had the intention to damage either the Governor’s Office or the nearby Maranatha church.

2. I MADE YASA APPALLED - Local TV showed an irritated I Made Yasa, Military Chief Commander, threatening anyone who challenged the TNI (Indonesian Armed Forces), would meet their power. The military had the right and the duty - he said - to defend itself as an institution and would not allow to be besmirched or even to be attacked.

3. EXPEDITION TO KESUI / TEOR - Yesterday Governor Dr.Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina left for the islands of Kesui and Teor, where earlier forced islamisation of several hundreds of christians had taken place. His intention is to evacuate all christians to Tual (Kei Islands). The governor is accompanied by several local police and military officials, church and muslim leaders and also by reporters from local National TV and Radio, a Jakarta based commercial TV (SCTV) and National News Agency 'Antara'.

4. COMMENTARY ON DETENTION OF LIEUTENANT COLONEL SARAGIH - The vice deacon of the Faculty of Law, Pattimura University, sees the arrest of Lieutenant Colonel Waramas Saragih (see yesterday’s Report no.2) as an opportunity to obtain a closer look at possible unduly political schemes which try to protract the conflict in the Moluccas. This Saragih had been appointed at the Police Headquarters in Jakarta three months ago, but was still lingering in Ambon. To what purpose? On whose orders? Why in the possession of weapons? Much may be disclosed within due time.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 130 - 139
(January 25 - February 19, 2001)

Report no. 130

Ambon, January 25, 2001

1. HATUALANG ATTACKED - In the early morning of January 24, about 500 muslim warriors attacked the hamlet of Hatualang, part of the village of Alang Asaude, not far from the little town of Piru at the western end of the island of Ceram. The attackers arrived at the shore on two motorboats. They outnumbered the locally stationed military security forces of Battalion Yonif 731/Kabaressy. Infantery sergeant Yusman, while guiding the civilians to safer location was shot by the attackers. There is no mentioning yet about any other casualties, neither is there any information available on the amount of damage to the houses of the residents. Both places, Hatualang and Alang Asaude, were earlier attacked last August. On that occasion almost all of the houses and also the church were burned down. It is supposed that the attackers are the same group that launhed an attack on Wahai and burned more than sixty houses there last week.

2. FOLLOW-UP OF ARRESTMENT OFFICERS - One of the officers that were recently arrested at the Wijaya II hotel (see Report 128 no. 2) was police officer commissioner Abdi Darma Sitepu. He had arrived in Ambon the day before and was to be installed as a Police Brimob Commander. Before reporting to his superiors, he had checked in in the same hotel. Police Chief Commander Firman Gani regarded this as just bad luck for him, and said he was obviously innocent. However this clarification evoked bewilderment among christians, who demand that he should be tried in the same way as the others and should not impulsively be called innocent; in fact it is rather unconceivable that - if innocent - he would take lodgings in a hotel in the midst of an area where turmoil is going on.

Report no. 131

Ambon, January 27, 2001

1. INVESTIGATION ON THE 'WIJAYA II' CASE - Following the arrest of three high ranking police officers and one military officer at the Wijaya II hotel in the early hours of Monday January 22 (see Report 128 no. 2), an investigation team has arrived from Jakarta, sent by Supreme Commander of the Indonesain Armed Forces (TNI) Widodo. The team consists of eight persons of the military Intelligence, the Inspection and the military Police (POM). Among the 40 persons arrested, there were 29 military and police servicemen.

2. THAILAND CITIZEN KILLED - In the evening of January 20, the fishing motorboat KM Kalsum 31, operating under Thaiese flag, while anchored in the bay of Ambon off Kapaha/Tantui, was shot at from three speedboats, seriously wounding a Thaiese crew member named Amei (21). The ship then, together with two other similar ships, fled to the christian anchorage of Gudang Arang. Though receiving intensive medical care, Amei died on January 25. Thus is reported by 'Suara Maluku' newspaper. We have not yet learned about any reaction from the Thaiese government.

3. KESUI - According to the FK4M (Communication Forum of Moluccan Conflict Victims), as reported by 'Suara Maluku' newspaper, on Fridy January 26 the Military Chief Commander I Made Yasa had told the FK4M that at that moment a total number of about 300 (three hundred) christians from the island of Kesui, all of them victims of forced islamisation, had been freed and had already boarded the ship, waiting for its departure for Tual, Kei Islands. Up to now the Governor c.s. have not returned yet to Ambon.

Report no. 132

Ambon, January 30, 2001

1. The Team - Part of the evacuation team which had left for the islands of Kesui and Teor, yesterday returned from its mission. The team was led by the Bupati (regional government chief) of the Central Moluccas (of which Masohi, South Ceram, is the capital), named Mr. Rudolf Rukka. The governor of the Province of the Moluccas, Dr. M.Saleh Latuconsina, went with the team as 'back up'; thus he declared on local TV last night. Other members of the team were the chairperson of the Protestant provincial Synod, Mr. Sammy Titaley, the chairperson of the Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina, Father Agustinus Ulahaiyan, and several other MUI (moslem), church- and government officials. When asked by reporters about any forced islamisation Mr. Rudolf Rukka stressed that this team was not meant to be an investigation team but an evacuation team.

2. Chronology - The team left for those islands (which lie at a distance of about 400 kilometers east of Ambon) on January 23, on the navy vessel 'Teluk Ende'. The governor, Mr. Rukka and several others boarded a smaller vessel of their own, to be able to return to Ambon earlier, whereas the others would accompany those who wanted to be evacuated, to Tual, Kei Islands, S.E.Moluccas (a distance of about 180 km). Another vessel had been sent the day before to persuade local leaders and raja's from the nearby islands of Gorong, Kataloka, Ondor and Ambaskaro (Gorong and Geser are said to be the base of the orginal jihad attackers) to be ready to board the ship with the evacuation team, bound for Kesui. So after picking up these leaders, the 'Teluk Ende' at last anchored off the village of Tanah Baru, island of Kesui. On January 25 the ship was boarded by those who wanted to be evacuated. Next was the village of Utha. On January 26 the ship headed for the island of Teor, which is a voyage of at most two hours. On Teor most of the christian villages had succeeded to hold out against the attackers. At the village of Gilboy a meeting with the local population was held, and it was agreed upon that there would be no attacks any more. The team then went on to the village of Lapang. On January 27 a meeting was held with the residents of the christian villages of Rumoy and Kerker. These residents complained about shortage of food. They asked that their wives and children who had previously fled to Ambon would be sent back to Teor.

3. Numbers of evacuated christians - According to Mr. Rudolf Rukka, the total number of christians that should have been evacuated to Tual, was 764. However, those that were brought to the ship numbered only 729. So 35 people did not turn up. The absence of these 35 was explained as follows: 4 had already died, 14 had managed to escape to Ambon earlier, 5 had escaped to Tual, 6 are still at Kesui (for various reasons they did not want to board the ship), 6 had been taken by their muslim relatives to the island Gorong; among these there are five under the age of fifteen.

Of these 729 people, 81 wished to be put ashore again at the village of Utha, for whatever reason. So the total number of evacuated persons from the island of Kesui is 648. Father Agus Ulahaiyanan telephoned us this morning that they had just arrived safely at Tual.

4. Islamisation? - Asked by reporters whether there had been forced islamisation on the island of Kesui and Teor, Governor M.Saleh Latuconsina declared on local TV last night that there had been no forced islamisation. These christians - he said - had chosen to become moslem in order to be protected, leaving unanswered the logical question "to be protected against whom?"

5. How further? - Another satisfactory result of this mission - according to Rudolf Rukka - was the general agreement, including the raja's of Kondor and Gorong, that there would be no attacks any more. Rukka also promised the christians that in due time he would bring the christians back to their ancestral homesteads. The local government chief ('Camat') was ordered to safeguard the grounds and any left behind possessions of christians meanwhile.

Report no. 133

Ambon, January 31, 2001

1. ISLAMISATION - Once again asked by reporters whether there had been forced islamisation on the island of Kesui and Teor, Governor M.Saleh Latuconsina on local TV last night spoke more clearly. Though not acknowledging that the christians on Kesui and Teor physically had been forced to become islam, nevertheless he conceded that for these christians the only way to save their lives was to become islam. He said that this could be appropriately said of 97% of these christians. Meanwhile, christians insist that the violators of Human Rights at Kesui and Teor should be brought to justice.

2. PROVOCATEUR OF THE CONFLICT AT KESUI - According to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper, somebody whose name is not mentioned, was brought to the governor when the evacuationship lay anchored off the coast of Kesui. It then became apparent that the conflict on the island of Kesui was triggered in a not much different way from what had been the start of whole North Moluccas conflict last year: namely a provocating letter which was had allegedly been written by (protestant) Church leaders. The governor entrusted the case to the local police commander (Though having been invited, the Provincial Police was not represented in the evacuation team).

3. FOREIGNERS SENT BACK - 'Suara Maluku' reports that on January 24, thirteen Dutchmen, delegates of several organisations in the Netherlands that are concerned about all what has been happening in the Moluccas, came to the Moluccas. They called themselves “Delegasi Omaratan” (Omaratan Delegation) and their mission was given the motto 'Sebab Buah Dikenal Pohonnya' (Because The Fruit Is Known By Its Tree). Local authorities, however, suspect that among these thirteen, there are four military-oriented persons. Three of these thirteen persons, members of the Sultan Babullah Foundation in Holland, having arrived at Ternate, North Moluccas, wanted to go on to Tobelo, island of Halmahera, in order to attend a meeting of Halmahera christians there, which was to be held on January 28. However, since the situation there was regarded by local authorities to be not adequately conducive yet, the Governor, Mr. Muhyi Effendie, forbade them to go there, he even sent them out of the North Moluccas, back to Jakarta, on January 26.

4. VICTIMS IN AMBON - In the evening of January 29, Miss Novembri Tuarisa (26), when debarking at the muslim controlled Jos Sudarso harbour, Ambon, was beaten to death. In the morning of January 30, a boy, named Raphael Ferdinandus, was found dead in a pool of blood at the side of the road near Kampung Kolam, Ambon. The cause of his death is still under investigation (reported by 'Suara Maluku').

Report no. 134

Ambon, February 3, 2001

1. CONFLICT BETWEEN MARINER SOLDIERS AND POLICE - Last Thursday, February 1, at 10.00 a.m., three Brimob (Mobile Brigade) policemen wanted to enter the Navy compound of Halong, island of Ambon, riding two motorbikes. At the entrance picket they said to the controlling Marinir sentinel they were civilians. When recognized as Brimob policemen, however, a conflict arose, which later on the same day escalated, notwithstanding an immediate meeting by the corresponding commanders. After ten Brimobs badly mishandled four Mariners at Passo, the Mariners retaliated by shooting at the Water Police Quarters at Lateri and at a Police Patrol Boat at the shore. When policeman Erisman Saragih tried to get off the ship, he was killed by a bullet, whereas thirteen others were wounded. It is not known whether the Mariners had any casualties. Thus is reported by 'Siwalima' newspaper today.

2. HATU ALANG RESIDENTS EVACUATED - As mentioned in our Report 130, no.1, on January 24 about 500 muslim warriors attacked the hamlet of Hatu Alang, part of the village of Alang Asaude, not far from the little town of Piru at the western end of the island of Ceram. Village secretary Yunus Huwae confirmed to 'Siwalima' newspaper that the attackers were muslims from the villages of Nagalemang and Melati. Besides infantery sergeant Yusman, also three civilians were killed. The number of houses burned down was 84, whereas eight public facilities were burned (church, school etc.). On Wednesday, January 31, all of the 829 residents of Hatu Alang, who had fled to the woods, were evacuated on a landing boat to the village of Alang, south-west of Laha, island of Ambon.

3. KESUI / TEOR - According to Synod Chairperson Sammy Titaley, who was among the evacuation team that went to Kesui last week, the number of christians that preferred to stick to their new religion (islam) and got off the evacuating ship at Utha, was not 81, but only 47, all of them Utha residents.

Father Agus Ulahaiyanan, chairperson of the Crisis Centre Diocese of Amboina, last night telephoned us from the Kei Islands, that many villages of Kei Kecil are desperately trying to get their share of these refugees to provide them with anything they can afford. However it was decided that the eleven village parish of Namar would get the honour of accommodating them.

About the evacuation of these hundreds of 'mualafs' (neo-converts) and them undoubtedly returning to the christian religion, there is not any protest heard from the side of the moslems... However, on local TV and otherwise, they insist that the Kesui/Teor case is closed, and that no further investigation on any violation of Human Rights is needed.

Of the 146 'mualafs' of the destroyed villages of Kartutin and Kar on the island of Teor, 16 have confessed to keep to their new religion (islam), whereas all of the others have returned to their original religion (catholic) and are now staying with their fellow catholics in the unharmed village of Kerker on the island of Teor.

Report no. 135

Ambon, February 5, 2001

1. MARINERS VS. BRIMOB POLICE - The attack of Mariner soldiers on the Water-and-Air Brimob Police (Satpolairud) Quarters at Lateri on February 1 (see Report 134 no. 1) caused the building and also three police autocars being badly damaged. The mariners also laid hands on some dozens of firearms and some thousands of bullets. Up to February 3, this weaponry was still being saved at the Navy Base of Halong and had not been returned.

2. SEGREGATION - Overheard a mother reprimanding her naughty child: "Behave yourself or I’ll take you to the Atjangs!" (atjang has become nickname for moslem since the first period of the conflict).

3. IMPROVEMENT - The Military Chief Commander I Made Yasa’s not yielding to the uncessant protests of the muslims, especially on the 'Wijaya II' case, has attributed to a conducive situation on the island of Ambon and surrounding islands.

4. CORRUPTION - Reading the local newspapers, we have the impression that, perhaps due to the lability of law enforcement, fraud and corruption in Ambon is more and more escalating.

Report no. 136

Ambon, February 10, 2001

Because there are no special events to report on - the actual situation in the Moluccas being fairly conducive lately - it has been quite some time since we sent a report on the conflict in the Moluccas. However, some of our readers might be interested in various efforts to pave the way to reconciliation. In this context we asked the CONCERNED WOMEN ORGANISATION to tell us about its activities. Here is their report:

CONCISE INFORMATION ON THE 'CONCERNED WOMEN ORGANISATION' (Gerakan Perempuan Peduli)

The 'Concerned Women Organisation' was conceived as an expression of some Moluccan women’s concern in relation to the seemingly unending conflict which was and has been going on in the Moluccas since Januari 1999. The idea of such organisation was launched by Sister Francesco Moens FDNSC. The first meeting was held in the 'Rinamakana' aula, Batumeja, Ambon, on Augusts 7, 1999. On that occasion Vice Governor Mrs. Paula Renyaan-Bataona suggested to call it 'Gerakan Perempuan Peduli' = 'Concerned Women Organisation'. This meeting included delegates from Moslem, Protestant and Catholic side.

It was decided upon that it would be first of all a Moral Movement with the mission to "Stop the Fighting and the Violence" (menghentikan Pertikaian dan Kekerasan).

So we, Moslem, Protestant and Catholic Women, in close cooperation, agree and are determined to make the people of the Moluccas realize that violence will not solve any contrariety. On the contrary, violence only produces more violence and will only effectuate escalatation of the conflict.

In response to the fervent longing of everybody, most of all the women and children, for security, safety and peace, the goal or target of this Organisation was formulated as follows:

1. Stop the violence and the fighting.

2. Effectuate various activities (formation/guidance in both spiritual and material/economic fields) in close cooperation, in order to pave the road to reconciliation.

3. Carry out reconciliation programs between the opposing factions in society.

4. Insist upon the maintaining c.q. restoring of human rights of women and children.

In this scope meanwhile have been carried out various programs, among others:

1. Be united in prayer every day; if not locally, at least coming together in mind and heart.

2. Proffering the Women’s Voice and the Children’s Scream to the Governor, being witnessed also by other high government authorities (this was done twice, both by the christians and by the moslems).

3. Spreading and handing out 4000 small banners and small posters on which the text: "STOP THE FIGHTING AND THE VIOLENCE".

4. Socialisation of the Women’s Voice and the Children’s Scream via local Radio, TV and newspapers.

5. Urging to put a stop to the defiling of one another’s religion and ethnic roots.

6. Discussion with the Army and Police chief commanders.

7. Proffering the Women’s Voice and the Children’s Scream to the Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD).

8. Discussion with the Governor.

9. Discussions with Protestant and Catholic Church leaders.

10. Discussion with the Town’s Legislative Council (DPRD).

11. Corroborating the workability of the 'Concerned Women' in matters of stopping the Conflict and Violence by meetings with military and police wives’ organisations.

12. Trying to influence public opinion and allertness via mass media.

13. Training of female volunteers in the fields of guidance and counciling.

14. Training of female volunteers in the field of formation of youngsters.

15. Guidance for youngsters of each of the three communities.

16. Formation activities for women in the refugee camps.

17. Producing and handing out of stickers and leaflets.

18. Issuing by local TV and Radio statements of women’s concern about the lack of seriousness of both the central and provincial governments in putting an end to the Moluccas conflict.

19. Requesting the world by means of letters and e-mail to take a clear stance in matters of violence and human rights in the Moluccas.

20. On July 19 we sent an urgent letter to the President and four Cabinet Ministers, the Chiefs of Army and Police in Jakarta with a carbon copy to the Governor, the Police and Army Chief Commanders in Ambon, requesting evacuation en masse of all christians from the island of Ambon. That was when jihad troops together with military persons attacked the christians most savagely and we estimated that all of us would be driven into the sea.

21. Taking part in workshops and complying with invitations from local NGO's and other organisations and bodies that are concerned about the violence and the conflict and that try to cope with both women’s and children’s traumas.

22. Confidential / private meetings with traumatized women.

23. Providing aid to refugees in situations of emergency.

24. Publishing the bulletin 'Ina Tabaus'.

25. In cooperation with other women’s organisations, organizing 'cheap market' activities.

26. Special guidance for the groups of so-called 'Agas' and 'Lingis'. These are groups of children and youngsters that take part in combat. Bringing the groups in mutual contact one with another.

27. Approaching the civil warlords, both christian and moslem.

28. Taking part in the 'Baku Bae' campaign in Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Surabaya and Makasar.

29. Vocalizing the Moluccan women’s aspirations to the National Legislative Council (DPR) in Jakarta and meeting its House Speaker Akbar Tanjung.

30. Activating refugees, specifially women and youngsters, by providing revolving funds for small business.

31. Formation and guidance in developping hidden talents and creativity among children and young people.

32. Providing a practice-oriented network of groups of people that aspire reconciliation and rebuilding of the Moluccas.

33. Organizing a large scale meeting of young people.

34. Special attention and guidance for gatherings of youngsters in the various Parish basic communities.

This 'Concerned Women Organisation' has a board consisting of three coordinators, three secretaries, three treasurers and some members. We have a selected group of formation and guidance field workers for children, youngsters and women.

Our activities are financially supported by several donors.

We feel grateful, since - at last - this struggle of us, women of the Moluccas, has been acknowledged and enjoys everybody’s support.

Ambon, February 9, 2001

Sister Brigita Renyaan, fdnsc

(Translated from Indonesian by C.J.Böhm msc, secretary Crisis Centre Diocese of Amboina)

Report no. 137

Ambon, February 13, 2001

1. CIVILIAN KILLED - On Friday, February 9, Dace Pattiasina (53) was killed by a bullet while he was collecting durians near his village of Suli, island of Ambon. No trace of the killer.

2. PROTEST AGAINST REBUILDING OF UNIVERSITY - Rustam Kastor, Yogyakarta based author of the Laskar Jihad handbook titled 'Konspirasi Kristen dan RMS Menghancurkan Umat Islam di Ambon-Maluku (Christian and RMS Conspiration to annihilate the Muslim Community of Ambon-Moluccas), writing in the Tabloid Suisma" (edition 29 January - 3 February 2001), protests against the rebuilding of the Government Pattimura University Campus. The Campus was burned down by moslem masses on 1 - 5 July 2000. On various occasions the Governor has asserted that the campus will be rebuilt. However, Rustam Kastor - and other moslems with him - is of the opinion that this university is too much christian dominated. He said that in that case "ten thousands of moslems would come and destroy this ‘christian’ campus again". Response to this statement by several christian leaders: Some say: "Such provocative words should not go unpunished". And: "Rustam Kastor once again proves himself to be a criminal and should be arrested". Others, however, warn: "Mind, Rustam Kastor speaks as a private person, not in the name of the moslem community".

3. PROTESTING GUS DUR - Today’s 'Suara Maluku' newspaper reports on a manifestation by several thousands of demonstrators in Ternate, capital of the province of the North Moluccas, on Monday, February 12, in which Gus Dur alias Abdurrahman Wahid is demanded to step down as the president of the Republic of Indonesia. The masses called themselves 'Gerakan Rakyat Maluku Utara Bersatu' (GRMUB) = Movement of Collective/Unified North Moluccas People, and 'Solidaritas Aksi Mahasiswa Untuk Rakyat Indonesia' (SAMURAI) = Students’ Solidarity Action for the Indonesian People. In his address, Anwar Ways, coordinator of the action, stated that the Gus Dur administration, which is in power now for its second year, apparently is not able to lead Indonesia to a more affluent condition (Note that Ternate is now 100% islam).

4. ARRIVAL OF JUDGES DELAYED - Chairman of the Provincial Judicial Court of the Moluccas, Mr. Th. Pudjiwahono, acknowledges that the arrival of seven additional judges who were appointed to the Court of Ambon in October 2000 for a period of two years, has been delayed up to now for no apparent reasons. He said he intended to write a letter to each of them.

5. BANK ACCOUNT - We were asked for the Bank account number of the 'Concerned Women Organisation' we reported about on February 10 (Report 136). Since others may wish to contribute as well, we provide it here: Bank 'ARTA GRAHA', Ambon, No. 070 021 5390 a/n Brigitina Renyaan (= maiden name of Sister Brigita).

Report no. 138

Ambon, February 17, 2001

1. CASUALTY IN HALONG - While collecting durian fruit not far from Halong Atas, East of the town of Ambon, Johni Saherlawan (32), a refugee from the island of Buru, was hit by a bullet and died. The shooting came supposedly from a group of moslems. Brief shooting between this group and local Marinir forces ensued. On several earlier occasions this area proved to be unsafe. Latest killings there - according to 'Suara Maluku' - happened last January 11th, when four people were killed.

2. WEAPONRY CONFISCATED - On Friday, February 16, the Combined Security Forces (Batalyon Infanteri Gabungan - Yongab) forced its way into the house of an islam civilian named Hasan, in the Ambon neighbourhood of Tanah Lapang Kecil, commonly shortened to 'Talake'. Besides 114 molotov cocktails, several hundreds of ammunition were found. Also one standard rifle, four home-made rifles and 5 home-made pistols were confiscated. Eight young men, aged between 13 and 35, were arrested. The ammunition was found in a case on which as the sender was written 'Yayasan Dana Sosial (YDSF) (Social Funds Foundation) Al Falak - Surabaya'.

3. WHY THE PATTIMURA UNIVERSITY IS CHRISTIAN DOMINATED - Rustam Kastor’s threat that he would see to it that the University Pattimura will be destroyed again if it is rebuilt, because this university is christian dominated (see Report 137 no. 2), evoked much reaction of the christians. But also from moslem side some are not afraid to mention the real cause of this 'christian domination'. Moslem lawyer Ridwan Hasan - according to 'Siwalima' newspaper - acknowledges that the only criterium of somebody being appointed as a lecturer, is a 'Fit and Proper Test'. Well, he says, we have to acknowledge that among moslems there is usually not much aspiration to become a university lecturer or even a teacher at secondary schools. Moslem abiturients of the University Pattimura prefer going back to their villages or engage themselves in trade and business. We must concede that this is the accurate reason that the university has a majority of christian professors and lecturers.

Report no. 139

Ambon, February 19, 2001

1. MOSLEMS RESCUE CHRISTIANS ' On Saturday February 17, at about 9.30 AM, speedboat 'Rogi' with 15 christian passengers aboard left Galala in the bay of Ambon bound for Gudang Arang, Ambon town. A suddenly arising gale caused the boat to capsize somewhere between Wayame at the northen shore of the bay and Batumerah at the southern shore of the bay. Three speedboats with muslims from Wayame immediately came to the rescue and took the unlucky passengers and the crew to the christian anchorage of Gudang Arang.

2. MOSLEM PRESENCE AT A CONFERENCE OF CHRISTIANS - The 'Angkatan Muda GPM' (Provincial Youth Organisation of the Moluccas Protestant Church) on occasion of the opening of their 25th Conference in Ambon, invited among others delegates from various local Moslem youth organisations. These happily accepted the invitation. 'Suara Maluku' newspaper reports that they intermingled well.

3. WARNING AGAINST RMS ASPIRATIONS - A statement has been issued by the F-PNK = Fraksi Pembela Negara Kesatuan ('Defensor of National Unity') regarding the 'manoevres' of the FKM = Front Kedaulatan Maluku (Moluccas Self-Government Front), which is led by Dr. Alex Manuputty. This widely spread F-PNK statement was dated February 18 and signed by its chairman, Thamrin Ely, and Secretary Drs.Achmad Wahulu. The statement points to the rather controversial declaration on self-government of the Moluccas by Dr. Manuputty on December 18, 2000 (see Report 122 No. 4). Several influential persons, including protestant and catholic church leaders, had then tried in vain to prevent such ambiguous declaration, since it 'smells of RMS-aspirations'. Afterwards Mr. Manuputty denied that he had any separative intentions. Now the F-PNK in its statement urges the Military to crack down on these 'RMS people' that want to establish an Alifuru/Maluku nation. And the Police is asked to go on with judirical measures against these separatists. Dr. Manuputty had been detained then but had been released shortly after under pressure of influential christians.

In 'Siswalima' we read a first reaction to this F-PNK statement, expressing sort of feeling bored about that endless and senseless accusing of christians being separatists. For instance Hentje Hilatessy, chairperson of the Amboina Credit Union, regrets that exactly Thamrin Ely, who is a member of the Civil Emergency Staff, utters such imputations which will only contribute to protracting the conflict.

4. SITUATION ON THE ISLAND OF KEI-BESAR - In the Kei Islands, S.E.Moluccas, there was a conflict between moslems and (mainly protestant) christians in March-April 1999, resulting in a considerable number of casualties and a huge loss of property and facilities. After reconciliation in May 1999, there has been no conflict any more. Still, a lot of people are still fearing that - especially by provocation from elsewhere - the conflict just might flare up again. In this context we read in today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper some information specifically concerning the island of Kei-Besar, provided by the local leading protestant minister, Mr. Agus Wenno, chairperson of Classis Kei-Besar, Elat. He says that since the attack on the village of Dangarut on May 3, 1999, there never has been an attack on any village at Kei Besar any more. Security in Elat, capital of Kei-Besar, is guaranteed for 80% now. Efforts to attain a full 100% of safety feeling are underway by means of dialogues and meetings of both parties. Mr. Wenno acknowledges that of three villages the christians still dare not return to their homesteads, namely Weduar Fer, Tutrean and Rerean.

5. NATIONAL DIALOGUE AT KEI-KECIL - The Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina in cooperation with the Go-East Institute at Jakarta and the local Government is preparing a three day 'National Dialogue on Revitalizing Local Culture for Rehabilitation and Development in the Moluccas towards a New Indonesia', which is to be held in Tual-Langgur, Kei-Kecil, S.E.Moluccas. One thousand participants are expected to be present at this special event, which is to take place on March 14-17, 2001. The participants consist of government and religion leaders, local influential persons, intellectuals, students, NGOs, tradesmen and local legislative councils, about 800 persons from the S.E.Moluccas, about 200 from Central and North Moluccas, with some delegates, too, from other Provinces.

6. We recommend reading: Testimony Before the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom - U.S. Policy Options on Indonesia, as delivered by Mr. Sidney Jones, Asia Director, Human Rights Watch, on February 13, 2001.
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THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 140 - 149
(February 21 - March 17, 2001)

Report no. 140

Ambon, February 21, 2001

1. VISIT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION - On February 20, a delegation of the European Union arrived at Ambon. Among the delegates were the Ambassadors of Swedia, the Netherlands, England and Kuwait, also delegates from Australia, Japan, USA and the European Union. Present were also the Indonesian Minister of 'Permukiman & Prasarana Wilayah' (Housing & Regional Facilities), Ir. Erna Witoelar.

The delegation on its travel from the airport to the town of Ambon by road (about 40 km) visited several sites, such as the villages of Laha, Wailete (where rebuilding activities have started), Hative Besar and Wayame (famous because of its mixed moslem/christian population, living in peace together). Next was the Campus of the Pattimura University at Poka (destroyed on July 2-4, 2000). Having rounded the bay, the group of delegates arrived at the naval base of Halong and met with the local moslem and christian refugees.

Having arrived at the town of Ambon, the evening was spent having a three hours’ meeting with the Governor and other civil, military and police officials at the Governor’s mansion in the neighbourhood of Manggadua. The delegates guaranteed their help in any any efforts to come to sincere dialogue and reconciliation in order to restore normal conditions in the Moluccas. The governor brought forth an eight item government planning, mentioning: handling of the refugees, housing, rebuilding of churches and mosques, rebuilding of public facilities, transportation, enhancing seriousness among the security forces, press coverage and jihad presence. In 2001, priority should be given to rebuilding the island of Ambon.

During this meeting the 'Bupati' (governmental head) of the Central Moluccas at Masohi (Ceram), Mr. Rudolf Rukka, asked for an additional battalion of security forces for the island of Ceram, because on that very large island unrest is flaring up again and again.

Today the delegation is visiting various sites in Ambon and will then go on to the North Moluccas (Ternate).

2. REFUGEES OF BURU DEMAND THEIR RIGHTS - Christian refugees from the island of Buru, many of whom now staying at the refugee camp of the naval base at Halong, island of Ambon, ask the government authorities to guarantee their rights, such as the right to return to their original homesteads and villages on the island of Buru, the right to cast their votes at the election of the 'Bupati' of Buru, the exposure of forced islamisation that happened on Buru, much the same as in Salas (Ceram) and on the islands of Kesui and Teor.

3. CANCELLING OF REPATRIATION - A planned repatriation of two thousand moslem refugees to the the village of Garua, Kecamatan (region) of Tobelo, North Halmahera (North Moluccas) was suddenly cancelled. They were due to leave for their original homesteads, for which longsheds already had been erected, on Tuesday, February 20. However, the day before a christian of Mamuya, near Tobelo, was killed, which enraged the local christians. The governor of the North Moluccas, Mr. Muhy Effendi, who himself was to accompany the returning refugees, dare not take the risk of renewed conflict and had no choice than aborting the project. It is apparent that somebody or a certain group in this way try to prevent the planned repatriation and reconciliation.

Report no. 141

Ambon, February 22, 2001

1. RENEWED ATTACK ON ALANG ASAUDE - On February 21, at about 7.00 AM, the village of Alang Asaude, at the most western tip of the island of Ceram was attacked by moslem masses. It was the third time this unlucky village had to face an assault (Earlier attacks took place on August 4, 2000, and on January 25, 2001, see Reports 32, 33 and 130). According to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper the attackers came from the direction of the village of Waisala, from the hamlet of Haununu and from the seaside. Since there are only 18 security forces stationed there, these could only try and guide the residents to safer places. However, they could not prevent three villagers being killed and one seriously injured. There is no mentioning of any casualties among either the assailants or the security forces. Only after reinforcements arrived, the invaders could be beaten off. The villagers have sought refuge in the nearby little town of Piru. In the village of Alang Asaude there are now just eight houses left undamaged.

2. CONCLUSION ON THE 'HOTEL WIJAYA-II' CASE - During the conflict between moslems and the combined security forces (Yon-Gab) at the border of the Ambon town neighbourhoods of Mardika and Batumerah last January 20-22, it had become apparent that the attackers’ central command was located in nearby hotel Wijaya II. Entering the place early in the morning of January 22, the Yon-Gab soldiers had arrested a number of Military and Police officers, among whom three high ranking officers, with their weapons. Besides officers, others, too, were arrested, up to a total of 40 persons (see Report 128 no.2 and Report 130 no.2). On January 26 an investigation team was sent from Jakarta by Supreme Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI), Widodo (see Report 131 no.1). A second team followed later on. Though regretting the loss of lives, Supreme Commander Widodo now stated that the combined forces had acted according to regulations. Their handling of the case of 'hotel Wijaya II' was called an example of correct action in such circumstances.

3. We add two attachments on the Kei Islands from the Uniting Church Overseas Aid, Australia
- MEDIA RELEASE: Kei Islands Emergency Riverland Mayoral Appeal (Australia)
- Kei Islands Emergency Relief Appeal Uniting Church Overseas Aid (Australia)
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Website Kei Islands Emergency Relief Appeal

Report no. 142

Ambon, February 27, 2001

1. INVOLVEMENT OF CATHOLICS IN THE CONFLICT - We read on Masariku Network, Digest Number 314, about investigation on religious persecution in Indonesia by a panel of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom on February 13, 2001. Among the witnesses there were two influential speakers from Indonesia - originally from the Moluccas - who presented clarifications on the conflict in the Moluccas:

Professor John Titaley - christian - said among other things: "The emergence of religious feelings which have encouraged the slaughtering of pastors and the burning down of church buildings . . . are seen as systematic attempts to eliminate historical records of Christianity in Maluku and Ambon in particular". Showing photographs of victims he has interviewed, Titaley told the commissioners about forced conversions to Islam and forced circumcisions of Christian men and women.

However, the other representative, Mr. Jusuf Ely, chairman of the Jaziratul Muluk Muslim organisation in Ambon, insisted that the conflict is not a religious war. He said litterally: "The conflict is involving Muslim and Christian Protestant only, but not with Christian Catholic. The provocateurs use the religion issues and local value issues to blow up the conflict."

This is where we - being catholics - strongly protest. Though of course not meant to put forward a 'divide et impera' insinuation, nevertheless such statement is apt to endanger christian unity in the Moluccas. About 90% of the catholics in the Central and North Moluccas are transmigrants from the S.E.Moluccas (Kei, Tanimbar, Aru), and also from the island of Flores and elsewhere; so they initially just stood aside wondering what afwul things were happening here. They even - led by their bishop Msgr. P.C.Mandagi - initially played an import role in reconciliation efforts. But it soon became apparent that they were the target of the moslems no less than the protestants. An example: though constituting a mere 5% of the population of both Moluccas Provinces, they saw 60 of their church buildings destroyed; whereas the protestants - more than 40% of the population - had 'only' 120 church buildings destroyed. We will be glad to provide more detailed information on this subject when asked to.

2. PROVOCATION - According to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper, a speech by Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah leader Jaffar Umar Thalib was broadcasted on local Al-Fatah moslem radio at 8.00 - 9.00 hrs.AM on January 26. Though not provocative to the same extent as his famous lecture in the Al-Fatah Mosque on September 3rd, 2001, nevertheless - again - he accused the Moluccas Protestant Church (GPM) and the Bishop of Amboina of trying to protract the conflict, hereby cooperating with the military and police forces with as ultimate goal: the annihilation of the moslems in the Moluccas. Commenting on Jaffar Umar Thalib’s accusations, protestant minister I.D.Toisuta said that for the Moluccans themselves, being used to such unrealistic rhetorics, speeches like these do not have much influence. But when heard and spread outside the Moluccas, these words might induce unrest elsewhere.

Likewise the regular bulletins that are being e-mailed by the Forum Komunikasi 'Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah' at Yogyakarta, usually contort the facts, and relentlessly keep accusing the christians in the Moluccas of RMS and separatist aspirations. Also any arising conflict, even the latest assault on Alang Asaude - according to this Forum - is in some way or other caused by the christians.

We are happy to see that in Ambon itself moslems grow in eagerness to come to sincere reconciliation.

3. MOSLEMS WANT RECONCILIATION - Recently a 'Musyawarah Umat Islam' (Islam Community Meeting) was held in Ambon. Mr. Hasbullah Toisutta from the Islam Religion Academy (STAIN = Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam Negeri) at Ambon declared to 'Siwalima' newspaper that this meeting was focused on internal consolidation in order to come to a process of reconciliation. The Moluccan Moslem Community wants to rebuild the Moluccas physically but also to learn again living together in peace with others, who are of different religion or etnic lineage, as Indonesian citizens. He said that these meetings will be continued in the hope that some time both conflicting parties may meet and convene holding a 'musyawarah basudara rakyat Maluku' (meeting of Moluccan brothers). He hoped that both sides - in organizing such meetings - will come to common perception of the situation and will put aside any mutual mistrust.

Report no. 143

Ambon, March 1, 2001

1. MARINERS POST SHOT AT - A mariners sentry post at Halong-Atas, east of the town of Ambon, unexpectedly and for no apparent reason was assaulted by a fusillade from the direction of the moslem site of Kebun Cengkeh at 7.30 PM on February 28. The mariners answered the gunfire, and got enforcements meanwhile. Local residents panicked. No casualties were reported.

2. MOSLEMS READY TO OPPOSE MOLUCCAN CHRISTIAN SEPARATISTS - Ten islam organisations, united in the 'Front Pembela Islam Maluku' (Front of Moluccan Islam Defense) agree and are determined to oppose any RMS uprising and separatist activities of the christian Moluccans that - according to them - incessantly harass the authority of the Indonesian Government. Their statement was issued on February 26 and was reported - among others - to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper. They said that the moslem Moluccans since ages had opposed the European nations that had come to Indonesia and to the Moluccas in order to christianize them and subjugate them with the doctrine 'Gospel-Gold-Glory'. In this christian colonization effort missionaries from Europe with their force and power had christianized moslems in the Moluccas for more than 350 years. Since the declaration of Indonesian Indepence on August 17, 1945, the Moluccas have been an integral part of the Republic of Indonesia, and no RMS/FKM christian separatist movement was to be tolerated.

3. THE GOVERNOR ON THE MASSMEDIA - On January 9, the Governor as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State decided to install a Committee for Censoring Newsbulletins. However, this bridling of the press was never enforced.

'Jakarta Post' newspaper of February 28 reports on a meeting titled 'Journalism in Conflict', organized by the British Council, the National Press Board and the Independent Journalists’ Alliance (AJI). The meeting was held in Bogor, West Java. At a session with the press council’s chairman Atmakusumah Asraatmadja on February 26, the Governor of the Moluccas, Dr M.Saleh Latuconsina, urged the National Press Council to help the media in 'telling the truth and being objective in reporting the Maluku case'. He said: "Many national media have run stories that are completely at odds with the true facts and they have a tendency to exploit incidents which could arouse anger in both the Muslim and Christian camps... It is hard to keep things under control in Maluku with so many misleading reports". Latuconsina further singled out a Jakarta-based daily which in several of its editions had employed bombastic titles and partial reporting.

Report no. 144

Ambon, March 3, 2001

1. ENTRY TO NORTH MOLUCCAS RESTRICTED - The governor of the Province of the North Moluccas, Muhyi Effendie, confirms that the North Moluccas are closed to people from outside, both Indonesians and foreigners if they cannot prove to have a proper reason to enter the area. According to 'Jakarta Post' 28/2/2001, thirteen foreigners have been deported from the North Moluccas for illegal entry during the recent period of January and February. "The last to be deported were two Australians, one American and one New Zealander," North Maluku Police chief Adj. Snr. Commr. Zulkarnain told press agency 'Antara'. Earlier, on January 26, the police deported three Dutchmen who planned to attend the meeting of the Christian community in Halmahera, together with six others from Pakistan.

Governor Muhyi, who is also the responsible of the civilian emergency, stressed he will not allow foreigners to enter Halmahera, Morotai, Bacan, Ternate and the neighbouring areas before the security situation in those areas improves.

"The North Moluccas government and the Military are always ready to assist humanitarian or aid efforts, but we will not allow foreigners who are involved in other activities", Muhyi said as quoted by 'Antara'.

2. GPM SYNOD - Tomorrow the GPM (Gereja Protestan Maluku = Moluccan Protestant Church) will open its 34th Synod or Congress. Synods are organized once in every five years. GPM Chairman Sammy Titaley explained to the mass media - as was shown on this evening’s TV broadcasting - about this Synod which is to take place in Ambon and will last up to March 14. Each of the 25 Classis of the Moluccas and North Moluccas will be presented by 7 delegates. Including observers, total presence will amount to about 400 persons. The Synod will focus its main attention to the following four items: (1) reconciliation 'with our Salam (moslem) brothers'; (2) return of all refugees to their original homesteads; (3) physical rebuilding and rehabilitation; (4) enabling those who will return to their homesteads, to make their living as they used to. Also will be stressed internal consolidation. Another important item is the election of a new GPM Chairperson for the next five year period. Mr. Sammy Titaley asked for prayers that God’s wisdom may be granted to the participants, especially in electing a new Chairperson.

Report no. 145

Ambon, March 6, 2001

1. GPM SYNOD - On March 4 the GPM (Gereja Protestan Maluku = Moluccan Protestant Church) opened its 34th Synod, which is to last to March 14. In his opening address Minister Sammy Titaley STh, chairman of this largest and most influential of the Protestant Churches in the Moluccas, provided a summing up of the situation of the GPM after more that two years of bloody conflict in the Moluccas: 2000 church members killed, including several ministers; 179 protestant communities scattered; 190.000 church members live as refugees; 192 church buildings destroyed; destroyed also 8 Classis offices with all of their inventories.

Sincerety of faith among the protestants has often been replaced by explosions of emotion and craving for wrath, which displayed itself in words and acts very contrary to christian doctrine. For many people faith in Christ the Saviour all but vanished and was replaced by brutal craving for revenge, expressed by numerous acts of violence like killing, burning and destroying other people’s properties - expressed also by extreme pusillanimity and lack of trust in the Lord. He urgently asked these christians to repent and ask forgiveness to the almighty God.

Present at the Synod as observers are also 25 delegates from protestant Churches in the Netherlands.

2. THE 'CRISIS CENTRE' - After reading or perusing quite a lot of reports issued by the 'Crisis Centre Diocese of Amboina', one may ask who or what is actually this Crisis Centre.

Since religion plays an important role in the life of everybody here, people in need often turn to their religious leaders for help. When in July 1999 there were signals that conflict in the Moluccas had still a long way to go, and that also the catholics became target of attacks and destruction, the Bishop of Amboina, Monseigneur Petrus Canisus Mandagi msc, decided to organize the role of the Catholic Church in the arena of the conflict by erecting this Crisis Centre.

It now consists of four full-time and five part-time members. Its headquarters are in the Diocesan Pastoral Centre building in Ambon, subdivisions are in Tual-Langgur (Kei Islands) and Saumlaki (Tanimbar Islands).

Initially its main focus was directed at intervening in the conflict, but principal attention soon shifted to humanitarian aid to those in need, regardless of creed. Much has been done and is still being done by the Crisis Centre in cooperation with the government, with Protestant Churches and with several Diocesan NGOs, most of all 'Rinamakana' and the 'St.Lucas Foundation'. Humanitarian aid was and is provided in matters of rescuing refugees, arranging transport for those who had/have to leave their homesteads, establishing refugees camps, building barraques, providing food, medical care, education and formation. Other activities include gathering information about the fighting, sending out regular reports (since June, 2000), partaking in reconciliation efforts, compiling data, providing financial help in urgent cases, creating jobs by enhancing agriculture, home industry and small business etc.

Though incidentally there are still killings and attacks, however, as a whole the situation seems to be fairly under control now, and the Crisis Centre, looking ahead, is aware that apart from mental and spiritual rehabilitation, now it has to intensify its endeavours in matters of activating refugees, building temporary quarters to stay in (barraques or longsheds). Much attention is also paid to financially enabling students to continue their studies at the local universities and academies. Later on we may be able to assist in repatriation of the refugees to their original homesteads and helping them to start anew there. In all these activities the Crisis Centre does not close its eyes on the needs of Protestant and Muslim victims. However, in matters of physical rehabilitation, the damage of many catholic communities is so enormous that in this field the Centre has to restrict itself to the catholics. We cannot even think of rebuilding the more than 60 catholic churches, the hospitals and other medical centres, the numerous schools and convents that have been destroyed - we care in the first place for the thousands of catholics that have had their houses burned down and destroyed and are now living in inadequate shelters. Apart from the efforts of the government and a number of NGOs, the Protestant Churches and the Moslem communities are carrying out similar programs.

The Crisis Centre is grateful for the many expressions of sincere concern and for the promise of prayers, received via e-mail or telephone, for the multiple contacts with officials and reporters, both from Indonesia itself and from other countries, who - having come to Ambon - gave evidence of their sincere concern. Last but not least we are grateful for financial assistance by agencies and private persons enabling the Centre to continue its mission - though we must admit that this aspect is more and more worrying us. We will appreciate financial help, especially in order to be able to effectuate our main focus for the near future: activating refugees and providing more decent shelters for them, especially for the thousands of refugees in Kei and Tanimbar.

God bless you.

Report no. 146

Ambon, March 12, 2001

1. NATIONAL DIALOGUE AT KEI-KECIL - The Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina, in cooperation with the Go-East Institute at Jakarta and the local Government, organizes a three day 'National Dialogue on Revitalizing Local Culture for Rehabilitation and Development in the Moluccas towards a New Indonesia', in Tual-Langgur, Kei-Kecil, S.E.Moluccas. More than one thousand participants are gathering for this special event, which is to take place on March 14-17, 2001. The participants consist of government and religion leaders, local influential persons, intellectuals, students, NGOs, delegates from various organisations, tradesmen and local legislative councils: about 800 persons from the S.E. Moluccas, about 250 from Central and North Moluccas, with delegates from other Provinces, too. The 250 participants from the Central Moluccas left by 'Rinjani' passengership for Tual today: catholics, protestants and muslims in touching brother(and sister-)hood, as was shown on local TV. There will be intense coverage by TV and other newsmedia on this important event. Speakers at this National Dialogue will be among others: The Coordinating Minister for Political, Social and Security Affairs, Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Keynote Speaker), Dr.Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina (Governor of the Moluccas), Prof.Dr. Taufik Abdullah (chairman of the National Institue of Sciences of Indonesia/LIPI), Dr.Ignas Kleden (Director of The Go-East Institute, Jakarta), Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan (Chairman Crisis Centre Diocese of Amboina), M.J.Papilaya MS and many others as speakers and/or panelists.

2. NORTH MOLUCCAS - We had a telephone conversation with Father Titus Rahail Jr, parish priest of Tobelo in the North Moluccas. He told that the situation is under control. Little by little refugees are returning to their homesteads in the various regions of the island of Halmahera. Also a number of christians has returned to the island of Bacan. Father Titus wondered what will happen to the christians of Bacan who had been islamized. According to the Protestant Advocacy Team (TPG) in Ambon, the about 1500 residents of the village of Lata-Lata (island of Bacan) had forcibly become muslims since February 5, 2000. The same happened to an unknown number of residents of the nearby village of Waringin and several other villages. Up to now nothing is heard of special efforts to handle this violation of Human Rights. (Fr. Tigus can be reached by telephone on 0062 - (0)924 - 21655 / 21476).

Report no. 147

Ambon, March 14, 2001

1. DELEGATION FROM THE NETHERLANDS VISITS AMBON - On March 12 a delegation with religious background arrived at Ambon. This delegation, which intends to stay in Ambon up to March 16, consists of representatives of the Dutch interfaith Moluccan organisation 'Hain', the Dutch Council of Mosques, and the Global Ministries of the Uniting Churches in the Netherlands. Since last November they have joined their actons for the population of the Moluccas as a whole in the so-called 'Aksi Selamat'. This delegation meanwhile has visited government and religious leaders and has had talks with various organisations that are involved in reconciliation efforts and humanitarian aid to the victims of violence. Also several refugees sites have been visited.

2. CONFUSING DECLARATION GUS DUR - On of the reasons put forward by Abdurrahman Wahid alias Gus Dur not to resign as the Presiden of the Republic of Indonesia is the danger of his resigning might cause desintegration of the nation: Provinces like Aceh, Moluccas and Papua will proclaim independence, he said. Political leaders in Ambon are astonished to learn such allegation. John Mailoa, vice chairperson of the Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD Maluku) declared to newspaper 'Suara Maluku' that Gus Dur is just trying to find support. For there is no intention what-so-ever among the Moluccans to establish an independent nation. The same was said by Richard Louhenapessy, chairperson of the Golkar Party fraction of the DPRD Maluku. He said, that since the Moluccas went along with other regions giving birth to the Republic of Indonesia, they now will not segregate. He, too, deplored Gus Dur’s statement.

3. INVOLVEMENT OF FOREIGN COUNTRIES - During an interview by 'Antara' news agency, the R.C. Bishop of Amboina, Msgr. P.C.Mandagi, called on the Indonesian Government not to feel ashamed of asking for assistance by foreign countries in matters of security and politics, in order to forestall any disintegration of the nation. There are 'evil forces' at work in this country, he said. Indonesia asks for assistance of the IMF in the economic field; why should it not do the same in the fields of security and politics? These 'evil forces', under disguise of religious discord, apparently have moved now to Sampit/Palangkaraya. Who guarantees that they will not go on to Java and elsewhere, trying to disrupt the whole nation?

Report no. 148

Ambon, March 14, 2001

1. NATIONAL DIALOGUE AT KEI - Today the more than a thousand participants, gathering from the whole Moluccas, were ready to start the three day 'National Dialogue on Revitalizing Local Culture for Rehabilitation and Development in the Moluccas towards a New Indonesia' in Tual-Langgur, Kei-Kecil, S.E.Moluccas (see Report 146 no. 1). Large tents have been set up at the Msgr. Aerts Memorial site near the shore at the village of Langgur. The participants have been received with much exultation by the local population with dances according to local tradition. Eight villages were appointed as hosts to the guests. Only one thing failed this morning: the chartered airplane from Jakarta has stranded in Makasar due to some technical defect. On the plane are keynote-speaker Mr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Coordinating Minister for Political, Social and Security Affairs and several other speakers and panelists. It is expected that the airplane will arrive at Tual tomorrow and that the National Dialogue can be opened at 11.00 AM.

2. NOSTALGIA - We wonder why the Communication Forum 'Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah' at Yogyakarta by its regular bulletins keeps on mistrusting the sincere intentions of the christians in the Moluccas, while constantly calling them 'infidels' and 'RMS'. We have kind of 'nostalgic' feelings to the time when the conflict was still a purely Moluccas conflict and there was no interfering from outside. Allow us to recall to mind a COMMON APPEAL from and to the ISLAM AND CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL in the Moluccas, dated 22 January 1999 (when the conflcit was three days old}:

We, Islam and Christian Believers in the Moluccas, while evaluating the situation and condition which come upon us on the island of Ambon, appeal to everybody:

(1) The Islam and Christian Communities to be consistent in maintaining their unity in matters of religion and not to be influenced by various negative insinuations or provocations from and by anyone ore anywhere which intend to destroy our Pela and Gandong and to disintegrate society.

(2) To maintain the brotherhood between those who are from different faiths, and honour the Human Rights; not to indulge in attacking one another, destroying, burning people’s possessions, facilities and houses, shops, markets - so that wil be restored peace and harmony for the sake of the nation.

(3) In order to protect the inter-religious unity in the Moluccas, especially on the island of Ambon, we do not tolerate anybody from outside to disrupt our society.

(4) We appeal to the police and military forces to take forceful measures according to the law, fair and just, without favouring one to another.

Thus this our appeal which we issue in close togetherness.

Ambon, January 22, 1999

LEADERS OF ISLAM AND CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL in the Moluccas,

1/ Chairman of the Synod of the Moluccas Protestant Church (signed) Pdt. Sammy Titaley

2/ Bishop of the Diocese of Amboina (signed) Msgr.P.C.Mandagi MSC

3/ Chairman MUI Maluku (signed) H.R.R.Hasanussy

4/ Chairman of the Community of Al-Fatah Mosque, Ambon (signed) H.Abd.Soulissa

Known to the Governor of the Moluccas Province (signed) Dr.Ir. M.S.Latuconsina

So far this quotation. Though belatedly, effectuation of its contents might solve the problem and put an end to the conflict.

Report no. 149

Ambon, March 17, 2001

1. NEW CHAIRPERSON GPM SYNOD - On March 15, the last day of the Synodal Conference of the Moluccas Protestant Church (GPM), the Synod Chairman for the next period (2001-2005) was elected. The chosen one - to replace Pendeta Sammy Titaley, chairman during the period 1996-2000 - was Pendeta Dr. I.W.J. Hendriks. As the Secretary General was elected Pendeta S.J. (Buce) Mailoa. Majority of the votes for the offices of Vice Chairpersons I & II went to Pendeta L.Lohy and Pendeta H.S.Leleury. General opinion, also from the side of the catholics and the moslems, was in favour of the elected persons.

2. VICTIM IN WANATH - Wanath is a moslem hamlet not far from the larage Moslem village of Hitu on the North coast of the island of Ambon. The executive Secretary of the moslem Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), Malik Selang, declared to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper that in the evening of March 15 a wedding took place in Wanath, during which there arose a conflict between several youths. This resulted in the death of one young man, being stabbed. Jakarta based Newspaper 'Kompas' mentions his name as Nyon Nunlehu, resident of Hitu. Hitu was enraged and came to attack Wanath. They burned down several houses, but there was no mentioning of any further casualties. The Wanath residents fled to the military quarters at Waiheru to the south, on the northern coast of the bay. This happening might be seen as an indication of rapidly deteriorating sense of morality: killing and burning have become the common way of quarreling and taking revenge.

3. CORRECTING PERCEPTION ON THE 'AGAS' - On March 14 a USA based newspaper published an article on child warriors in the Moluccas, which was quoted also on several websites. It was titled: 'My job is to throw bombs and burn houses, Moluccan boy says / Christian and Moslem youths are on front lines of a deadly conflict both sides call a holy war'. Investigation on this point - among others - was done at the half-finished Catholic cathedral church (which happens also to be the quarters of our Crisis Centre). The cathedral parish of St. Francis Xavier has indeed 42 youths in protection, the two youngest of whom are thirteen years of age. There are quite a few among them who have killed people and burned houses. Most of them have lost close family members: parents or/and siblings. Most of them have nowhere to go. Most of them are protestants. Because of their young age and small stature, they are called 'Agas' (Agas is a tiny kind of fly which can bite people mercilessly). Both parish priests ensure that these boys are taken care of well: they are sent to school and they get guidance to prepare them for normal life. But none these priests 'prayed and gave them [blessed] water to drink in order to expell their bad feelings after burning houses and killing people' - like is written in the article. We were asked questions on this point by several e-mailers, so we want to stress that no such thing ever happened.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 150 - 159
(March 19 - April 2, 2001)

Report no. 150

Ambon, March 19, 2001

1. NATIONAL DIALOGUE LANGGUR - On Sunday, March 18, the inter-religious 'National Dialogue on Revitalizing Local Culture for Rehabilitation and Development in the Moluccas towards a New Indonesia' in Tual-Langgur, Kei-Kecil, was closed. One of its recommendations - called the Pesan Langgur - said: "On behalf of our belief in God Almighty and in order to enhance human values and dignity, we, the participants of the National Dialogue, have reached an accord to proclaim what we will call 'The Langgur Recommendation'" i.e. "The firm and unvacillating intent to find a solution to end the conflict and the violence which up to now have unsettled the Moluccas and North Moluccas". It was also agreed upon that the dialogue at Langgur had to be seen as a step in the ongoing process of dialogue to end the conflict, encompassing all those who are involved in the unrest. Though there will always be religious and ethnic differences, however, adat (local custom) and especially adat houses should be permanent meeting points for all . The participants also pledged - after returning to their locations in the Moluccas and North Moluccas - to be ambassadors of the Langgur Recommendation.

2. BOMB BLASTS - Yesterday afternoon three bomb blasts were heard, followed by the sound of gunfire at the border of Mardika / Batumerah, Ambon town, stunning local residents. Afterwards these terrifying sounds turned out to have been only been meant as expressions of joy on occasion of a wedding...

3. EARTHQUAKE - More terrifying were the rather violent tremors that were felt in Ambon town at about 03.00 PM, 03.15 PM and 05.30 PM this afternoon. According to information via local TV, the epicentre was at a distance of about 60 Km south-west of Ambon. It had a force of 5.8 on the Richter scale. In Ambon it caused minor damage to several buildings.

Report no. 151

Ambon, March 20, 2001

We read the following reports on Masariku Network (by Arie Drentje):

1. EXCERPT FROM CONSOLIDATED SITUATION REPORT No. 15, 09 - 16 March 2001 UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) 16 Mar 2001

a) General Situation - The past week has been quieter than the previous one and has been dominated by a number of positive initiatives.

b) A National Dialogue Committee is currently being held (14-17 March) in Tual, Southeast Maluku. Some 200 Muslim and Christian participants travelled together from Ambon on the same ferry - in itself a big step forward. The Dialogue aims to bring people together from the whole province to propose ways to rehabilitate all aspects of their communities and to work towards reconciliation. The cultural principles of tolerance inherent in Maluku are being used as basis for the way forward. About 1,500 people are participating.

c) The Baku Bae (peace and reconciliation advocacy) team is presently in Ambon meeting with local public and community leaders primarily pushing for establishing neutral areas, mostly intended for economic activities such as traditional markets run jointly by Muslims and Christians. Two specific locations have been identified, namely Nania village and Pohon Pule in Ambon City. Opening up of land routes is also on the agenda, to overcome the segregation and division between the parties to the conflict. The Baku Bae reconciliation team has conducted a series of road shows involving informal and formal leaders of both camps in the cities of Denpasar, Yogyakarta and Makassar.

d) Although movement is still restricted along the road through Pohon Mangga, it has been officially open to traffic during the last week. The opening is significant, as the road was closed for at least eight months.

e) 'Suara Maluku' daily reported Tuesday that the local leaders and head of villages in Wahai sub-District, Northern Seram, of both Muslim and Christian faiths decided late last month to reject the presence of the Laskar Jihad. The Central Maluku military commander Lt. Col. Alfa Narande hailed the decision, saying it would pave the way to reconciliation and recommended that this example be followed.

f) 'Siwalima:' daily reported Tuesday that a group of Muslim lawyers have announced their readiness to defend the daily's editorial staff (perceived to be dominated by Christians) from an accusation by a Muslim leader, Thamrin Ely, who accused the daily of defamation. The daily alleged he was not taking his parliamentary duties seriously but instead socializing.

g) Food Security - Action contre la Faim (AcF) finalised the last exclusive food distribution in northern Buru. During the next distribution (planned for the end of April), seeds and tools distribution will take over, although it will be accompanied by food one last time to cover the period before the harvest. AcF is currently distributing food and hygienic products in Central Seram targeting about 40,000 people. During the coming week some 10,000 people will be targeted also in Seram Barat sub-district.

h) The local press reported Saturday that governor Saleh Latuconsina said the Japanese would donate Rp3.39b (US$340,000) to support food distribution in Maluku, including Buru Island, Southeast Maluku, Central Maluku, and Ambon municipality.

2. NORTH MALUKU

a) General Situation - The general situation in North Maluku is calm and no security incidents were reported during the past week.

b) Campaigns and lobbying for the election of the new Governor continue. Candidates are trying to muster the support of the provincial Parliament, which has members from five political parties, with Golkar holding the majority of seats. The elections are likely to take place at the end of April.

c) USAID/OTI and the Provincial Government of North Maluku signed four MoUs regarding the procurement, transport and offloading of basic building materials to support IDPs returning to their home areas. The materials, worth a total amount of US$309,000, will be used for the reconstruction of houses in Galela, Tobelo, Malifut, Jailolo, Sahu and Bacan. The delivery of the construction materials to the above-mentioned areas is expected to be completed in one month.

d) The Governor of North Maluku and the Embassy of Japan signed a grant contract in Jakarta. Of the total US$540,000 Japanese contribution, US$177,000 are intended for the transportation of relief supplies and displaced persons back to their home areas in North Maluku. Another US$88,343 will be used for education. The Ministry of National Education will be responsible for the construction of emergency school buildings for returnee children.

e) IDP Issues/Population movements - On 13 March, 52 Christian families (221 people) returned to Bacan Island from Tobelo. The North Maluku Governor and the North Maluku district head received the returnees, who have been accommodated in barracks, which have 50 rooms and 10 bathrooms.

f) The government of North Maluku is planning to start the return of around 4,000 Christian IDPs from Bacan, North Maluku currently living on Seram Island, Maluku, by the end of April.

g) A delegation sponsored by the Irian Jaya government is in Ternate to discuss the return of about 8,000 IDPs currently living in Sorong sub-district, Irian Jaya.

h) Food Security - AcF is registering IDPs for distribution of food in Bacan and Gane Timur sub-districts.

i) Health - ICRC and the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) conducted a health survey in Gane Timur sub-district. Médecins du Monde (MDM) was involved in health activities in Jailolo, Sahu, Ibu and Makian sub-districts. WVI distributed 778 kg of Vitadele (complementary food for children) and infant nutrient food to 606 children in 13 villages on Ternate Island. International Medical Corps (MCI) continued with medical consultations for patients in Kao, Morotai and Galela sub-districts. An Indonesian surgeon replaced the expatriate doctor, who will be stationed in Posi Posi, Rao sub-district. Médecins Sans Frontières-F (MSF-F), in cooperation with Labuha Puskesmas (community health centre) trained cadres and midwives at Sayoang and Babang camps in Bacan sub-district.

j) Water and Sanitation - MSF-F in Ternate monitored their water and sanitation activities and conducted bacteria tests in wells at four camps. MDM is working on a new plan for water and sanitation in some returnee areas of Jailolo, Kao, Sahu and Malifut, North Halmahera district.

k) Distribution of Non-food Items - ICRC continues distributing family kits in Loloda sub-district. Exact figures will be reported next week. WVI distributed family kits in Tobelo and seeds and farming tools in Kao. Exact figures could not be obtained.

l) AcF conducted an assessment of agricultural products in Doi village, in Loloda sub-district, North Halmahera. The mission report is being finalised.

Report no. 152

Ambon, March 22, 2001

1. DEATH OF CHRISTIAN LEADER - In the evening of Tuesday, March 20, christian 'grassroots' leader Agus Wattimena, was killed by a gunshot. It is still under investigation who in fact pulled the trigger: he himself or somebody else - and by what motivation. Though being an opponent of any violence, however, each time christians in Ambon were confronted with attacks, he led the christian militia defending life and property. He had often the opportunity to proffer his opinion on the conflict and its sources. May he rest in peace.

The Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah at Yogyakarta, via its daily bulletin, acknowledged the moslems’ loathing towards Agus Wattimena, not only because he was looked upon as an extreme separatist, but also because of his role as the 'Laskar Kristus' chief officer. We read: 'During the conflict in Ambon . . . Agus Wattimena was the leader of the Laskar Kristus and butchered hundreds of moslems, also expelled hundreds of thousands of moslems from the island of Ambon'.

2. 25 APRIL, DAY OF THE RMS? - Next April 25, the RMS exists 51 years. There are rumours in Ambon that on that date christians will put out the RMS flag. However, christian leaders once again stress that in Ambon the RMS is extinct. Malik Selang, secretary of the moslem MUI Maluku guarantees that from moslem side there will be not any violence on that day. Anyhow, security forces will be on the alert to forestall any irregularities.

3. MOSLEMS BACK TO DISCIPLINE - The Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah at Yogyakarta reports on March 21 that it has an open eye for internal misbehaviour, caused by the 'religious war' between moslems and christians in Ambon. At the initiative of the Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, a number of influential moslems and delegates from the government and the security forces have agreed to stamp out all kinds of misconduct, especially prostitution, gambling and drunkenness. The reason of these measures is that, if these practices were to go on, unity and jihad spirit will gradually vanish and islam fervour will dwindle. A number of persuasive and repressive procedures will be effectuated starting at 1 Muharam 1422 or Monday March 26, 2001.

Report no. 153

Ambon, March 24, 2001

1. WITHDRAWAL COMBINED BATTALION - The present conducive situation in the Moluccas is mainly attributed to the firm stand of the Military Combined Battalion (Batalyon Gabungan or Yon-Gab). However, it has already been decided that this battalion will be withdrawn from the Moluccas within short. They have been on duty in the Moluccas for seven months now, and will be replaced by other troops. However, at least the christians urge the military leaders to come back on this decision and maintain these special troops that have proved their reliability.

2. MUTUAL SHOOTING - Last night, starting at about 9.00 pm up to 10.15 pm, residents of Galala, Tantui and Halong Atas, at the eastern outskirts of the town of Ambon, panicked when a lot of shooting was heard. According to “Suara Maluku” daily newspaper, it started with an attack of about 15 rioters on a Mariner post at Halong Atas. Shortly afterwards shooting also came from the direction of moslem dominated mountain Malintang and was directed at the Security Post of battalion 521/Brawijaya in Galala. These actions were answered with a fusillades from the military. In this incident stray bullets wounded two moslem civilians. There was a concentration of moslem masses from Batumerah up to Tantui. This event is another indication that the current conducive situation in Ambon is still labile. Information from several individuals mention an influx of fresh jihad troops, and jihad military training activities in various sites, such as in Waai, Poka and Air Besar, as if getting ready for a major attack – though up to now hereabout nothing has been mentioned in local newsmedia. Anyhow, tenseness in Ambon is building up again.

Report no. 154

Ambon, March 24, 2001

1. MISINFORMATION BY LASKAR JIHAD COMMUNICATION FORUM - Last Thursday, March 22, the deceased christian leader Agus Wattimena was buried. The burial was attended not only by many common people, but also by representatives of the chief commanders of the military and police forces. In honour of the deceased leader, there were salvos of gunfire. Next day the Laskar Jihad Communication Forum at Yogyakarta in one of its regular e-mail bulletins reported on what happened after the burial: "The RMS dissidents attacked the military forces in the villages of Kudamati and Batugantung, Ambon... Making use of molotov cocktails and organic weaponry, these agitators spouted numerous fusillades towards the military forces, starting at 5.00 pm up to 6.30 pm. Being thus assaulted by these insurgents, the military responded by even more powerful gunfire..etc." We just want to ask: when will this unholy twisting of facts by this Communication Forum stop? For in fact that afternoon not any shot was fired except firing in the air in honour of a hero.

2. LETTER TO CHRISTINA SAGAT C.S. - We received by e-mail an open letter from a Miriam Abdulah to a Christina Sagat c.s. part of which we will try to translate from Indonesian into English. First some explanation. Christina Sagat is a catholic woman from the island of Kesui (or: Keswui). During the last week of November 2000, local moslem jihads, coming from the island of Gorong (or: Gorom) and from elsewhere launched a surprise attack on the christians on the tiny island of Kesui, south-east of Ceram. Since the christians had nowhere to flee to, all of them were rounded up and forced to become islam. Both males and females were circumcised, totalling about a thousand people. Reports on it can be found in our earlier reports, starting at Report no. 96, November 25, 2000.

Dear Sister of mine, Christina Sagat and Friends,

How sad I felt on learning that in these modern times there are still people being forced and threatened not only to abjure their faith but also to follow a faith which is not according to their belief. Adding to my sadness was the fact that this coercion was carried out by my islam brothers (Laskar Jihad) towards their own fellow Indonesians. In fact, I had already learned these rumours quite some time before, but I simply did not believe them, for my mind, like many other moslems’ minds have been indoctrinated with the allegation that it is the christians who always carry out christianisation, whereas we, moslems, never do any islamizing.

Our big mistake is that we always regard the christians in historical perspective as if the christians never change and never can perceive that human existence and circumstances have become more and more diverse.

However, this rumour about Islamisation under pressure became a topic which was talked about in the parliaments of England and the USA, in the UNO and in Australia. And specifically some moslem friends of mine succeeded in convincing me that this forced islamisation was not just a rumour but a fact. So I felt very rueful, and most moslems felt the same way.

Up to now we not voiced our regret. But this does not mean that we agree to these practices. We just feel sad and ashamed. Faced with this situation we do not know what to say, especially what to say to you. We feel so utterly sorry that this had to befall to you and your friends and relatives...

I hope and I pray that the MUI [Majelis Ulama Indonesia - leading Moslem Board] will have the humility to speak up and will apologize to you and your fellow-christians in the name of us, the moslem community. However, this letter of mine will hardly influence them to take such step. But I am convinced that a lot of moslems in Indonesia with heart and soul wish to apologize to you for what has been done to you by the trickery of a small minority of ours in forcing you to forswear your faith. Bluntly spoken, this forced islamisation is done based on the perception of some of us who have the utopian conviction that, if the whole of Indonesia becomes islam, Indonesia will become a disciplined country without any unrest. Apparently there are among us who close their eyes on what was and is happening in countries like Iran or even Afghanistan: instead of peace, there is chaos and despotism there. Of course it is not the Islam as a religion which is to blame, but certain people’s interpretation of the Islam, because of their craving for power and using the Islam to serve their purpose...

I hope and I pray that you, my sister Christina, will not be haunted by selfdeprecation and feelings of guilt because of the renouncing of your faith. I am sure that Allah in Whom we believe as the Allmerciful, Who is full of Love, will forgive you your renouncement which you did under pressure. The sin is not on you, but on those who forced you to do this and who threatened your life... Allah still has a sufficient amount of forgiveness in stock for you. [ Miriam goes on explaining rather extensively that any forced islamisation is very contrary to islam teaching. Islam teaches that moslems should respect Jews and Christians, because it is also by them that Allah reveals Himself. Ibrahim is our common forefather in the faith. And Nabi Isa - the Prophet Jesus - plays a central role in the Islam ].

I know that these words of regretfulness will not sufficiently heal the suffering you had/have to endure, but I am convinced of your magnanimity by which you will be able to forgive...

- Your sister, Mirian Abdulah

Note: Next Tuesday Christina will leave for Jakarta together with some other islamized christians from several other islands, to give testimony. Likewise some islam victims will give testimony on their being christianized (this accusation has never been acknowledged by Church officials).

Report no. 155

Ambon, March 25, 2001

LETTER FROM MIRIAM ABDULAH TO CHRISTINA SAGAT C.S. - Several Indonesian speaking readers of these Reports, asked us for the complete text in Indonesian of the letter from Miryam to Christina, of which we sent out a translated abbreviated edition in our latest report. So here it is, while apologizing to those who do not master Indonesian.

Yth. Saudariku Christina Sagat,

Sedih hatiku pada mendengar kenyataan bahwa dalam jaman modern seperti ini masih ada saja orang yang dipaksa dan diancam bukan saja untuk menyangkal agamanya tetapi juga untuk memeluk agama lain yang tidak diyakininya. Kesedihan hatiku semakin menjadi-jadi karena usaha paksa ini justru dilakukan oleh saudara-saudaraku umat Islam (baca: Laskar Jihad) terhadap saudara sebangsanya sendiri. Sebenarnya sudah lama aku mendengar issue ini, tetapi aku tidak mempercayainya karena kepalaku, sama seperti kepala banyak umat Islam lainnya, telah dipenuhi dengan indoktrinasi bahwa umat Kristen selalu melakukan Kristenisasi, sementara kami umat Islam tidak pernah melakukan Islamisasi.

Kesalahan kami adalah bahwa kami selalu melihat umat Nasrani dalam kerangka sejarah yang lama seolah-olah umat Nasrani tidak pernah berubah dan tidak pernah menyadari akan kehidupan umat manusia yang semakin majemuk.

Tetapi setelah issue Islamisasi dengan paksaan dan ancaman ini dibicarakan di parlemen Inggris, di senat Amerika Serikat, di UNO, di Australia, dan terutama setelah beberapa teman Muslimku meyakinkanku, barulah aku sadar bahwa proses Islamisasi dengan kekerasan dan ancaman bukan lagi suatu issue tetapi suatu fakta dan fakta ini sangat menyedihkan aku dan sebagian besar umat Islam lainnya.

Kalau selama ini kami diam bukan berarti kami setuju, tetapi karena kami sedih dan malu, sehingga dalam kondisi itu kami tidak tahu apa yang harus kami katakan dan sampaikan kepada anda. Kami sungguh menyesal peristiwa ini telah terjadi dan telah me-nimpa anda, teman dan keluarga anda.

Saudariku Christina, ketika menulis surat ini aku sendiri masih dilanda kebingungan akan sikap MUI terhadap peristiwa ini. Dalam hati aku selalu bertanya: mengapa MUI yang selalu vokal pada issue yang sering mereka angkat yaitu Kristenisasi, sekarang ini malah tidak bersuara sedikitpun terhadap fakta Islamisasi. Apakah penindasan terhadap hak asasi seseorang untuk bebas memeluk agama apapun merupakan hal yang terlalu kecil bagi mereka? Apakah usaha Islamisasi dengan paksaan dan dengan kekerasan, yang bagiku jelas melanggar kaidah agama Islam, merupakan hal yang terlalu remeh untuk mereka bicarakan? Terus terang aku tidak tahu jawabnya! Tetapi aku berharap dan berdoa agar MUI memiliki kerendahan hati untuk bersuara menyampaikan permohonan maaf kami umat Islam kepada anda dan teman-teman anda. Namun demikian saudariku Christina, sama seperti aku, anda tidak usah berharap terlalu banyak pada MUI, karenanya melalui surat ini aku, dan aku yakin banyak umat Islam Indonesia, ingin menyampaikan permohonan maaf sebesar-besarnya atas ulah sebagian kecil dari kami yang memaksa kamu dan banyak teman dan saudaramu mengingkari agamamu itu.

Terus terang, usaha pengIslaman paksa itu terjadi karena masih ada di antara kami yang berpikirkan utopis bahwa seandainya seluruh Indonesia ini menjadi Islam, maka Indonesia ini akan menjadi aman dan tenteram. Sebagian dari kami tidak belajar dari pengalaman negara Iran atau bahkan Afghanistan di mana yang terjadi bukannya kedamaian tetapi chaos dan kesewenang-wenangan. Kesalahan itu tentu saja bukan terletak pada Islam sebagai agama, tetapi pada interpretasi orang terhadap Islam, yang dalam keinginan dan nafsu berkuasanya menjadikan Islam sebagai kuda tunggangan. Padahal aku yakin sebagian umat Islam menyadari bahwa kehidupan yang damai dan tenang itu hanya terjadi bila kita mulai belajar menghargai perbedaan kita dan belajar saling mempercayai.

Aku berharap dan berdoa agar saudari Christina tidak dikejar rasa bersalah dan berdosa oleh karena penyangkalan iman anda itu. Aku percaya Allah SWT yang kita percayai sebagai maha pengasih dan maha penyayang akan mengampuni pengingkaran yang terpaksa anda lakukan. Kesalahan toh bukan terletak pada anda yang dipaksa, tetapi kepada mereka yang memaksa dan mengancam hidup anda.

Saya berharap anda tidak perlu membesar-besarkan kesalahan anda itu. Allah SWT yang maha pengasih dan maha penyayang itu masih memiliki cukup banyak stock pengampunan untuk anda.

Saudariku Christina, aku juga ingin meyakinkan anda bahwa sebenarnya metode Islamisasi dengan kekerasan dan paksaan bukanlah metode yang dianut oleh sebagian besar umat Islam di manapun. Bagi kami metode paksaan dan ancaman itu bukan saja melanggar hak asasi manusia tetapi juga ia tidak Islami. Kami umat Islam percaya bahwa iman kepada Allah SWT seharusnya lahir dari kedalaman hati nurani seseorang dan hadir di dalam kegembiraan dan kesukacitaan. Keberimanan yang dipaksa bukan saja iman yang tumpul, tetapi juga iman yang opportunis. Mungkin anda telah mendengar bahwa berapa banyak mereka yang tiba-tiba meletakkan gelar Haji di depan namanya dan berapa banyak yang tiba-tiba menggunakan headscarf (kerudung kepala) dalam kesehariannya, tetapi pada saat yang sama menjadi biang keladi penderitaan rakyat Indonesia. Itulah yang saya maksudkan iman opportunis yang tidak muncul dari kedalaman hati nurani. Islam mengajarkan bahwa kami harus menghormati people of the books (umat yang mempunyai Kitab), terutama Nasrani dan Yahudi. Itu berarti agama kami mengakui bahwa pewahyuan Allah SWT itu bukan saja terjadi dalam sejarah agama Islam tetapi juga terjadi dalam sejarah pengalaman keberagamaan kaum Yahudi dan kaum Nasrani. Itulah sebabnya selama hidupnya nabi sangat toleran kepada kaum Yahudi dan Nasrani. Bagi kami, nabi Ibrahim bukan saja nabi milik umat Yahudi tetapi juga diakui sebagai milik umat Islam. Nabi Isa bukan saja nabi milik umat Nasrani tetapi juga milik kami umat Islam. Bahkan nabi Isa, yang saudari Christina panggil Yesus Kristus itu, mempunyai peran yang sangat sentral dalam kehidupan umat Islam. Kami, umat Islam, diajarkan bahwa pada jaman akhir nanti nabi Isa, terlepas dari adanya perbedaan pandangan antara Islam dan Nasrani tentang keilahian nabi Isa, akan menghakimi seluruh umat manusia apapun agamanya. Oleh karena alasan inilah maka kami umat Islam diperintah untuk menghormati baik umat maupun aga-ma Nasrani (dan Yahudi). Dengan de-mikian ada link yang sangat erat dalam tradisi pewahyuan Allah di dalam agama Yahudi, Nasrani dan Islam. Itulah sebabnya, dilihat dari sudut mana pun, umat Islam tidak seharusnya melakukan upaya pertobatan paksa dan ancaman terhadap umat Nasrani (maupun umat agama mana pun) untuk dijadikan Islam.

Saya percaya bahwa surat permohonan maaf ini tidak akan cukup mengobati penderitaan yang telah anda alami, tetapi saya juga percaya pada kebesaran hati anda yang selalu siap mengampuni. Meski peristiwa itu sangat menyakitkan anda, ijinkanlah kami belajar melalui kesalahan dan kekhilafan yang telah kami perbuat. Saya berdoa agar anda selalu dikuatkan oleh Allah SWT dan semoga pertikaian dan permusuhan di Maluku dapat diselesaikan melalui ikatan persaudaraan dan perdamaian. Saudarimu, Miriam Abdulah

Report no. 156

Ambon, March 27, 2001

1. LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT ABOUT THE RMS - Only now it was known that the Moluccan Sovereignty Front (Front Kedaulatan Maluku = FKM) last January 18th sent a letter to the President of the Republic of Indonesia about the RMS. The letter which was signed by its executive chairman Dr.A.H. Manuputty, by its general secretary Hengky Manuhutu and by the head of the FKM Juridical Board, Semmy Waileruny, handles about the legitimacy of the RMS and asks the President to comply with the legal demands of the RMS, i.e. independency. The FKM stresses that it itself is not the RMS; its position is to mediate as a neutral body between the RMS and the Indonesian government. In an extensive argumentation it argues that the RMS demand for independence for the South Moluccas is fully justified. (We may add, however, that the majority of the people of these 'South Moluccas' might regard themselves better off when staying within the Republic of Indonesia) (summarized from 'Siwalima' daily).

2. PROVOCATIVE RADIO STATIONS - Two radiostations in Ambon in their daily late afternoon and evening broadcasts are considered by the christians as provocative for their moslem listeners and slanderous for christians, namely Radio Gema Suara Muslim (GSM) and Radio Suara Perjuangan Muslim Maluku (SPMM). It is very irritating to hear so many false newscasts being sent out, twisting facts and even concocting events that never occurred. The Governor as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State is urged to reprimand or to close down these stations, since the Laskar Jihad in this way seems to try to prevent that any reconciliation be achieved.

3. DELEGATION LEFT FOR EUROPE - The catholic bishop of Amboina, Msgr. P.C.Mandagi, together with Mr. John Titaley (protestant) and Mr. Yusuf Eli (moslem) today left for Europe. Msgr. Mandagi explained to the local press that they are scheduled to have meetings in Brussels, London and Geneva. Principal purpose is to explain the actual situation in the Moluccas and how the people of the Moluccas have become victims of political provocation by certain groups, on both local and national level. The delegation will also plead for help in matters of reconciliation and in physical and psychical rehabilitation. Help is also needed in the fields of politics, economics, social issues and culture. The delegation is expected to return on April 12.

4. We attach the original text in Indonesian of the Recommendations of the three day 'National Dialogue on Revitalizing Local Culture for Rehabilitation and Development in the Moluccas towards a New Indonesia' which was held in Tual-Langgur, Kei-Kecil, S.E.Moluccas on 15-18 March. The English translation is not (yet) available.

Report no. 157

Ambon, March 28, 2001

1. VICTIMS OF SAVAGERY - Last Monday night, March 26, a human body was found floating at Slamet Riyadi harbour, Ambon. It was identified as Semy Toisuta (26), son of a protestant minister. It was soon found out that he had been killed at the Madrasah Aliyah compound, neighbourhood of Batumerah. The body had been mutilated in an atrocious way, including circumcising. He had been missing since the day before.

At noon today, a christian young pedicab (betjak) driver, Yopi Lawery, was killed by another christian pedicab driver using a longknife (parang), near Citra supermarket, neighbourhood of Mardika. The victim, who earlier today had a quarrel with the other, was one of the about 150 refugees at the Crisis Centre compound. (Nowadays an ordinar quarrel not seldom ends up with murder, seemingly setting back civilization some centuries).

2. PROVOCATIVE RADIO STATION - The Governor of the Moluccas, Dr.Ir. M.S. Latuconsina, has given order to the local military chief commander and the police chief commander to admonish and to take firm action against the Ambon based radiostation Suara Perjuangan Muslim Maluku (SPMM, The Voice of Moluccan Moslem Struggle) since their news broadcasts are considered to be provocative (Our yesterday’s report spoke mistakenly of the 'Radio Gema Suara Muslim (GSM)'.

3. MOSLEM TRAINING ACTIVITIES - The Governor ordered both chief commanders also to crack down on the alleged armed, physical and military-style training activities by moslems in Waai village, a former christian site, which was totally destroyed by moslem forces and consequently was occupied by moslems renaming it 'Waai Salam' (starting at July 6, 2000 - see our Reports No. 12 sqq.).

4. CHRISTIAN INTERNAL DIALOGUE - Today and tomorrow an inter-christian dialogue of protestants and catholics is held in order to streamline common perception and to find ways towards reconciliation in the Moluccas. The dialogue is sponsored by the Provincial Department of Religion.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS OF LANGGUR - We attach the translation of the Recommendations, result of the 'National Dialogue on Revitalizing Local Culture for Rehabilitation and Development in the Moluccas towards a New Indonesia' in Tual-Langgur, Kei-Islands, March 15-18, attended by 1500 multi-religious and multi ethnic participants.

Here is the translated text of the Dialog Nasional di Langgur (it as a Word-document)

Report no. 158

Ambon, March 29, 2001

1. MOSLEMS TAKEN TO SAFETY - The christians in Ambon do not let themselves be provoked by the recent cruel murder on Semy Toisuta, son of a protestant minister (see yesterday’s Report), neither by the warfare training of the laskar jihad at several sites on Ambon island, neither by the abusive language and provoking news on local moslem SPPM radio and on Yogyakarta based laskar jihad websites, neither by the suspected disembarking of fresh jihad troops in Ambon. On the contrary, on three occasions christians recently took moslems that happened to go astray, to safety at the local security posts. It handles about a moslem (name not mentioned) who was found to be in Halong Atas last Monday, and was taken to safety at the local Marines post. The second Moslem to be rescued was Saleman Teko Kotala alias Karim Laitupa (27) in Passo last Tuesday; he was saved by a motorcycle-taxi driver Yohanis Latuheru who happened to learn that he was from the islam village of Ureng (N-W.coast of Ambon island). Yohanis quickly drove him to the local police quarters. The third to be saved was a Butonese named La Bani (35) who was protected yesterday by youths and residents of the hamlet of Wailiha, not far from Passo. No wonder that Governor M.Saleh Latuconsina (who himself is a moslem) when opening the CHRISTIAN INTERNAL DIALOGUE (see yesterday’s Report) did not hesitate to say: "I know that the christians love peace, for this is an actualisation and realisation of the salvation by Jesus Christ as the Saviour and the King of Peace for the world as is written in the Bible" - Meanwhile last night the SPPM radio went on spouting its twisted and fictive defilements of the christians, though already been admonished and threatened by the Governor (see yesterday’s Report). (Summarized from 'Suara Maluku' daily).

2. VISITORS - Three delegates from USAID are currently in Ambon and intend to stay for three days. They show special interest in the to be established Radio Pelangi (pelangi = rainbow) which is to be a 'reconciliation radio', run by the Pelangi Foundation. USAID is also interested in the recent National Dialogue in Langgur (for which they had allotted substantial financial support), hoping that its output would be widely spread and have its follow-up. Among other items that have their interest should be mentioned the situation of the refugees and the possibility of creating neutral zones (mixing christians and moslems).

Ambon is also being visited by two representatives of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev. John Barr (secretary for Indonesia and East Timor) and Ms. Joy G.Balazo (Secretary for International Human Rights). They are eager listeners to various information by the Protestant Synod, the Diocesan Crisis Centre and others.

3. NEW MAYOR AND VICE MAYOR - Within a couple of months a new town Mayor of Ambon for the period 2001-2006 has to be appointed. For the function of Town Mayor many christians put their hope on Drs. M.J.Papilaya (christian-protestant). A likely candidate for the office of Vice Mayor is Mr. Malik Selang (moslem), seemingly acceptable for both christians and moslems. Mr. Selang is Executive Secretary of the local MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia). He does not object to this office, because - he says - in that function he will be able to promote efforts to reconciliate and reunite the citizens of Ambon.

Report no. 159

Ambon, April 2, 2001

1. COOPERATION GPM - MUI - After the ceremony of 'changing the guards' from the old Synodal daily administration to the new one at the GPM (Gereja Protestan Maluku - Moluccan Protestant Church) on March 30, Siwalima daily had the opportunity to interview both the new chairperson of the Synod, Minister Dr. I.W.J.Hendriks, and the MUI (Moslem) secretary Mr. Malik Selang, who was one of those invited. Both of these influential persons were of the same opinion: the Synod and the MUI must cooperate to create a more and more conducive situation for reconciliation. Mr. Hendriks said: “I urge our moslem brothers to try and find together with us a solution and a pattern to restore mutual trust, while both religions’ teachings should provide spiritual guidance in directing the faithful to the peace which all of us are yearning for.” Mr. Malik Selang was of the same opinion and added that both sides also should give support to any effort of the government towards reconciliation and peace. He further said: “It is now just a matter of finding a way how to realize this cooperation and coordination of GPM and MUI to pave the way for further enhancing of the already perceivably conducive situation in Ambon.”

2. CHRISTIAN VILLAGE ATTACKED - On Sunday, April 1, the christian village of Kase, South Buru, was attacked by several dozens of moslems coming from the direction of the neighbouring villages of Nalbessy, Namrole, Nanvaehan dan Waisisi. The attackers used organic weapons. Three residents of Kase were killed, namely an elementary-school teacher, named John Lesnussa (53) and his son Edison Lesnussa (13) and Frederik Lesnussa (67). Four other are missing. One house was burned. The seven person security forces that were stationed there, could do nothing but assist the others to flee for security to the neighbouring little town of Leksula. Kase was earlier attacked in the middle of last year.

3. FOREIGNER KILLED - On Saturday, March 31, a 62 years old Dutchman (by Siwalima daily named Jan D.W. Schart, whereas Suara Maluku daily calls him Jansens, married to a woman from Waai) was killed in Liang, an islam village at the north-east coast of Ambon island. He was stabbed at his neck. It seems that the victim had been at Liang for several weeks already, working on his cottage at the beach. His body will be transported to Jakarta today, and from there to the Netherlands.

N.B. We have some technical trouble in receiving e-mails, starting at March 31. Important messages, please send by fax or communicate by telephone for the time being, or choose a nearby e-mail.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 160 - 169
(April 4 - May 1, 2001)

Report no. 160

Ambon, April 4, 2001

1. MUI SECRETARY REGRETS ATTACK - The attack on the christian village of Kase, South Buru, on Sunday, April 1, was regretted by the Secretary of the MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia, official Moslem Board in Ambon), Mr. Malik Selang. There are indications that during this attack there was not only the killing of four residents of Kase, but also looting of possesions. Besides, three persons are supposed to be abducted, namely Mrs. Tresya Leskona/Diasz (37), Yongky Lesnussa (3) and Alvian Lesnussa (3). The attackers are said to have come from the village of Wamsisi, enforced by some forty warriors from nearby villages. One wonders: how is it possible that they could join up and depart with full weaponry without the local security forces noticing? Though the attackers have retreated from Kase, nevertheless this sad event has caused a new inflow of refugees at Ambon from the handfull of christian villages that are still left on the now nearly totally islamized island of Buru.

2. GENERAL SITUATION ON THE ISLAND OF BURU - A very trustworthy person recently came back from an expedition to Buru and told us that - starting at the south coast - he had crossed the island nearly up to the north coast, a travel which took a week. He had witnessed most distressing situations among the christians and former christians.

3. FURTHER CLARIFICATION ON THE KILLING OF A FOREIGNER - The murder on the Dutchman at Liang we reported on earlier, seems to have been prompted by greed for the money he had just collected at a Bank in Ambon. His name seems to be Jan de Wee.

Report no. 161

Ambon, April 7, 2001

1. RADIO SPMM - Though the Governor of the Moluccas, Dr.Ir. M.S. Latuconsina, on March 27 ordered the local military chief commander and the police chief commander to take firm action against the Ambon based radiostation 'Suara Perjuangan Muslim Maluku' (SPMM, The Voice of Moluccan Moslem Struggle) because of the provocative nature of its news broadcasts, nevertheless this SPMM is still on air and has not mitigated its provocative messages.

2. FRESH JIHAD FORCES - Though not officially acknowledged, there are many rumours that fresh Jihad troops are coming in on virtually every passengership from Java. Also their training - in this case in Ahuru/Ambon - is said to go on unhampered. Apparently the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State and his staff refrain from any actions which might displease the mighty Jihad forces and their nationwide back up.

3. NEW BOOK BY RUSTAM KASTOR - After his much criticized Laskar Jihad Handbook 'Konspirasi Kristen dan RMS Menghancurkan Umat Islam di Ambon-Maluku' (Christian and RMS Conspiration to annihilate the Muslim Community of Ambon-Moluccas), Rustam Kastor has published another book titled 'Damai sekarang atau Perang berlanjut' (Either Peace now or continue War). Christians urge the Responsible for the Civil Emergency (governor M.Latuconsina) to have this publication withdrawn immediately because of its provocative contents. The local attorney-general says he has not read either of these books; at least he should have his intelligence staff read it and see that seeds for renewed conflict are being sown there.

4. HEAVY GUNFIRE - Last night at about 10 pm a military post on the AM Sangadji Street in the centre of Ambon town and the police quarters at Perigilima, Ambon, were shot at. There ensued heavy gunfire, seemingly each side not knowing who was shooting at whom, the more so since at Perigilima there was no electricity, so there was total darkness.

Report no. 162

Ambon, April 9, 2001

1. REFUGEES RETURN TO BACAN - We read in 'Suara Maluku' daily about returning of refugees to the island of Bacan [pronounced 'Batjan'] and other islands in the North Moluccas. On April 6, a warship departed from Ternate to Sorong (Papua) in order to meet some 1.500 christians who had fled to Sorong since January 2000, and bring them back to the island of Bacan. A special team of high ranking civil and military officials, left for Surabaya on April 8, to try and bring back about 4.000 Javanese transmigrants from Banyuwangi, Jember dan Ponogoro (East Java) to their homesteads at Toliwang, region of Kao, Halmaherea. On earlier occasion 200 people who had fled to Tobelo, North Halmahera, had already been returned to Bacan, where, for the time being, they are staying now at the Market Building of Labuha, the capital of the region. On April 20, 350 christian refugees, now staying at Bitung, North Celebes, will be returned to their original homesteads.

An estimated 39.000 christian refugees from the North Moluccan islands of Ternate, Tidore, Morotai and Halmahera are still staying in Manado and Bitung. It has been programmed that these will be brought back after the muslim refugees at Ternate will be returned to Halmahera, for part of the undamaged christian houses in the town of Ternate are being used by moslem refugees now.

On April 4, moslem refugees, staying at Ternate island, were brought back on a warship to their villages in the region of Ibu (North Halmahera).

2. MUI PRAISES APPEAL BY GPM SYNOD - About a fortnight ago the Synod of the Moluccan Protestant Church (GPM) published and spread an appeal, to be read in all GPM churches. Up to yesterday (Sunday) this letter was still quoted and explained by the ministers in their churches. It contained an appeal to the christians to refrain from any violence, even when provoked by certain rumours or facts. It also denounced any separatist intentions. Any action towards disintegration of the Republic of Indonesia would not be tolerated. According to 'Siwalima' daily, the secretary of the MUI (leading Islam Board), Mr. Malik Selang, appreciated this appeal as an important step towards reconciliation.

Report no. 163

Ambon, April 17, 2001

1. RADIO SPMM - The manager of the Ambon based radiostation Suara Perjuangan Muslim Maluku (SPMM, The Voice of Moluccan Moslem Struggle) was summed to appear before the Responsible of the Civil Emergency on Saturday, April 14, because of the provocative nature of its news broadcasts. However no heed was paid to this summons. So the summons has been postponed for one week.

2. HOISTING OF RMS FLAG The intention of the FMK (Front Kedaulatan Maluku), led by Dr. Alex Manuputty, to put out the RMS flag next April 25, has been forbidden by the governor as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency by means of an official letter dated April 16, 2001.

3. CURFEW Because of the conducive situation in Ambon, the curfew will be mitigated to apply only for the period from midnight to 5.00 am daily.

4. MOSLEM AND CHRISTIAN REPRESENTATIVES TO EUROPE A five-member delegation representing both the christian and the moslem people of the Moluccas, was in Europe from March 29 to April 11, 2001, to plead the Moluccan cause. Members of the delegation were: Haji Muhammad Jusuf Ely (influential Moslem from the Moluccas), Monseigneur P.C.Mandagi (Roman Catholic Bishop of Amboina), Minister Jacky Manuputty (representative of the Moluccan Protestant Church GPM), Raja Machfud Nukuhehe (Adat chief Latupati of Leihitu, Raja Seith) and Minister John Titaley (representative of the Moluccan Protestant Church GPM).

We send their Joint Appeal as attachment.

The delegation met and had meetings at a total of 22, among others with representatives of:

In London: the House of Lords, BBC Radio-4 (interview), English Foreign Ministry South-East Asia Department, English Foreign Ministry Indonesia Department, Moluccan Community in England, Indonesian Ambassador.

In Geneva: the Swedish delegate and the Vatican delegate at the UN, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Interreligious Secretariate of the UN, the USA State Department, the USA Religious Freedom Office, USA Freedom House, UNHRC Indonesian Department, Operational Department on HR of the UNHRC, the former chairperson and actual chairperson of OCHA, the Canadian Foreign Ministry Department on HR, the Dutch Ambassador and vice Ambassador to the UN, Advocates International.

In Brussels: International Dialogue Foundation of the Parliament of the European Union, General Secretary of the European Union, English, Scotch, French and Portuguese Members of the Parliament of the European Union, vice chairperson of the ASEAN Commission, Head of the HR division of the International Communication Department of the European Commission & others.

Report no. 164

Ambon, April 25, 2001

1. EXPLOSION CAUSES FIVE KILLED - Premature explosion of a 'bomb' late afternoon last Sunday, April 22, caused the death of five Laskar Jihads. Two others were seriously injured. Local newspapers report on a kind of molotov cocktail being assembled at the neighbourhood of muslim dominated Ahuru at the outskirts of the town of Ambon, when unexpectely it exploded. Immediate investigation of local military security forces resulted in the uncovering of a nest of illegal weaponry and ammunition and various chemical stuff, including a number of military boots and all kinds of other odds. Also were found a number of religious books on Islam Teaching and on Muslimat Victory, a number of T-shirts on which was printed 'Laskar Mudjahidin'. Further were found instruction books on how to be a 'jihad' and an instruction book on how to assemble a bomb. A military spokesman could not confirm whether these Laskar Mudjahidin have anything to do with the well-known Mudjahidin in other countries.

2. NO DISTURBANCE ON APRIL 25 - On this April 25, 2001, it is 51 years ago that the Republik Maluku Selatan (Republic of the South Moluccas) was proclaimed as an independent nation. It is also 50 years ago that its government went into exile in the Netherlands. Their aspirations have never been fulfilled, their ideal even has been extinct in the Moluccas themselves since many years now. These 'South Moluccas' in fact encompassed only the islands of Ambon and its small neighbours: the islands of Haruku, Nusa Laut and Saparua, maybe perhaps also some parts of the island of Ceram. But the RMS was never popular in de South East Moluccas, like the Tanimbar- and Kei Islands. The RMS had/has no connection with any particular religion, but de facto the majority of its adherents were christians, who initially might have been afraid of a muslim dominated Republic of Indonesia. The Laskar Jihad since their arrival in the Moluccas almost one year ago, have never stopped to mark the christians with the seal 'RMS-separatists' to justify their presence in the Moluccas as being of national importance. Now there were rumours that on this 25th April the RMS flag would be put out in all christian neighbourhoods. And in fact the FMK (Front Kedaulatan Maluku) - without identifying itself with the RMS - asked permission from the Governor to honour the RMS in this way. However, no permission was granted. Meanwhile the christians were afraid that there would be unfriendly elements intruding during the night, planting RMS flags in christian neighbourhoods, so most christian males were on the watch all night long. It is 02.00 pm now, and no hoisting of RMS flag has been reported up to now. However, many people abstain from their daily activities today, either because they need their rest or because they are afraid that something will happen today, especially since the jihads have proved to be well prepared for continuing the conflict (see no. 1 of this report).

3. ISLAMISATION IN SALAS - The forced islamisation of a number of christians at Salas is still being talked about in the massmedia. Salas is a village on the north-eastern coast of the island of Ceram, not far from Bula. The parish priest of Masohi, regional capital on the south coast of Ceram, Father Jos Kuda Makin SVD, has repeatedly protested against this forced islamisation, but nobody ever paid heed to his call for justice. The islamisation of christians there started with the villages of Dawang Dua, Solang and Gompia being attacked on January 9 and 10, 2000, causing the local christians to flee to Salas. On July 22, 2000, the village of Salas on its turn was rocked by violence, so all christians fled for safety to the nearby mountains. However, security forces came and persuaded the christians to come to Bula. There they were given shelter at the multi-purpose building (Gedung Serba Guna) and at the military compound. However, there was not any protection for the christians there. Muslims came and forced the christians to abjure their christian faith and come over to islam. Local authorities and security forces are blamed for their assuring the outside world that 'the Bula case had properly been handled'. Father Yos Kuda Makin SVD from the paraish of Masohi and Father Joseph Haas MHM from the parish of Bula now have again protested that nothing is being done to investigate on this case. They even put the total of disappeared christians from the area on 600. They put the blame on the passive attitude of the 'Bupati' (highest governmental chief) of the Central Moluccas, Mr.Rudolf Rukka, who holds the religious leaders of the area responsible to solve the case. Meanwhile it is said that the Governor of the Moluccas, Dr. Ir. M. Saleh Latuconsina has established a team to investigate on this case, led by Mr. Muhammad Elly. Asked by 'Siwalima' daily, Mr. Elly confessed that up to now he has not yet received formal instruction to this end.

NOTE: Those who want to send e-mail to us, please phone or fax us, and ask for an alternative e-mail address. Thank you.

Report no. 165

Ambon, April 26, 2001

1. HOISTING OF THE RMS FLAG - Local National Radio Broadcast and local daily newspapers report that at 7.00 a.m. yesterday morning the RMS flag was hoisted in the christian neighbourhood of Kudamati, town of Ambon, by Dr. Alex Manuputty, leader of the FKM (Front Kedaulatan Maluku) during a simple ceremony. About 150 people were present at this ceremony. In fact there were three flags: in the middle and in the highest position was the United Nations flag; on its left the RMS flag (of which the colours are blue, white, green and red), on its right the national Indonesian flag. Mr. Semmy Waeleruny, who is the head of the juridical department of the FKM, then read the text of the RMS Proclamation of 51 years ago. Those present sang a special hymn ('Kapata hena masa waya') during the hoisting of the flag. A moment of silence in honour of those who died during these 51 years was followed by cheering the RMS struggle.

Before the ceremony started, Police Commander Johny Maitimu had tried in vain to persuade the FKM to abort or at least postpone the ceremony. While the Commander went to report to Chief Police Commander Firman Gani on FKM’s refusal, this opportunity was used to start the ceremony immediately. Ten minutes later Johny Maitimu came back and ordered in the name of the Law to stop the ceremony. The crowd did not protest when the police striked and confiscated the flags, for they where content that the RMS flag had officially been put out, be it just for ten minutes.

Afterwards, in his house, Mr. Alex Manuputty explained about the importance of this happening for (what he called) the 'Alifuru' community, which are the islands of Ceram, Ambon and the other Lease Islands, that have been maltreated and abused without end. In this way - he said - we show that we continue the fight for truth and justice. We have been colonized for 423 years by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English and the Japanese, and for 51 years by the Republic of Indonesia, nevertheless we have managed to maintain our own specific Moluccan culture.

2. REACTION OF THE GOVERNOR - Governor Dr.Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina - when asked by the mass media - declared that this case will be handled according to Law. He also said he did not understand why those offenders of the Law had not immediately been arrested by the police, since they most clearly had carried out an act of separatism. On the other hand he felt grateful that apparently not many citizens seemed to support this action, and that only a small company of extremists was involved.

Report no. 166

Ambon, April 27, 2001

1. NO ARRESTS YET FOLLOWING HOISTING OF THE RMS FLAG - Up to now, the late evening of April 27, Dr. Alex Manuputty, responsible for the hoising of the RMS flag in the neighbourhood of Kudamati, Ambon, the day before yesterday, has not yet been detained. The police refuses to give any explanation on this peculiar attitude. Asked for his opinion by local newspapers, the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Universitas Pattimura expressed his amazement, for arrest of Dr.Manuputty would be fully justified. since he had demonstratively disobeyed the Governors order to refrain from this action. Anyway, but for his little band, Manuputty cannot count on support for his action from the side of the christians in the Moluccas.

2. MOSLEM RADIO GOES ON BROADCASTING UNHINDERED - The directors of the illegal SPMM Radio (Suara Perjuangan Muslim Maluku = Voice of the Moluccan Moslem Struggle) have paid no heed to the second summons by the police to report and to account for the many misleading, false and provocating news broadcasts it sends out. It is not clear what the next step will be.

We quote from a speech by a moslem (jihad?) leader on this radio station we listened to a few moments ago: 'If there is anyone amongst the moslems who still wants to talk about reconciliation: kill him [three times repeated]. We have been patient enough by now with the treason of our leaders [meant are the governor and his aides]. By not arresting Manuputty, they repudiate the nation and the islam. Do not be afraid - if needed - to offer your lives. From now on there will be no business of buying and selling any more between moslems and the christian pagans [three times repeated]. No need to do transactions about vegetables and so on. If a moslem is caught doing business with a christian, kill him, for it is better to slay one moslem than that the whole moslem community is wiped out."

3. DEMONSTRATION - A crowd of muslims came to the governor’s building this morning to demand the arrest of Dr. Alex Manuputty. However, it seems to have got out of hand, so the military dispersed the crowd. One christian was killed. During the afternoon there were again mass gatherings of moslems. The bridge at Pohon Puleh, the 'bottleneck' to Benteng, was closed for all traffic and pedestrians for several hours. The situation in Ambon was tense today. We hope to report in detail about these happenings tomorrow.

Report no. 167

Ambon, April 28, 2001

1. DEMONSTRATION ANTI-FKM - As we reported yesterday, there was an outcry of protest from the side of muslim crowds following the hoisting of the RMS flag in Kudamati, Ambon, last April 25. The several hundreds of muslims that from the neighbourhood of Batumerah came up to the governor’s office building, even accused the Chief Military Commander and the Governor (as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State), that they had entreated the FKM (Front Kedaulatan Maluku) to perform the flag ceremony. However, on April 17 the Governor had already sent an official letter to Dr. Alex Manuputty, leader of the FKM, that this or any action or activity of the FKM would not be tolerated. During this demonstration - yesterday morning up to noon - the security forces intervened to prevent the crowd entering the governor’s office building compound. Then some of these muslims and some christian onlookers started to throw stones at each other, which went on for about 15 minutes. The ensuing gunfire (in the air?) of the military resulted in one muslim and one christian being seriously wounded (not killed, as we reported yesterday), though these two may also have been victims of snipers. At several places in town, among others at the destroyed Silo Church site, not far from the Pohon Puleh bridge, the sound of exploding 'bombs' was heard. This bridge was closed by the military for any traffic and pedestrians, but was opened up again later that afternoon. No need to tell that the situation in the whole town grew tense. Many office assistants hurried home, parents came to meet their children at the schools etc.

2. GOVERNOR RECEIVES MUSLIM DELEGATION - A seven-member delegation of the muslim crowd was allowed to enter the building and meet with the governor. The leader of this delegation, Yusuf Elly, demanded the governor to take stern measures against this RMS movement, saying: "Actually it is not easy for us to make adequate distinction between these RMS people and other christian brothers, who disagree with any separatist action. So you must arrest those RMS people, including those who hoisted that flag." Meanwhile the muslim crowd chanted national hymns from afar, standing near the town police station (locally called the 'pos kota'), thus proving their loyalty to the Republic of Indonesia. The delegation was afterwards joined by a three member delegation from the Young Muslims of Batumerah, who expressed their amazement that the nineteen battalions of military that are stationed in Ambon, had not been able to prevent this RMS event to happen.

3. LETTER OF ARREST - The Governor of the Maluku has issued a letter in which he instructs the Chief Police Commander, Brigader General Firman Gani, to arrest immediately the activists that are coordinated in the FKM because of their hoisting of the RMS flag on April 25. The letter is dated April 28, 2001. No commentary on this instruction could be obtained from Mr. Firman Gani by local reporters.

The Governor also urged the local newsmedia by means of an official letter, to abstain from any newscovering on FKM activities or any (other) separatistic activities.

4. STANCE OF FKM LEADER - Dr. Alex Manuputty, leader of the Front Kedaulatan Maluku, declared to the press that yesterday he was told by police deputees who came to his house, that he was summoned to report at the local police headquarters next Monday, April 30. However this summons was not in writ. Not long after - he said - he was summoned by telephone to report immediately at the police headquarters. So, accompanied by some allies, he left to go there. However, coming at the Pohon Puleh Bridge, he found it closed for anyone to pass.. So he decided just to go back home. Apart from this unlucky stumbling, Mr. Manuputty declared to 'Siwalima' newspaper that he wants any juridical proceedings to be open and transparant for the whole Ambon community. He said: "Let the Governor not hesitate to make use of an international juridical expert - WE have already one. Any incrimination that we are delinquents, will quickly be solved". He also said that he had informed the Dutch government about the process that was to be held against the FKM and that they had received answer that any wrongdoing towards to the FKM, would result in international sanctions. He further declared that it was most unacceptable that the sincere struggle of the FKM would be forbidden whereas at the same time the presence of the Laskar Jihad is being allowed disregarding all of their destructive activities towards the people of the Moluccas.

Meanwhile Mr. Semmy Waeleruny, head of the juridical department of the FKM, declared to the press that he noticed kind of extraordinary conspiration among the political elite and intellectuals in the Moluccas who in a most inaccurate way compare the FKM with the Laskar Jihad. He said: "The struggle of the FKM is one for sovereignty, truth and justice now that the Indonesian Government has failed to uphold Human Rights of the people of the Moluccas. So in fact this government should held the FKM in high esteem and not look upon it as a depraved organistation. We are not like the Laskar Jihad, we never exhort to chase people from their grounds or to slaughter people, or even to force people to leave their religion for another religion. All this is being done by the Laskar Jihad. So why comparing us with the Laskar Jihad? The FKM is opposed to any violence."

5. STANCE OF THE CHURCHES - We are sometimes asked by foreign newsmedia what is the vision of the Catholic Church on the FKM or on any separatist aspirations. Its stance is very clear. The Church opposes for the full 100% any dissident or separatist movements or aspirations. We are convinced that all of the local Protestant Churches and Denominations have the same attitude.

6. DISSOLVEMENT OF THE TPG - Perhaps in order to prove that the Moluccan Protestant Church (GPM / Gereja Protestan Maluku) disapproves of the FKM, it has been decided to break up the TPG within short. During its two years’ existence, the TPG was coordinated by Mr. Semmy Waeleruny. However, this person now turns out to be also the head of the juridical department of the FKM. For the moment being, daily activities of the TPG have become the responsibility of a Simon Noya. In order to continue certain activities in relation to the unrest, the GPM will erect a Crisis Centre similar to the Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina, but probably with much more stress on juridical proceedings. The chairman of the GPM, Minister Hendriks, said: "We will focus on the strive for reestablishing humanitarian values".

7. NEW LEADER OF THE CHRISTIAN GRASS ROOTS - As the new leader of the christian 'grass roots' of Kudamati - replacing the deceased Agus Wattimena - has emerged Ir. Melkianus Tuhumuri, nicknamed 'Ucu' (pronounced as Utju).

Report no. 168

Ambon, April 30, 2001

1. SPMM PERCEPTION ON FLAG HOISTING - We heard on local illegal Radio 'Suara Perjuangan Muslim Maluku', which operates on behalf of the Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’ah, Yogyakarta, that the Protestant Church of the Moluccas and the (Catholic) Diocese of Amboina are considered as part of the FKM (Front Kedaulatan Maluku) that hoisted the RMS flag last April 25, because one of the FKM leaders, namely Semmy Waeleruny, is also the coordinator of the TPG / Tim Pengacara Gereja (Church Advocacy Team). Even all christians in Ambon should be considered as members of the FKM, because they let the hoisting of the flag happen in their midst without killing those criminals. Also the United Nations Mission in Ambon is found to be on the side of the FKM, for from where else could the FKM possibly have got the UN flag that was hoisted together with the RMS flag but from their Bureau in Ambon? (Local UN Coordinator Svante Skoog insisted - according to today’s Suara Maluku newspaper - that their UN Bureau in Ambon had nothing to do with this action and definitely does not support the FKM).

2. REVENGE ON MALIK SELANG - Moslem moderate leader Malik Selang recently saw his house in the moslem neighbourhood of Waihaong thrown at with stones by some fellow moslems, causing its windowpanes being smashed. The reason of this action may be that he is considered to have deceited the muslims by on several occasions presenting himself as speaking as the secretary of the MUI (Moslem Leading Board) and trying to come to reconciliation with the christians. In fact - according to SPMM radio - he is just an ordinar member of the MUI. Commenting on this event, Siwalima daily reports that Malik Selang has taken his family to safety at the nearby policequarters of Perigilima. A possible political background of this loathing of Malik Selang may also be the imminent departure of the MUI chairman, who is to become member of the legislative council of the North Moluccas, so that the office of MUI chairperson is vacant and sought after by various candidates.

Likewise Yusuf Elly, who led the muslim deputation to the governor on April 27 to demand the arrest of FKM Leader Alex Manuputty (see Report 167 No. 2), cannot possibly be acknowledged as a representative of the muslims on occasion the recent muslim demonstration at the governors’s office in the eyes of the SPMM, since he opted for the possibility that there may be christians that do not endorse the FKM.

3. FRESH JIHAD TROOPS - SPMM radio mentions the recent arrival of an additional 800 Jihad fighters. They have come 'to protect the muslim community against the FKM'. It was said that 'all muslims rejoiced because of their coming'.

4. PROHIBITION TO DO BUSINESS WITH INFIDELS - As we reported earlier (Report 166 no. 2) SPMM Radio said: "If a moslem is caught doing business with a christian, kill him". This was stressed again in last night’s broadcast by the leader of the muslim group ('Satgas' / Satuan Tugas) 'Amar Ma’ruf Nahi Mungkar', namely Mr. Ustad Muhammad Atamini, by telling that this prohibition is authentic islam, for it is forbidden by the Al Quran to socialize with heathens - he said. (However, governor Latuconsina reminds the christians: just like the christians do not want to be identified as FKM, likewise they should not assume that all muslims are of the same opinion as this Atamini!).

5. TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF CHRISTIAN VILLAGE ON SOUTH BURU - At 7.30 a.m. last Saturday, April 28, the christian village of Waenalut on the south coast of the island of Buru was attacked by muslims who arrived there from eastern direction on three longboats. They destroyed the last seven houses that remained of this village. They then got hold of a bulldozer of a local forest company, and erased remnants of some other houses. In this action two residents of Waenalut were killed, whereas the others succeeded in fleeing to the nearby little town of Leksula and elsewhere.

6. RENEWED GUNFIRE IN AMBON - At about 11.00 p.m. last night there was heavy gunfire at the border of the muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung and the christian neighbourhood of Karang Panjang, Ambon town. No details are available yet.

7. DEMONSTRATION OF CHRISTIANS - Just now, at 9.30 a.m., a large crowd of christian demonstrators with banners saying 'All non-Alifuru people to be ousted from the Moluccas' etc., came walking down the Pattimura Street. They kept standing in front of the Police Headquarters, opposite our Crisis Centre, chanting and shouting yells in a disciplined way. They now have gone up to the Governor’s Office buidling. Security forces with several military panzer vehicles are keeping an eye on it.

Report no. 169

Ambon, May 1, 2001

1. ALEX MANUPUTTY IN CUSTODY - Yesterday morning FKM leader Dr. Alex Manuputty - following the order to report to the Police for interrogation - went up to the Police Headquarters at Batumeja, Ambon. Besides by some close FKM co-activists, he was also accompanied by about a thousand young sympathisants. It was only on arriving at the Police Headquarters that Manuputty was handed a letter of detention.

The loudly singing crowd found the fence of the police compound closed to them, but seemed not to care and kept on cheering and singing national and religious hymns in a disciplined way. On red banners texts were written in white characters, with slogans as 'International Tribunal immediately to be held in the Moluccas' / 'When will they stop to oppress us, the Alifuru people?' / 'Non-Alifuru, get out of the Moluccas!' etc. Chief Police Commander Firman Gani, having listened to an appeal, read by one of the grassroots leaders, Emang Nikijuluw, went in again without commentary or response. Before dissolving, prayer was said, led by Minister B. Pentury. Afterwards Firman Gani allowed the massmedia to interview him, his first interview after a silence of more than three months (since the 'Hotel Wijaya II' incident).

2. APPEAL - Summary of the appeal of the demonstrators, read by Emang Nikijuluw in presence of the Police Chief Commander:

(1) Laskar Jihad and all non-Moluccans/Alifuru people to leave the Moluccas.

(2) All Salam Sarani and Kakehan (muslim - christian - animis) to stop the enmity and killing, to re-unite in common Lawamena Haulala (go forward, do not fall back) and to fight all injustice which is happening right under people’s eyes. "Christian brothers, open your arms wide to accept your basudara salam (muslim brothers)".

(3) International tribunal and dialogue to be held in order to end the suffering of the Moluccan people.

(4) Political elite to shut their mouth and stop exploiting the people of the Moluccas for their own selfish purposes.

(5) Let the Moluccans unhindered take care of their own problems.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 170 - 179
(May 2 - 17, 2001)

Report no. 170

Ambon, May 2, 2001

1. CAUTION IN HANDLING VARIOUS CASES - Police Chief Commander Firman Gani acknowledges to the press that he is very careful in handling hot issues like Laskar Jihad, Radio SPMM, RMS/FKM etc. in order to prevent escalation of the conflict. He further declared that in the eyes of the police cannot yet be ascertained that indeed Dr.Alex Manuputty, in hoisting the RMS flag, transgressed the law.

We will have to wait for the prosecuting attorney's report , he said.

2. USTAD M. ATAMIMI ACCUSED OF PROVOCATION - Political counselor of the Pattimura University, Ambon, Drs. Tonny Pariela, insists that Ustad Mohammad Atamimi by issuing various kinds of prohibitions to his fellow muslims (like doing business with christians - see Report 168 no.4) violates national law. If Atamimi fights for upholding the law and maintaining Indonesian unity, how is it possible that he orders his followers to kill people? His only goal seems to be having the conflict to go on , he said. What Atamimi should do is insisting on lawsuit of those he assumes to violate the law, not on killing the trangressors.

Meanwhile Atamini's forbidding the muslims to trade with christians seems to have success. According to Siwalima daily's observation, business between christians and muslims at several border locations in the town of Ambon, such as at Tugu Trikora, Jalan A.Y.Patty, in front of hotel Amans, and also in the villages of Galala, Nania and Wayame was sparse compared to normal. Not only christians but also muslims were heard to complain. However, under certain conditions now the Amar Ma ruf Nahi Mungkar issues a Letter of Permission to certain dealers.

3. GPM DEMANDS DEADLINE - The Moluccan Protestant Church (Gereja Protestan Maluku / GPM) has delivered a letter, dated April 30, 2001, to the Governor, demanding that next August 17 (National Independency Day) the Moluccas be free from unrest. We summarize the seven items that are mentioned in this letter and that should be handled properly before that date:

(1) Juridical proceedings towards all lawbreakers to start immediately.

(2) Proper handling of demonstrations; no gunfire as long as the demonstrators carry no weaponry.

(3) To stop all islamisation.

(4) Isolation of the Moluccas for any outsider that wants to enter the Moluccas without clear purpose.

(5) Since it is apparent that little by little all christian villages on the islands of Buru and Ceram are being wiped out, we ask for special protection for the still remaining christian villages in these areas.

(6) The Responsible for the Civil Emergency to use all possible persuasiveness in creating a conducive situation in order to come to a sincere and all-embracing reconciliation.

(7) That at latest next August 17 security and peace should be restored in the Moluccas.

The letter was signed by Protestant Church Synod Chairman, Minister Dr. I.J.W.Hendriks, and its Vice Secretary, Minister Wem Davidz.

Report no. 171

Ambon, May 3, 2001

1. ATTITUDE OF THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT IN RELATION TO THE RMS/FKM - The Crisis Centre received a phonecall from the Royal Dutch Embassy at Jakarta in which the Ambassador asked us to inform the readers of these digests about the stance of the Dutch Government in relation to the recent events concerning the Front Kedaulatan Maluku and its activities, especially the hoisting of the RMS flag by Dr. A.Manuputty c.s. last April 25, 2001. This stance is as follows: "The Government of the Netherlands endorses uncurtailedly the territorial integrity of the Republic of Indonesia, and does in no way support or approve of any actions of separatism".

2. ATTITUDE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN RELATION TO THE RMS/FKM - Likewise the Catholic Church - in this case represented by the Diocese of Amboina - disapproves of any separatist movement or action in the Moluccas. The Moluccan Protestant Church (GPM) has the same position.

3. DR. ALEX MANUPUTTY IN CONFINEMENT - Today’s 'Suara Maluku' daily published a photo in which FKM executive chairman Dr. Alex Manuputty is shown in his confinement room at the Police Headquarters at Ambon. He is allowed to receive visitors all night and day. Their number is - according to this newspaper - estimated some two hundred persons daily.

4. RECONCILIATION IN HALMAHERA - In presence of the Governor of the North Moluccas, Mr. Muyi Effendie, an official ceremony of reconciliation was held recently in the region ('Kecamatan') of Ibu, North-West Halmahera. Christians and muslims pledged eternal peace between them. Most refugees from both sides have returned to their homesteads meanwhile.

Report no. 172

Ambon, May 4, 2001

1. FRATERNIZING WHILE DOING BUSINESS - Notwithstanding Mr. Ustad Muhammad Atamimi’s ban on doing small business with christians, intermingling small business meanwhile is near to normal again now. These meeting points of vendors and buyers are considered to play an important role in natural reconciliation.

2. STONED TO DEATH - On March 10, 2001, at Al-Fatah, the principal mosque in Ambon, Muslim Law ('Syariat') was declared for Ambon. Jakarta based 'Gatra' magazine, in its edition of May 5, reports on the following sad event. On March 27, some hundred muslim citizens, intermingling with white-robed laskar jihads, convened in Ahuru, a neighbourhood at the outskirts of Ambon town, to witness the death penalty being executed on a 30 years old Jihad warrior from Surabaya. He was buried up to his middle, so that only his chest and head were visible. While shedding tears, both jihads and civilians stoned him to death. He got this death sentence for it had been proved that he had raped a girl. threatening her with a pair of scissors.

Earlier three muslims had been executed by a firing-squad because they had been caught trading in alcoholics. Not all muslims, including some well-known scholars, agree on this interpretation of the Syariat.

3. WEBSITE - Here is another interesting and well-informed website on the conflict in the Moluccas: http://welcome.to/lawamena

Report no. 173

Ambon, May 5, 2001

1. LASKAR JIHAD LEADER ARRESTED - In the morning of May 4 the Supreme Commander of the Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah, named Ja’far Umar Thalib, was arrested at Juanda airport, Surabaya, and confined at the Police Headquarters in Jakarta on charge of criminal activities. Though to the press he declared to be innocent, he confessed that he had already known since four months ago that he would be arrested, when Bishop P.C.Mandagi of the Diocese of Amboina had said that Ja’far’s fate would be the same as the former vice commander of the Pro Integration warriors in East Timor, Eurico Guterres. According to 'Suara Maluku' newspaper a group of about thirty laskar jihad came to the police headquarters at Jakarta to protest against the arrest of Ja’far, shouting Allahu Akbar. They were however prevented from entering the police compound. It is to be expected that later on masses of protesters will repeat this action more forcefully.

Since his arrival in the Moluccas, April 2000, Ja’far and his laskar jihads carried out a lot of contentious and damaging activities, among other things the burning down of christian villages, persecution and islamisation of christians and various kinds of provocation.

In connection with Ja’far’s arrest, the security forces in Ambon are in full alert forestalling any unduly tenseness in town, especially now that the Governor is in Jakarta, and both chief commanders (Police and Army) are in Ternate (North Moluccas).

2. LASKAR JIHAD ARE THE REAL SEPARATISTS - Time and again christians point to the laskar jihad as the factual separatists, especially now that their leader Ja’far Umar Thalib has declared syariat (Islam Law) in Ambon (on March 10), disregarding national Indonesian Civil Law. Our earlier reports already mentioned several recent syariat activities, including the death penalty for four people. Thus they renounce the undivided State of Indonesia, reject the Pancasila and declare themselves an independent nation with its own laws. Up to now the Government has been amazingly lenient towards this dissident movement, which is at the same time a subduing of the people of the Moluccas, both christians and muslims. Main upholder of this syariat in Ambon now is Ustad Muhammad Attamimi. His recent actions, which clearly oppose national law, cannot possibly go unpunished. His detention, too, might reasonably be expected according to several local lawyers.

3. SHOOTING IN THE BAY OF AMBON - At about 11.00 a.m. yesterday, the large motorboat 'California' was shot at on its route from Galala, east of Ambon town to Gudang Arang in the western part of the town. The shooting (using standard rifles) came from the shore near Kapaha/Tantui. Among the several hundreds of christian passengers there happened to be reporter of 'Suara Maluku' daily. The shooting seemed to be aimed also at a speedboat with christians somewhat closer to the shore. In this incident nobody was hurt.

4. TENSENESS IN HALONG - Several 'bombs' exploded in Halong Atas, east of Ambon town last night. The bombing was answered by gunfire from the security forces.

Report no. 174

Ambon, May 10, 2001

1. INVESTIGATION ON THE JAFAR UMAR THALIB CASE - Following the arrest of Laskar Jihad leader Jafar Umar Thalib in Surabaya and his confinement at the Police Headquarters in Jakarta on May 4, a police investigation team has been sent to Ambon to collect evidence on the charge of any criminal activities committed by this Jafar Umar Thalib in Ambon. The investigation will be carried out in close cooperation with the local Police. The team is led by Police Brigade General Aryanto Sukadi. Mr. Sukadi declared to the press that special attention will be paid to any witnesses of the death penalty being executed in Ahuru/Ambon on 30 years old Jihad warrior Abdul Rahim on March 27 (See Report 172 No. 2). Also the grave will be opened in order to ascertain the cause of the victim’s death. Muslim SPMM radio last night said that a number of muslim leaders do not agree with opening the grave. Aside from the investigation on the death of Abdul Rahim, a general investigation on other alleged misconduct of Jafar will be carried out as well.

2. YAFAR IN CUSTODY / FRESH JIHAD FORCES TO BE SENT TO AMBON - According to 'Siwalima' daily, yesterday 300 laskar jihad members, including Ayip Syafruddin, chairman of the forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, were permitted to visit Jafar Umar Thalib at the police headquarters in Jakarta where he is being detained. Afterwards Mr. Syafruddin declared to the press that Jafar - using the Arab language - had ordered all his followers to preserve unity among themselves and to forestall all what is abominable before Allah. A group of 500 laskar jihads, who arrived to ask for Jafar’s blessing before they would leave for Ambon, was prevented from meeting with their chief.

3. ALEX MANUPUTTY LEAVING FOR JAKARTA - Executive leader of the Front Kedaulatan Maluku (FKM) Dr. Alex Manuputty (who - by the way - is a physician specialized in aids prevention) will leave for Jakarta today at the 'invitation' of the Chief Police Commander, Police General S. Bimantoro. In order to be able to prepare himself for his departure, he was allowed to return to his residence at Kudamati yesterday morning, guarded by some twenty Brimob Police officers.

Report no. 175

Ambon, May 12, 2001

1. SHOOTING IN THE BAY OF AMBON - In the afternoon of May 10, the large motorboat 'California' again was shot at on its route from Galala, east of Ambon town, to Gudang Arang in the western part of the town. The shooting (using standard rifles) came from both opposite shores: from Rumatiga to the north and Kapaha and Batumerah to the south. Some marinirs on another motorboat, Anda II, that happened to be around, answered with gunfire likewise. In this incident nobody on the ship was hurt, but no boats ventured to set out during the rest of the day. However, in his Tablig Akbar the following day, Ustad Attamimi accused the christians of starting this shooting incident, in which on muslim side - he said - there were three victims. He demanded the security forces to arrest and kill these snipers within 48 hours or the muslims would take revenge.

2. TABLIG AKBAR - On May 11 a Tablig Akbar (muslim ceremony of religious speeches) was held in the large Al-Fatah mosque, Ambon, listened to by about 300 muslims, apart from many who attended it from outside the mosque. This Tablig, in which the main orator was Ustad Attamimi, was also directly broadcast by the local muslim SPMM radio. Principal goal of this Tablig was to protest against the arrest and detention of Jihad leader Jafar Umar Thalib in Jakarta. Though utterly provocative, the security forces let it go on unhampered. Three muslim young men read aloud a seven point declaration, in which among other things was said: the conflict in the Moluccas was started by the (christian) RMS on Idul Fitri day, 1 Syawal 1420 Hijriah or January 19, 1999. On that day the christians butchered, raped, shot and killed muslim people, burned down several muslim sites and villages, resulting in a mass exodus of 140.000 people. In that way the RMS intended to clear the way for the independent Republic of the South Moluccas (RMS).

3. OPPOSING ANY RECONCILIATIOPN - On occasion of this Tablig Akbar, Ustad Attamimi declared that he refused any reconciliation with the christians. He forbode all muslims in the Moluccas to take part in any efforts of this kind. He even declared war to those who endeavoured to talk about 'baku bae' (reconciliation). He said: "We will have no reconciliation before all christian infidels and their leaders are butchered and killed".

4. 'DEATH PENALTY AS AN ACTION OF WORSHIP' - At this Tablig Akbar in the Al-Fatah mosque, the stoning of jihad warrior Abdul Rahim on March 27 (See Report 172 No.2) was called justified and not in contradiction with national Indonesian law, for the Constitution of 1945 in Chapter XI-29-§2 states that "The state guarantees the citizens’ liberty to adhere to their own religion and to do worship according to this religion". Death penalty by stoning is seen as an integral part of islam teaching and an act of worship, because ordered by Allah and Rasullah Allahuwassalam (the Prophet Muhammad). Calling the stoning of Abdul Rahim a violation of human rights and transgression of the law, means accusing Allah and his Prophet of sin - which is an abomanility in the eyes God and man.

Meanwhile in Jakarta a member of the editorial team of Gatra Magazine, which broke the news on this stoning, named Herry Mohammad, was interrogated by the police in Jakarta on the source of this piece of news. Herry simply answered: I read it on the Jihad site.

5. SALAS: EVACUATION NEEDED - Mr. Edy Tongke, a prominent resident of Salas, a village on the north-eastern coast of the island of Ceram, declared to 'Siwalima' daily, that not much can be hoped for from the team, led by Mr. Muhammad Elly, that is to be sent to Salas in order to investigate on alleged islamisation of hundreds of christians (see Report164 no.3). The only way to rescue these people is immediate evacuation.

Report no. 176

Ambon, May 14, 2001

1. LOCAL MUSLIMS HARASSED BY LASKAR JIHAD - Last Saturday, May 12, a 'bomb' or grenade exploded in the neighbourhood of Ahuru at the outskirts of the town, now an islam area, injuring two residents, man and wife. It is thought that the Laskar Jihad have placed grenades on various places in islam areas in order to intimidate and threaten Ambonese muslims. As some local muslim residents confirmed by telephone to 'Siwalima' daily, they live in constant fear of those grenades and hardly venture out to tend their crops in the fields. Answering the reporter’s question why they did not inform the police about it, they said they would be killed if they reported anything about it.

2. SPEEDBOAT VICTIMS - In his recent Tablig Akbar, Ustad Attamimi, leader of the local Jihad forces, accused the christians of shooting three muslims in the 'California incident' in the afternoon of May 10. He demanded the security forces to arrest and kill these snipers within 48 hours or the muslims would take revenge (see Report 175, no.1). Apparently Attamimi kept his word. On Sunday afternoon, May 13, a speedboat with christians, travelling from Gudang Arang to Galala was shot at by a group of 'nindjas' in black garments on a speedboat, killing three people - among whom the helmsman - and badly wounding two others. Another speedboat joined the first one, also firing and throwing two grenades. After they had disappeared, a speedboat from nearby Wayame came to rescue the surviving passengers.

3. TERNATE - The bishop of Amboina, Monseigneur P.C.Mandagi MSC, recently visited a number of places in the North Moluccas. He told us that the situation there is most conducive. He also paid an official visit to the town of Ternate, capital of the North Moluccas, where all christians had been expelled. He said that little by little christians venture to come back to Ternate. The catholic church building - though damaged - is the only surviving christian church building in Ternate and will be used oecumenically bu various christian churches.

4. NEW POLICE CHIEF COMMANDER - Police Chief Commander Firman Gani recently left for Makasar to become the Police Chief Commander of South Celebes. He is replaced by Mr. Edy Danadi who is transferred from East Java.

Report no. 177

Ambon, May 16, 2001

1. JAFAR UMAR THALIB HOUSE ARREST - Probably influenced by the many appeals and demands from the side of laskar jihads and other muslim organisations, the National Police Chief Commander, General Surojo Bimantoro, mitigated the custody of laskar jihad leader Jafar Umar Thalib. On May 15 his confinement at the Police Headquarters in Jakarta was alleviated by allowing him house arrest. Many Islam organisations demand Jafar to be set free. It is contended that Jafar has not been at fault either by letting somebody to be stoned to death or by any provocative acts, for all this is part of the syari’at islam.

2. FKM TO BE DISBANDED - National Police Chief Commander, General Surojo Bimantoro, has instructed Moluccas Police Chief Commander Brigadir General Edy Darnadi to disband 'any movement which supports the RMS (Republik Maluku Selatan = The Independent State of the South Moluccas)', read: FKM (Front Kedaulatan Maluku). The FKM is assumed to have carried out most conspicuous activities in support of the RMS. FKM chairman Dr.Alex Manuputty is still in detention in Jakarta. Other FKM leaders are: Hamty Stania (deputy executive chairman), Hengky Manuhutu (Secretary General), Samuel Walikimi (Executive Section), Louis Risakotta (FKM deputy for the Jakarta area) and Umar Shanti (FKM deputy for Europe).

3. DEMANDING ARREST OF ATTAMIMI - Christian leaders in Ambon demand the immediate arrest of laskar jihad leader Ustad Muhammad Attamimi because of his provocative speeches, in which - among other tings - he insists that any muslim who fosters reconciliation with the christians, should be killed. Also the provocative broadcasting of the local illegal muslim radio SPMM goes on unhindered.

Report no. 178

Ambon, May 17, 2001

Translation of an Interview on May 16, 2001, by Fr. Agus Laritembun with the R.C.Bishop of Amboina (Moluccas), Monseigneur P.C.Mandagi MSC.

1. Monseigneur, what is the present feeling in Ambon and the Moluccas after the arrest of Ja’far Umar Thalib by the police?

* The Moluccans - and more specifically the residents of the town of Ambon - feel scared and threatened. Once again people are disappointed with the Responsible of the Civil Emergency, i.e. the local government. There is tenseness, a feeling of unsecurity, even incidents of violence with bloodshed. All of this has to do with the recent arrest of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah Laskar Jihad leader Ja’far Umar Thalib by the police in Surabaya.

2. Has this increasing tenseness anything to do with influential politicians who correspond to Ja’far Umar Thalib?

* The situation in the Moluccas and specifically in Ambon cannot be isolated from groups or influential persons who are of the same opinion, feelings and intentions as Ja’far Umar Thalib and his associates in Jakarta and elsewhere.

3. How do you see the arrest of Ja’far Umar Thalib?

* As a fellow human being I feel sorry for Ja’far Umar Thalib and his followers. They, too, are God’s creatures, made in His own Image. However, I disagree with their words and deeds that are damaging and destroying their Indonesian fellow people in the Moluccas. Because their assertions and acts incite discordance between Indonesian citizens, so that they become enemies one to another, rousing mutual resentment and mistrust, slander and even killing as we see in Ambon. Due to all of their utterances the Indonesians in the Moluccas are profoundly divided and disintegrated. This means that Ja’far Umar Thalib and his followers are separatists, for they overturn the unity of the nation in the Moluccas. Or else it is they who want to disengage themselves from the unity of the Republic of Indonesia. It even could be said that they betray the Indonesian nation. That is why I fully agree that Ja’far Umar Thalib and his followers have been arrested and will be brought to court. They deserve severe punishment.

4. Can we state that Ja’far Umar Thalib’s words and deeds are in accordance with islam teaching?

* I am convinced that all what is said and done by Ja’far Umar Thalib and his followers - so contrary to human nature and violating basic human rights - is certainly not in accordance to his religion, the islam. For islam is a religion of peace. The islam religion respects man, who is God’s image. Islam stands for love, justice and truth. So, as for me, I am sure that all what is said and done by Ja’far Umar Thalib and his followers, is incompatible with his religion.

5. Did the arresting of Ja’far Umar Thalib by the police occur on the accurate moment?

* I think in fact it should have been done earlier, for it would have prevented much damage and mutual enmity between the Indonesian citizens in the Moluccas. Anyway, the arrest was carried out at last. I sincerely hope that not only Ja’far Umar Thalib but also his followers will be detained and brought to justice.

6. Though Ja’far Umar Thalib has been arrested, nevertheless provocative messages are constantly being broadcast by his followers on Radio Pembela Muslim Maluku. What is your opinion on this?

* It is astounding that this radio is still on air. I wonder who gave permission to operate this provocative radio station. Why does not the Responsible for the Civil Emergency stop these broadcastsings? Is it powerlessness? Or is it feared that this radio station is being backed up by influential persons in Jakarta or elsewhere, persons who are capable to destroy people in certain positions in the Moluccas? Why is it that these provocational broadcasts cannot be stopped? Does the Responsible for the Civil Emergency not hear or apperceive the suffering of the people of the Moluccas due to these provocative messages? Or is the Responsible for the Civil Emergency just wavering because faced with certain forces behind this radio station?

7. What is your opinion towards the police that ventured to arrest Ja’far Umar Thalib?

* I hope that the police and all those whose responsibility it is to maintain the law - having arrested Ja’far Umar Thalib - will be consequent in upholding justice and truth. Only then they can be looked upon as preservers of peace in Indonesia and fully trustworthy, specifically by the Moluccans, who long for peace, justice and truth.

8. Why should the police and all those whose are responsible for maintaining the law be firm?

* Well, of course after this arrest there is pressure from people who are opposed to peace and security in the Moluccas and the town of Ambon. They try and find backing up by religious motivation. Actually they should not succeed among muslims, for the islam is a religion of peace, a religion that opposes any violence, a religion that lays emphasis on love, truth, peace and justice. So it must be assumed that those who do not agree with this arrest, are certain persons that are hungry for power and money. To this end they just use the religion. Therefore the police and all those who are responsible for the law must be steadfast in pursuing justice and truth. For most obviously there are elements of pressure, coming both from the Moluccas and from Jakarta. There is especially most evident pressure from the side of individual persons who entirely agree with Ja’far Umar Thalib and his followers, like for instance Ustad Atamimi in Ambon.

9. If indeed Ustad Atamimi is in full accordance with Ja’far Umar Thalib, does this mean that he also should be arrested?

* In my opinion Ustad Atamimi must be arrested and brought to justice immediately. Like once I said to Ja’far Umar Thalib: "Your fate will be not different from Eurico Guiteres’ fate" - so likewise I now say to Ustad Atamimi: "Your fate will be not different from Ja’far Umar Thalib’s". For Ustad Atamimi’s intentions are the same as Ja’far Umar Thalib’s, striving for violence and barbarity.

10. Maybe you happen to have a special opinion on Ustad Atamimi?

* My opinion on Ustad Atamimi is in fact the same as on Ja’far Umar Thalib. I hope that this Mr. Ustad Atamimi will put an end to all of his provocational activities, since in this way he damages and destroys Indonesian unity, or at least these activities are aimed at that goal. He can be prosecuted for reasons of separatism and national disintegration. In fact he betrays his country. Using religion he preaches disintegration, notwithstanding the fact that the islam is a religion of peace, unity and brotherhood. He - for instance - tells the muslims not to do any trading with christians. He always points to the Front Kedaulatan Maluku as being separatists; however, he himself is no less a separatist, betraying the nation.

11. Do you think that both Ya’far Umar Tahlib and Ustad Atamimi in fact are just being used?

* In my opinion Ya’far Umar Tahlib and his followers and also Ustad Atamimi are being used by certain groups or influential politicians in Jakarta, who are after certain political advantages and power. However, it is not sure that Ya’far and Atamimi are aware of this. It is much to be deplored if that is the case. For, once these groups or persons have attained what they are after, using Ya’far and Atamimi, both will be detained and brought to court. Those politicians meanwhile wash their hands and go unpunished, just like happened at the Trisakti tragedy, when quite a lot of military officials escaped prosecution. Ja’far c.s. and Atamimi are useful instruments, because of their religious zeal, their anti communist feelings and anti separatist emotions. But it is the others who are the real separatists and communists, which is proved by their acts of violence and merciless violating of human rights.

12. Do you agree with this apparent change in attitude of the Police, the Maintainers of Law or the Responsible for the Civil Emergency?

* I fully endorse the Police of the Moluccas and of Indonesia, and also those who have the task to uphold the law, especially concerning this specific action. I also praise the Responsible for the Civil Emergency in connection with this act of detention, be it a little too late. However, the Governor as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency should be more forceful in his approach towards those whose only aim is to destroy our nation or to destroy the people of the Moluccas and who hide behind their screens of religion and anti communism ideologies.

13. We learned that you recently visited the North Moluccas. Could you make a comparison of the situation there and the situation in the Moluccas or specifically Ambon?

* I perceive that in the North Moluccas the governor and his staff, both civilian and military are doing very well. They have a firm stance, they are determined, compact and disciplined in restoring security in the North Moluccas. That is why reinstating of a normal situation there is taking place at a quicker pace than in the Moluccas or Ambon. The Responsible of the Civil Emergency in the Moluccas, specifically the Governor, could learn a lot of those in the North Moluccas. The unrest in the Moluccas/Ambon preceded the unrest in the North Moluccas, but reconciliation - contrary to the North Moluccas - is very slow here. The leaders there are unanimous and are not affected by forces from outside the Moluccas. specifically from Jakarta, they simply carry out what they have been ordered to. They administer the people and do not heed their positions, do not care whether they will be maintained in their functions or not. Could it be that the Responsible of the Civil Emergency in Ambon is too friendly? Or perhaps he and his staff are too anxious to maintain their status, which might be overturned by certain forces in Jakarta? In that case they fear those forces more than they fear God.

14. If the local Responsible of the Civil Emergency or Governor decided to withdraw from his present job, would you agree?

* I do not say that the Governor should withdraw, I just hope that my voice may help the Governor to do some introspection and reflection or even to repent. This does not mean that I am an opponent of the Governor. Freely spoken I feel quite close to him in this situation. But I must speak thus because I feel sorry for him. I respect him and hope he will become a capable Governor.

15. You mentioned the 'Front Kedaulatan Maluku' as a separatist movement. What do you mean by that?

* As for me, I do not agree with this FKM (Front of Moluccas Sovereignty) and with its leader, Dr. Alex Manuputty. In this aspect I put Mr. Manuputty on one line with Ja’far Umar Thalib. His attitude and actions create disunion and separation. So he, too, is to be called a separatist, betraying the nation, betraying the people of the Moluccas who opt for unity and brotherhood, who want to live in peace. So I agree to the detention and indictment of Alex Manuputty and his followers. Justice should done, regardless of one’s religion or conviction.

16. What is your conclusion in connection with the latest developments in the Moluccas?

Please notice that all what I have said here, must be seen in connection with the arrest of Ja’far Umar Thalib. I try to be impartial in my evaluation. I do not endorse Dr. Alex Manuputty, neither do I oppose Ja’far Umar Thalib. I am on the side of honesty and justice. For peace without justice being done is impossible. Equally peace without truth is inconceivable. This ongoing conflict in the Moluccas is happening because neither justice nor truth is being done. There is a lot of injustice, many lies are spread and facts are told in reversed ways. It is especially this endless reversing of the facts that keeps the conflict going on. It is sad to see how the facts about Ja’far Umar Thalib are being reversed in Jakarta now.

Report no. 179

Ambon, May 17, 2001

1. SHOOTING AGAIN IN THE BAY OF AMBON - In the early morning of Wednesday May 16, from four speedboats gunfire was sprayed on the christian village of Alang. Alang lies on the northern peninsula of Ambon, some 15 km west of Pattimura airport, Laha. The boats are thought to have come from the direction of the moslem village of Wakasihu, about 8 km to the west of Laha. The firing was done using organic rifles. There were no victims, but a lot of damage was done to the residents’ houses. Their fusillades were answered by locally stationed Den Zipur V military security forces, assisted by several local residents. Though chasing the attackers, nobody could be caught.

In the early afternoon another speedboat aimed its shooting at Amahusu, a christian village on the southern peninsula of Ambon, to the west of Ambon town. One civilian was wounded by a bullet.

A christian speedboat travelling from Waipia on the island of Ceram to Passo on Ambon island, while bypassing the muslim villages of Liang and Tulehu, was shot at by people coming from the direction of Tulehu, but there were no victims nor significant damage.

All of this shooting very much hampers traffic by sea in and around the island of Ambon, which of course is most damaging economic and general welfare of the citizens.

Today there is shooting and commotion in Batumerah. This morning and around midday again there was shooting in the Bay... In short: the situation is developping in the wrong direction.

2. COMMENTS ON THE NEW MOLUCCAS POLICE CHIEF COMMANDER - The new Police Chief Commander Brigadir General Edy Darnadi is received by many people with suspicion. Protestant Minister Chris Sahetapy said to 'Siwalima' daily: "It was he who - when he was deputy Police Chief Commander in East Java - let the Jihad fighters board for Ambon in/since May last year". Several days ago, before coming to the Moluccas, he paid a visit to Ya’far Umar Thalib when Ya’far still was in detention at the Police Headquarters in Jakarta.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 180 - 189
(May 19 - June 15, 2001)

Report no. 180

Ambon, May 19, 2001

1. FKM LEADER RETURNED TO AMBON - Dr. Alex Manuputty, leader of the controversial Front Kedaulatan Maluku Movement, who had been summoned to Jakarta in order to explain on his alleged RMS-activities, returned to Ambon last May 17, where his case further will be dealed with.

2. NEW POLICE CHIEF COMMANDER PROMISES 'A RAY OF SUNSHINE' - The new Police Chief Commander Brigader General Edi Darnadi, who arrived at Ambon on May 17, introduced himself on local TV. He said that initially priority would be given to internal consolidation of the police forces. He also hoped that all his good endeavours to end the conflict, would be sustained by the local population. He promised to try and let a 'ray of sunshine' ('be it just one ray', he said) brighten the dismal situation in the Moluccas.

3. ESCALATION OF UNREST - During the last few days tenseness and unrest on and around the island of Ambon has escalated, as can be concluded from our latest reports. On several locations in the town of Ambon grenades exploded, causing panic. Various vessels are being attacked by speedboats. Speedboats also chase each other with murderous intentions. Among the vessels being shot at was the landing boat 'Pinggui' which left the ('christian') anchorage of Gudang Arang, Ambon, on May 17, bound for Masohi on the island of Ceram. It was only five minutes after weighing anchor that it was attacked by gunfire from a speedboat. However, none of the passengers, among whom was an Australian citizen, was hurt.

4. VICTIMS OF BUTCHERING - On May 16, Cornelis Nahusona and Benny (Poly?) Salaka left their village of Kariu, island of Haruku (a small island east of Ambon), for the woods to pick durian fruit. The following day they were found having been killed in an atrocious way.

Report no. 181

Ambon, May 21, 2001

1. AMBASSADOR’S VISIT - The ambassador of the Netherlands to Indonesia arrived at Ambon yesterday for a nine day visit to the Moluccas, in which besides Ambon, also the Banda Islandas and the Kei Islands will be visited.

An initial visit was paid to the Bishop, Mgr. P.C.Mandagi MSC in which also several members of the Crisis Centre were present. The Bishop - among other things - reported on his recent visit to the North Moluccas, where the conflict has been dealt with in so much more professional way than in the Moluccas, thanks to a firm and consequently implemented stand of the Responsible for the Civil Emergency and the security forces.

Scheduled are also visits to the MUI (islam) and the Synod (christian-protestant). Meetings will be held, too, with the local civil and military & police officials. By his visit the Ambassador wishes to express the concern of the Netherlands with the situation in the Moluccas, while trying to find ways to help the Moluccas in ending the conflict.

2. BURNING AND SLAUGHTERING IN AMBON - Jihad troops last night attacked the christian neighbourhoods of Mardika, Soa Kecil, Belakang Soya and Karang Panjang, town of Ambon. There were numerous salvos of gunfire and the sound of dozens of grenades. About ten to twenty houses went up in flames. According to 'Siwalima daily' at least three christians were killed and nine badly wounded. Listening to what people tell, probably the number of victims will turn out to be much higher. A new method of killing was practised: 'Ninja'-like persons knock on doors; after the door is opened they burst in and stab the residents with bayonets. Attacks on the Pohon Pule, Diponegoro and Urimessing neighbourhoods were successfully thwarted off by military battalion 144/Sriwijaya. But at the other sites the security forces gave the impression to let it just happen. The Yonif 521/Brawijaya battalion, which watches over the Batumerah/Mardika border, apparently let the muslim intruders pass and enter the christian areas unhindered. One military even was heard to say: 'It is a war of the Obeds (christians) among themselves'. Two panzer mobiles came to the Amans hotel, which lies at a site were the islam neighbourhood of Batumerah borders with the christian neighbourhood of Mardika and thus is frequently used for meetings of both parties. However the panzer vehicles did not come to protect the civilians, but to bring the Dutch Ambassador and his group, which consists of six persons, to safety. They erroneously thought the Ambassador, who is actually staying at the Mutiara Hotel, to be there. The christians feel once again betrayed by the Responsible for the Civil Emergency and left to themselves by the international community.

Report no. 182

Ambon, May 22, 2001

1. AFTERMATH OF RECENT VIOLENCE - To yesterday’s report on the burning and slaughtering of christians last Sunday night, March 20, we can add some further details.

The number of wounded is at least seventeen. The deathtoll is nine people killed, among whom two soldiers. The bodies of the latter were found wearing military dress and bulletproof jackets. They had several grenades on them and other military outfit. The name of one of them was in tattoo on his arm: Djafar S. This added to the common assumption among the christians that some military servicemen were involved in these recent attacks. Military Chief Commander I Made Yassa, however, was reluctant to acknowledge any involvement of his forces in this recent eruption of violence. The Police Chief Commander, Darnadi, meanwhile declared to 'Suara Maluku' daily at noon on Monday, that up to that moment he had not been informed yet about these recent attacks having taken place. The Governor, Dr.Ir.M.Saleh Latuconsina was not in Ambon during that night of violence. He is expected to arrive from Jakarta today. Many influential christians can be heard to urge this Governor to be replaced by someone with the qualities of the Governor of the North Moluccas, Muhyi Effendi.

2. AMBASSADOR OF THE NETHERLANDS BREAKS OFF VISIT - The ambassador of the Netherlands to Indonesia, Mr. S.Baron van Heemstra, who on March 20 arrived in Ambon with Mrs. van Heemstra and a small company for a nine day visit to the Moluccas, in which besides Ambon, also the Banda Islands and the Kei Islands were on the program, eventually had to cut short his visit. Having met with the leaders of the Catholic Church and of the Protestant GPM Church, a meeting was held with the Deputy Governor Dra. Paula Renyaan (the Governor himself being in Jakarta) together with the Military and Police Chief Commanders. During this meeting it became evident that the situation was so serious that the Ambassador had to leave Ambon immediately. Though this was a disappoinment for the MUI (Muslim leading board), that could not be met with and also for the Kei Islands where a special program had been prepared, nevertheless Mr. van Heemstra and his company took this advice and - having been flown over from the town of Ambon to Pattimura airport by helicopter - left for Jakarta today.

Note for a "Riupassa" somewhere in Germany. I must tell you the sad news that indeed Peter Riupassa is among the victims of the recent violence. His body was taken to Saparua yesterday and buried there.

Report no. 183

Ambon, May 23, 2001

1. ON THE BRINK OF ANOTHER PERIOD OF VIOLENCE? - The situation in the town of Ambon is worsening. Yesterday at the Gunung Nona ('Maiden Mountain'), Benteng, another christian victim was found having been stabbed to death. Many residents of this area - following the advice of the authorities - have now fled to safer quarters.

2. GUNFIRE - Last night there was frequent gunfire in the neighbourhood of Tanah Lapang Kecil. No reports about any victims.

3. INCREASING TENSENESS - This evening - it is 09.00 pm now - we get phonecalls from the neighbourhood of Manggadua that in the nearby christian village of Kusu-Kusu there are victims of those silently intruding black 'ninja' murderers. This notwithstanding the fact that Kusu-Kusu is regarded as a 'safe' location, because quite a distance from any muslim areas. On TV the local director of the National Electricity Company defended himself against allegements that yesterday night the Company purposely had cut off electricity in several neighbourhoods in order to give the 'ninja' murderers the opportunity to intrude there and carry out their mission of slaughter. There are also rumours that the intruders spread poison-gas. This morning four soldiers entered the Crisis Centre compound, were still are 110 refugees. They asked the women who were busy doing their cooking, which way in / which way out etc. It is the first time in the eleven months the refugees are here, that military come and pay a visit. No wonder this simple fact - especially their inquiring about alternative escape routes - is causing kind of uneasiness. Starting tonight there will be sentinels appointed to guard against any unwanted intruders.

4. NO NEWSPAPER - Today - for whatever reason - there was not any newspaper. Probably they will not show up tomorrow either, since tomorrow is Ascension-day, a national holiday. So any further details on what has been happening these days, will be reported upon later-on.

Report no. 184

Ambon, May 25, 2001

1. TERRORISM IN AMBON - The recent new wave of killing christians is considered to be carried out by professional terrorists, either laskar jihad or military. They use standard military outfit.

2. DETAILS ABOUT TERRORIST ACTION IN KUSU-KUSU - We read in today’s 'Siwalima' newspaper that at about 7.30 pm on May 23, three terrorists entered Kusu-Kusu, a village immediately adjacent to the town of Ambon. They entered the house of Mrs. Anace Huwae (43), who at that moment happened to be alone at home, and stabbed her to death. She was a former muslim who - when marrying - had become a christian. Her husband coming home and finding her killed, went out and gave the alarm. Returning home with three others, underway they met three males in black dresses and head-covering. One of these stabbed and wounded one of these christians using a bajonet. Then the three of them vanished in the dark. Continuing their mission, the three 'ninjas' met two male christians and threw a grenade at them, wounding both of them. The blast caused the people to leave their houses in search of the intruders, assisted by Brimob policemen. They could at last locate the terrorists in a cave outside the village, whereup the brimobs shot two of them. The villagers then took vengeance on the bodies. They were suspected to be Javanese jihad fighters, wearing black T-shirts, dark blue trousers and black head-covering like 'ninjas'. The third one was meanwhile identified as La Amin, a former resident of Kusu-Kusu. It seems - which is not in the paper - that he at last escaped, but was finished off in Kudamati. It is said that last night suicide murderers again entered the neighbourhood of Karang Panjang. Since several generators of the Electricity Company are broken down for the last nine or ten months, during the evening hours from about 6.30 pm to 10.00 pm a number of neighbourhoods and villages are cut off from electricty by turns. It is the dark neighbourhoods that are most likely to be intruded by these terrorists.

3. URGING U.N. SECURITY FORCES TO COME TO AMBON - The Bishop of Amboina, Monseigneur P.C.Mandagi informed the local mass media that he has asked through the Vatican for intervention of the U.N. Security Forces in order to protect innocent civilians. By now it has been sufficiently proven that the government is not able to protect its citizens and end the conflict, which now more and more seems to be aimed at ethnic annihilation of Moluccans, causing harm to christians and muslims alike. Asked about his opinion, the chairman of the protestant GPM Synod, Minister Dr. I.W.J. Hendriks, acknowledged that, if further pressure on the Indonesian Government to intensify its efforts to protect the civilians and end the conflict, would be to no avail, they had no choice than indeed asking for this kind of intervention.

4. WHAT PEOPLE TELL.. - It is noon now. We learned from people (1) That some muslims (on purpose or mistakenly) entering christian neighbourhoods have been killed by christians; among others this morning three intruders in the OSM area. (2) That the Police just now phoned the schools advising the children to be sent home, since vehicles with suicide fighters are roaming about. (3) That also muslim neighbourhoods suffer from creeping in terrorists; they assume them to be christians. (4) That from the muslim neighbourhood of Waihaong several children have been kidnapped.

Report no. 185

Ambon, May 26, 2001

1. SOLDIERS LYNCHED - It happened yesterday morning at about 10.00 am in the christian neighbourhood of OSM (between Batugantung and Gudang Arang). Three males in terrorist-like clothing and behaving in a suspicious way, were murdered by a mass of people. Only afterwards it was known that they were intelligence military sergeants underway to their quarters at Tapal Kuda, Airsalobar. Their names: Djoko, Hariyanto and Tuahuns. Military Chief Commander I Made Yassa felt upset and greatly disappointed that this had happened. However - he said - the military will not seek vengeance, but we will handle this sad happening according to law.

2. CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION TEAM - A criminal investigation team ('recherche') will be set up immediately by the police (100 men) together with the military (10 men) to try and enforce justice and law in Ambon and the surrounding villages. They will be available during 24 hours daily.

3. REFUSING INTERVENTION - Military Chief Commander I Made Yassa, when asked about his opinion concerning the plea by the Bishop of Amboina, indirectly supported by the Chairman of the Synod, to send U.N. Security Forces to the Moluccas, firmly refused such option. He referred to the recent conducive period of four months, when even was suggested to reduce the number of military in the Moluccas. If this new escalation of the conflict is caused by the RMS, we will just stamp out this RMS, he said.

4. ETHNIC CLEANSING - Christian FKM leader Dr.Alex Manuputty declared to 'Siwalima' daily: "The recent actions of terrorism in Ambon are aimed at annihilation of all Alif’uru people, both muslims and christians". He advised all Moluccans to be cautious and watchful, especially those whose houses lay somewhat isolated at the border of the town or villages. There are indications - he said - that these intruders come from Jakarta and are not familiar with local topography, because they make use of locals to guide them to certain spots. There are also indications - he said - that these terrorists each receive a remuneration of 3 million rupiahs (US$ 300.-). He further declared that he had given the alarm to the international community, to which the USA Embassy in Jakarta had already responded.

5. TENSENESS - Since a few days in the christian quarters many roads have been barricaded. Yesterday the rumour was spread that a large-scale attack by muslims was imminent, so that many people refrained form their daily business. This morning an autocar with christian policemen was seriously threatened when passing the muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung. This event inflamed christians who in mass came to the police headquarters at Batumeja. The police fired warning fusillades in order to master the situation.

6. URGING THE GOVERNOR TO RESIGN - It is more and more heard on all levels that Governor M. Saleh Latuconsina should at last acknowledge that he is not able to protect the population of the Moluccas and to end the conflict. This is not only the opinion of the upper echelon, but also of the 'grassroots' like it was expressed by one of their leaders, Emang Nikijuluw: "To end the conflict in the Moluccas, Saleh Latuconsina must be replaced as the governor of the Moluccas".

7. DISMAL SITUATION OF THE REFUGEES IN THE KEI-ISLANDS - Sister Francesco telephoned us from the Kei-Islands that the situation among the refugees in Kei - most of all among those from Kesui - is most desolate. They have scant supply of many things and especially suffer from trauma caused by what they have gone through and by their present situation.

She also reported on a well-organized (interconfessional) soccer happening in Langgur, in which more than 50 teams take part. The opening ceremony was scheduled to be performed by the Ambassador of the Netherlands, however his vist to the Kei-Islands had been cancelled (see Report 182, no.2), so this Sister was given the honour instead!

Report no. 186

Ambon, May 28, 2001

1. ATTACK ON POLICE FORCES - On May 26 two Brimob police cars, on their way from Passo to the town of Ambon, when passing the muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung at the eastern end of the town, were ambushed and shot at. Several of the policemen in these cars afterwards declared to 'Siwalima' daily that pieces of wood, pierced with nails, were thrown in front of the cars, caused the tyres getting flat. However, the drivers tried and moved on. Meanwhile the leading car was shot at from both sides, however, without wounding anybody. The policemen did not answer the gunfire, fearing that the others’ salvos would increase, thus all the more endangering their comrades in the second car, a truck which had only canvas covering and was full of police servicemen. Both cars at last arrived safely at the Police Headquarters, Batumeja.

2. MILITARY TRUCK TRAPPED - At 8.00 am, on Saturday, May 26, a military truck was on its way to Suli where a military ceremony was to be held. However, passing through the muslim neighbourhood of Batumerah in the eastern part of the town of Ambon, it was halted and thrown at with stones by masses. The damage was restricted to a broken front window. The Military Chief Commander and several members of his Staff, who had to attend this ceremony as well, thereupon decided to go to Suli by helicopter.

3. SECURITY POSTS ATTACKED / MANY CASUALTIES - At 11.45 p.m. last Saturday May 26, attacks were launched on security forces, allegedly by terrorists, at several bordering sites of christian and muslim neighbourhoods, among others near the Amans Hotel (Mardika), at Tanah Lapang Kecil, Ahuru and Galala/Hative Kecil. The attackers used grenades, molotov cocktails and heavy gunfire. 'Siwalima' daily supposes that the attackers were angered because the sentinels obstructed their intended invasion in opposite quarters, so they redirected their attacks on the security posts straight away. The mutual firing - with some interruptions - went on up to 5.30 a.m. the following morning. At about 2.30 a.m. there was a remarkable impulse when a number of mosques in the town sounded their 'taqbir akbar'. Some sources put the number of terrorists killed at more than a dozen, whereas those wounded number several dozens, all of whom are now being hospitalized in the muslim medical centre of Al-Fatah and the Laskar Jihad polyclinic of Kebun Cengkih.

4. ANOTHER TERRORIST KILLED - Yesterday a terrorist intruded in the christian neighbourhood of Batugajah. However, before he could do any harm, he was lynched by the masses. On his body various kinds of military lethal devices and other military items (like standard knapsack and belt) were found.

Report no. 187

Ambon, June 1, 2001

1. ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO KEEP THE CONFLICT GOING ON - Late afternoon on May 30 - while the rain was pouring down - there was another attack by a Batumerah muslim group towards the bordering christian neighbourhood of Mardika. One male christian was wounded. The Combined Battalion (Yon-Gab) 521/Brawijaya fended off the attackers, whereupon the assaulters directed their gunfire on these security forces, however without causing casualties. 'Siwalima' newspaper quoting 'Antara' News Agency reports that of the muslim group two persons were killed, namely Ali (34) and La Usman (20); three were wounded.

2. VICTIM IN MASOHI - Pedicab driver Yohanes Bantu Airatu, a catholic from Masohi, island of Ceram, disappeared mysteriously on May 17. His body was found at the shore of Waisia, about 50 km from Masohi, on May 23. There is no clue to the cause of his death, but it is assumed that he was murdered, which is most regrettable since the situation in Masohi is conducive lately.

3. CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION TEAM - The Mobile Criminal Investigation Team ('recherche'), consisting of police together with military, which was established in order to try and enforce justice and law in Ambon and the surrounding villages (see Report 185) has started its operations since May 28. May christians and muslims earnestly support this attempt to restore justice and law and not be afraid and not let themselves be intimidated by anyone to testify honestly on criminal activities they witnessed. Only in this way the conflict can be ended and people can live in peace again. Thus was declared by moderate muslim leader of the 'Forum Maluku Damai' (Peace-in-the-Moluccas Forum), Malik Selang. Also from christian side much hope is put on this 110-member Team.

4. NO REPORTS ON VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS - The Moluccas branch of the National Commission of Human Rights, which became operational in Ambon in September 2000, up to now never received any complaint on violation of Human Rights. Thus was declared to 'Siwalima' newspaper by its chairman, lawyer Ot Lawalatta. He supposes that this lack of reports is caused among others by insufficient knowledge among the people about what exactly is meant by 'crimes against humanity'. Crimes against humanity are any misdeeds against civilians such as murder, destruction, slavery, expulsion, bereaving of freedom, abuse, rape, sexual repression, forced sterilization, abduction and any other physical repression. There can also be violation of the rights of whole groups or communities that are united on political, national, racial, ethnic, cultural grounds or gender. He hopes that civilians will not be afraid to come forward with their reports on violation of human rights.

5. CIVILIAN AND MILITARY ELITE SOURCE OF THE CONFLICT - Lecturer of Psychology at the Universitas Indonesia, Mr. Ichsan Malik, speaking in Palu (Central Celebes) considers that an elite of high ranking civilian and military persons is one of the principal sources of the ongoing conflict in the Moluccas. His speculation is based on the fact that these persons, who have the care for the people, apparently do hardly any efforts to end the conflict. He also said that military interests are part of the design to keep the conflict going on. About this elite being involved - he said - he had a number of evidences. Among these elites are to be found military and police, central and local government officials, adat leaders, NGOs and even IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons). Other reasons of having the conflict going on is the greed to obtain economical profit of potential natural sources in the Moluccas. Further: often people that come from outside the Moluccas do not easily integrate in the Moluccan society and adapt to the specific adat and culture of the Moluccas. The conflict up to now has caused the violent death of about ten thousand people. He hopes that christians and muslims alike will realize at last that they are just being used by this elite. Soldiers cannot restore peace in the Moluccas, only honest Moluccans themselves can reestablish normal community life.

Report no. 188

Ambon, June 13, 2001

1. UNINTENTIONAL EXPLOSION - In the early morning of June 2 an earsplitting explosion was heard coming from Hasan’s house in Tanah Lapang Kecil, Ambon. One of the grenades that are manufactured there had exploded, killing a jihad warrior (Romli, 34) and injuring two others.

2. INVESTIGATION ON ISLAMISATION IN SALAS - The islamisation case of Salas, North-West Ceram, is paid attention to at last. In August 2000 the governor had already instructed the Bupati (regional government chief) of the island of Ceram, Mr. R.Rukka, to deal with this case, however it was never executed or at least had never been carried out properly. The fate of about 600 christians from the villages of this area was unknown, but there have been strong indications that many of them have undergone forced islamisation (see Reports no. 123, 127 and 164). An investigation team left for Salas on June 7, 2001. It consisted of government officials and a deputation from both the christian and the muslim communities in Ambon. If indeed christians have been islamised, they would be offered the opportunity to evacuate immediately to Taniwel (North-East Ceram) or Masohi (South Ceram). Having returned on June 11, the deputy head of the investigation team, Army Major Marthin Luther Djari, declared to 'Siwalima' daily that indeed the christians that were found in the villages of Salas, Solan, Bonfia and Dawang, had gone over to the islam religion according to their own free will, without having been forced to. However, the protestant minister of Salas, Ritha Takaria, who was on the investigation team for pastoral reasons, gave the following concise report to 'Siwalima': It was found out that all christians of Solan, Bonfia and Dawan had already embraced islam since April 16, 2000, whereas those from Salas since July 20, 2000. During eight years this minister had had the pastoral care for them, so he knew his former flock. Having talked to quite a few of them, it was indisputable that they had become muslim because they had no choice. Meeting them in the community hall of Bula, all of those present began to weep. He further said that - while the former christians answered the questions of the investigation team - the community hall was surrounded by some thousands of muslims that awaited the outcome of the investigation. Meanwhile threatening outcries could be heard. Thus it was impossible for these christians to tell the truth. He also said that in fact the team should have interrogated all of the 771 (former) christians; however, they met only 488 of them, because - as they were informed - 'the others happened to be in their gardens or busy in their houses'.

Another team member confessed that 278 of these christians had said that they had become muslim forcedly, however they had refused to be evacuated for fear of retaliation towards their remaining relatives.

A resident of Salas who had escaped from being islamised last year and is now staying in Ambon, Edy Tongke, declared to this newspaper that he had already the cooperation of two lawyers to bring to court several persons in connection with the Salas case, namely governor M.Saleh Latuconsina as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State, Rudolf Rukka, the government chief ('Bupati') of the island of Ceram, further the local head of government ('Camat') at Bula, and the military and police chiefs of the Bula area.

3. HANDLING ISLAMISATION ON THE ISLAND OF BURU - The islamisation which took place on the large island of Buru, Central Moluccas, up to now has hardly been paid attention to by the government. Monseigneur P.C.Mandagi, bishop of Amboina, threatens to appeal to the International Observer of the United Nations in New York and to the governments of all nations, if the Indonesian government does not put and end to this ongoing forced islamisation.

Minister I.W.J.Hendriks, chairman of the Moluccas Protestant Church, when asked for his opinion, said that this forced islamisation of christian was indeed a grave violation of human rights. He called it also a violation of ge-nuine Moluccan culture.

4. GOVERNOR ACCUSED OF INVOLVEMENT - The FKM ('Front Kedaulatan Maluku', which means 'Moluccas Sovereignty Forum') has entered a formal accusation at the President of Indonesia incriminating Dr. Ir. M. Saleh Latuconsina, Governor of the Moluccas and Responsible for the Civil Emergency State in the Moluccas. The accusation is dated May 29, 2001 and signed by the executive chairman of the FKM, Dr. Alex Manuputty, by its Secretary Hengky Manuhutu and by the head of its juridical department, Semmy Waeleruny. Somebody of the Governor’s Staff confirmed to 'Siwalima' daily that the Governor meanwhile is coordinating his defense. His sudden depart for Jakarta last June 7, is said to have to do with this case. The Governor is accused of neglecting his duty to protect the people, and of conspiration with muslim leaders in contriving a strategy of war against the christians; this was most apparent on occasion of a meeting with muslim leaders at Kebun Cengkeh (town of Ambon) last year. He is said to fail in tackling the conflict by means of appropriate proceedings, on the contrary is suspected of collaborating with those who want the conflict to continue, and permitting the laskar jihad to carry out their unholy mission. He even held a silaturahmi ('friendship') meeting with these laskar jihads and let them go along with their islam syariat law. Though being the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State, he never promulgated any emergency procedures. Thus a summary of a lenghty list of accusations.

5. FKM ASSISTED BY FOREIGN BANNISTERS - If the government insists on bringing the chairman of the FKM ('Front Kedaulatan Maluku'), Dr. A. Manuputty to court in connection with his acts of separatism, he will be defended by Dutch bannisters - thus was uncovered by Mr. Manuputty to 'Suara Maluku' daily. He was optimistic about the outcome of the legal proceedings, for there was not any separatism involved. He said: "We (= the South Moluccas) are an independent nation which has unjustly been incorporated by the Indonesian government. I have several attorneys who are ready to defend me by arguments based on international law as it was authorized in the Linggarjati and Renville treaties and at the Round Table Conference. We will be assisted by several Dutch lawyers. We intend to ask for assistance of lawyers from other countries as well." He also said that he had sent a letter to the President of Indonesia requesting a national dialogue on this topic.

6. DEPARTURE OF JAMBOREE PARTICIPANTS - Within short a National Jamboree of Scouting Indonesia will take place in Batu Raden, Central Java. At the departing ceremony of the Moluccas delegation, consisting of 55 scouts (or 'Pramuka' as they are called here), the Town Mayor, Chris Tanasale, could not prevent shedding tears on noticing the mutual closeness of these youths, who apparently did not make difference between being either christian or islam. He said he hoped that these future leaders will some time in future reestablish sincere brotherhood within the Moluccas.

7. AMBON BECOMING A JUNGLE - Much of the town of Ambon is more and more becoming a jungle of high bushes, overgrowing the ruins of thousands of houses. The situation is considered to be not conducive enough for cleaning up and starting reconstruction. Meanwhile the Town Mayor has suggested the thousands of refugees - many of whom have been staying in the town for some two years now - to leave the various public buildings and ponder the possibility of returning to their original homesteads. The town has no room - he said - to build longsheds for them. However, it is fairly certain that the general tenseness in the Moluccas does not yet permit these refugees to pay heed to the Mayor’s suggestion.

8. JIHAD ATTACK ON GONZALO VELOSO, KARANG PANJANG - At 4.00 in the early morning of June 12, an uncounted number of jihad terrorists penetrated the Diocesan Conference Centre 'Gonzalo Veloso' compound in Karang Panjang, not far from Ahuru. The refugees that are staying in the complex and also those in the nearby longsheds and other buildings could flee to safety in time. The 14 policemen who night and day (should) watch over the complex, were taken by surprise. The damage to the various buildings and units and a nuns’ convent was restricted to a number of broken windowpanes, burned curtains and furniture and partly burning of the chapel. The nearby magnificent Latumahina mansion, however, and four other houses were totally burned down. Three christians were stabbed to death when the intruders sneaked into their houses; Mrs. Likumahuwa, who saw her husband and 29 years old son killed, could hide with two grandchildren in the bathroom; thus they were saved though most of the house itself was destroyed by fire. Two christians were seriously wounded. Of the assailants four were cornered and consequently killed; after that their bodies were burned. There may have been more casualties among them. On their black T-shirts could be read the words 'Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah'. They had military outfit. The local jihad SPMM radio justified this action by saying that it was an answer to offensive statements by the bishop of Amboina, Msgr. P.C. Mandagi. In the early afternoon there was again dreadful shooting in the nearby quarters of Kopertis and Renjani.

The 'Gonzalo Veloso' Conference Centre must be held at any cost. The jihads probably spared the complex for own use in future. With its large conference rooms and ample relative comfortable lodging facilities it would make a excellent site for their headquarters. Its location is also most strategic for immediate access to the christian quarters of Skip, Belakang Soya, Batumeja etc. in the town and to the christian villages of Kayu Putih and Soya, the only escape for christian citizens in the town.

9. AGAIN VICTIMS AT SEA - At about 3.00 p.m. on June 12, motorboat 'California' and the speedboats 'Marvins' and 'Teratai 04', that transport passengers on the 'christian' track of Gudang Arang - Galala in the Bay of Ambon, were shot at from the shore of Poka/Rumahtiga and from the opposite shore of Tantui/Kapaha. Three passengers were killed, ten were seriously wounded.

10. UNHINDERED BROADCASTING OF THE SPMM RADIO - The illegal Laskar Jihad Radio SPMM in Ambon up to now continues its provocative broadcasts while twisting facts. Initially the new Police Chief Commander, Edy Darnadi, had promised to take action against this radio station. However, recently he acknowledged that he had not yet been informed about these broadcasts and that he himself had never listened to this radio station.

Report no. 189

Ambon, June 15, 2001

1. APPREHENSION CONCERNING THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNOR - Msgr. P.C.Mandagi expressed his disappointment on the way Governor Latuconsina as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State is handling the unrest in Ambon. In an interview with 'Siwalima' newspaper he even went so far as to accuse the Governor of supporting the recently operating terrorists, expecting that they would support him in maintaining his office as the governor of the Moluccas. The governor should prove his sincere concern for the people of the Moluccas - said the bishop - by withdrawing from his office voluntarily. The bishop also once again stressed the need for international security forces to come and protect the citizens of Ambon.

The Governor himself, on June 13, during evening broadcast on local TV, said he felt responsible for the lives and safety of the people of the Moluccas, being aware that he - too - will have to account for his deeds on the Day of Judgement. He said this to a group of about 30 students who came expressing their grief on the violent death of their comrade David Seitpatiseun during the recent attack on 'Gonzalo Veloso'.

2. FIERCE FIGHTING AROUND 'GONZALO VELOSO' - Yesterday was the third day of the jihad attack on the Diocesan Conference Centre 'Gonzalo Veloso' and the Kopertis / Karang Panjang area. The Military Chief Commander had paid heed to the urgent request for enforcements and had dispatched units of Battalion Yon 408/SBH and of the Combined Battalion (YonGab) to the endangered area. They started at 11.15 a.m. to comb the areas of Rinjani and Ahuru up to Kebun Cengkeh. Then the situation calmed down. At 4.00 in the afternoon, however, the Jihad Forces started to attack security sentinel posts and tried to enter the Karang Panjang area on their way to 'Gonzalo Veloso'. They made use of complete warfare outfit, including mortars.

Fearful fighting ensued with much bravery from both sides. It was only at 2.00 this morning that the combat came to an end. The security forces had succeeded in protecting the local residents and their homesteads. In a press conference, afterwards, the Military Chief Commander acknowledged that in this combat a YonGab sub-commander, Putu Eka Wahyudi, was killed, whereas 8 soldiers were injured. On muslim side - he said - 19 were killed and 20 were injured, some of whom seriously.

3. SPMM RADIO STATION DESTROYED - When the area of Kebun Cengkeh was sweeped, a stray mortar hit the house from where the illegal muslim radio station SMPP sends out its provocative messages. The house and the equipment were totally destroyed. However, not long after, this radio station was on air again from some other location. 'SMPP' stands for 'Suara Pembelaan Muslim Maluku' (The Voice of Moluccan Muslim Defense). Since the end of last March the Governor of the Moluccas, Dr.Ir. M.S. Latuconsina, had already ordered the police chief commander to admonish and to take firm action against this radio station since its news broadcasts are considered to be most provocative. However, this order has never been carried out.

4. I MADE YASA ACCUSED - Following the battle in Karang Panjang, Military Chief Com-mander, I Made Yasa, was immediately accused by muslims of misconduct of his service-men, among others of the brutal way in which the sweeping activities had been carried out. Ustad Ali Fausi also accused the military of having ripped the national red-and-white flag to shreds and having burned an Al-Quran book. This 'fact' was even broadcasted on national Radio RRI Jakarta. I Made Yasa answered that he was already used to inversion of facts. He said: "When the military forces are attacked, they say ‘they attack’; when the military are shot at, they say ‘they are shooting at us’; when they are cornered, they say: ‘they ambush us’ etc." He maintained that the sweeping had been carried out in an correct way and had been ordered by the governor as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State. He also added that it was most unconceivable that an Al-Quran had been burned, since all of the military that had carried out the sweeping, were muslims.

5. YAFAR UMAR THALIB’S REACTION TO THE RECENT EVENTS IN AHURU - From Jakarta, where he has house-arrest, Laskar Jihad Chief Commander Yafar Umar Thalib sent an emotional message via telephone to the participants of a Taqbil Akbar by the Muslim Youth Forum Baguala at the village of Rumahtiga, Ambon. This telephone message was broadcasted also by local muslim SPMM radio. Yafar was heard to declare that the soldiers of the Yon-Gab (Combined Battalion) had carried out this merciless sweeping and cracking down on the jihads because they were paid by the christian RMS to destroy the muslims in the Moluccas, thus denigrating themselves to be their hunting dogs. He said: "We herewith declare that I Made Yasa [the military chief commander] will have to challenge the executioners of the muslims both inside and outside the Moluccas. Whenever and where ever he is found, it is the duty of all muslims to kill and obliterate him... I also feel very happy and send my congratulations to all those mujahidin that have fought in a most patriotic way when confronted with the attack of the christian RMS dogs. How delighted we were upon learning that among the Yon-Gab forces there were 8 victims and even a sub-commander killed. Those who fell on our side now are in heaven, while yours are in hell".

6. MINIBUS ATTACKED - Elsewhere in the town there was also commotion, namely at the 'Tugu Trikora', Pohon Pule and Perigi Lima. In Galala military sentinel post were attacked. A nasty thing happened in front of the military hospital near Pohon Pule. A 'christian' minibus on its routine track Mardika - Kudamati, while halting at the side of road to let passengers getting on and off, was thrown at with a grenade from another car that came speeding along. Ten passengers were injured; the bus was total loss. The many security forces on this always risky location were taken by surprise so that the other car could easily escape.

7. FOUR POLICEMEN DETAINED - About noon yesterday there was again shooting at watercraft in the bay of Ambon. The evil-doers turned out to be four policemen in a speedboat. They were arrested by Navy servicemen. Though others say that there must have been a mistake, nevertheless the case will be investigated.

8. ELECTION OF TOWN MAYOR POSTPONED - The succession of the Mayor and Vice Mayor of the city of Ambon, which was to be decided upon on June 18, will be postponed due to the tense situation in Ambon.

9. MUSLIM CONFERENCE - The Moluccas Muslim Community is planning to organize a Great Conference (Musyawarah Besar / 'Mubes') on 19-21 June, to be held in Ambon. However, due to the actual inconducive situation, it will be postponed until the tenseness will have cooled off. A thousand muslims will be invited to this meeting. Several influential muslims from outside the Moluccas will also be present, among others Dr. Nurcholis Majid, Cak Nur, Amin Rais (MPR chairman), Akbar Tanjung (House Speaker), Adi Sasono and Yusuf Kala. Christians meanwhile welcome this muslim Conference, because internal consolidation among the muslims is very much needed in order to come to a sincere reconciliation.

10. TENSENESS ON THE KEI-ISLANDS In the Sub-Province ('Kabupaten') of the south-east Moluccas the time has come for a new 'Bupati' (government chief of the Kabupaten) to be elected. There is an unprecedented strife going on between competitors. The Kabupaten Legislative Council building has been occupied for 25 days now by adherents of the muslim PPP (Partei Persatuan Pembangunan = United Development Party), making any normal activity in the building near to impossible. It is very much regretted that there is no visible action by the authorities to calm down the emotions, which mighty lead to renewed unrest in the Kei area.

11. E-MAIL BLOCKED - Since June 2 all e-mail in Ambon has been impossible. The server in Bandung informs its subscribers that there is a technical defect.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 190 - 199
(June 19 - September 22, 2001)

Report no. 190

Ambon, June 19, 2001

1. MILITARY BATTALION REPLACED - Recently Battalion Infantry ('Yonif') 410 Diponogoro arrived at Ambon to replace Yonif 407, which has been on duty in the Moluccas for 9 months.

2. MUSLIM CONFERENCE - In our Report 189 no. 9 we said that the Great Muslim Conference that was to take place in Ambon on 19-21 June, would be postponed. However, since many participants have already arrived from the south-east Moluccas, from the island of Buru etc., the Conference could be opened today, be it - as far as we know - without delegates and specially invited officials from outside the Moluccas. The chairman of the Conference explained on local TV that the Conference was mainly meant to be a reconciliation effort among the various factions within the Muslim community in order to come to a common vision on the unrest and other problems which is acceptable to all muslims.

3. CHURCH BURNED DOWN - Today part of the catholic 'Christus Salvator Mundi' Church at Waiheru, between Poka and Passo on the northern shore of the Bay of Ambon, was burned down. The church lies within a military compound. Since last year, however, Waiheru has been left by its small catholic community, which has no intention to resettle there in future. One of its former parishioners said to me: "They can burn a church, but they cannot burn THE Church".

4. AFTERMATH OF THE 'GONZALO/AHU-RU BATTLE' - Some christians say: "Jafar Umar Thalib should be legally prosecuted because of his defiling of the military security forces and Chief Commander I Made Yasa" (see Report 189 No. 5). Jafar’s accusations about bribery etc. indeed lack any evidence. Much protest and emotional utterings of grief because of the numerous casualties among jihads and muslims (between 50 up to 100 according to unconfirmed estimation) can be heard among the muslims and are broadcast on local TV.

5. RETURNING REFUGEES - Forty refugee families recently left Tual (Kei-Islands) to return to their homesteads at the little island of Teor, south-east of Ceram. Six hundred refugees from the island of Bacan in the southern part of the North Moluccas - having lived as refugees in the little town of Kairatu on south Ceram - also returned to their devastated, but beloved, island.

Report no. 191

Ambon, June 23, 2001

1. MILITARY CHIEF COMMANDER MOVES TO BANDUNG - Within short a new task will be entrusted to Brigadir General I Made Yasa, Military Chief Commander Kodam XVI Pattimura Ambon. To that end he will move to Bandung. Of course there are rumours that this removal has to do with his recent harsh sweeping and crack-down on the muslim/jihad forces in Ahuru / Kebun Cengkeh, Ambon, in which - as is whispered - there were no fewer than 123 casualties among the muslims, including civilians. However, the responsible authorities declare that his replacement is a mere routine procedure, involving many other high ranking officers elsewhere in Indonesia as well.

2. TEN LASKAR JIHAD DETAINED - During the recent sweeping at Ahuru / Kebun Cengkeh, ten jihad fighters were detained, all of them injured. They are being treated in the muslim Al-Fatah medical centre now. After their recovery they will be investigated by the police on any involvement in the attack on civilians in the Gonzalo Veloso area in the early morning of June 14.

3. GOVERNMENT FUNDS - The Government in Jakarta has put available for the 391.000 refugees (IDP-s) of the Moluccas the impressive sum of Rp 45.600.000.000,- (forty-five billion, six hundred million rupiahs), equalling about US $ 4,000,000.- (four million US Dollars), which means an average of about US $ 10.23 for each refugee (equalling a quarter of an average monthly salary for a teacher of or office assistant).

4. NEW MAYOR AND VICE MAYOR FOR THE CITY OF AMBON - On June 30, 2001, a new Mayor and Vice Mayor for the city of Ambon will be elected by the Provincial Legislative Council. It is whispered that a lot of bribery is taking place - which is commonplace here.

5. MUSLIMS UNITED IN THE BIMM - The Great Muslim Conference, which was held at the Al-Fatah Mosque Ambon from 19 to 22 June, 2001 (see Report 190 no. 2), was officially closed by the Governor of the Moluccas, Dr. Ir. M. Saleh Latuconsina. More than a thousand participants from the whole Moluccas took part in this Conference. It succeeded in establishing unity among the various Muslim factions that from now on present themselves as the Badan Immarah Muslim Maluku (BIMM). This organisation is to be a conglomeration of 'Mass Organisations', 'Staff' and 'Command'. All decisions will be made collectively by means of meetings and gatherings, and coordinated via an office/secretariate. For the period 2001 - 2005 as the general chairman was elected KH Ali Fauzi. As subchairmen were elected Thamrin Elly, A Tuasikal, Lutfi Sanaky and Hi. Basalamah. M. Nasir Rahawarin is the Secretary General. He is to be assisted by four secretaries and a treasurer. The pleno leading board has another 47 members, 4 departments and 10 divisions. Among these 47 members we read the names of Rustam Kastor and M. Atamimi, who among christians are considered as most influential provocators. Apart from this central association, there will be similar bodies on the levels of Kabupaten (sub-provinces) and Kecamatan (clusters of towns and villages within the Kabupatens).

6. FURTHER EXPLANATION ON THE BIMM - BIMM Chairman, KH Ali Fauzi, in his concluding speech, declared that this Badan Immarah Muslim Maluku is sort of internal muslim government. It aims to unite all of the Moluccas muslim communities and its potentialities, regarding both those that agree to the decisions of this Muslim Conference and those that disagree. He also said: "Now the eyes of the muslims in whole Indonesia will be opened and they will not despise the muslims in the Moluccas any more". He further stressed that the muslim community of the Moluccas will show its strength in pursuing its goal - which is the annihilation of the RMS infidels in the Moluccas. He also sternly denounced the recent brutal way of sweeping at Ahuru / Kebun Cengkeh by the Combined Battalion (Yon-Gab). "Of course we want peace", he said, "but it is not us to ask for it (ovation). Besides, we will under no condition make peace with the RMS separatists".

7. FRIENDSHIP’S MEETING OF SOUTH-EAST MOLUCCANS IN AMBON - The 42 member delegation to the Great Muslim Conference representing the muslim community of the South-East Moluccas - led by Drs. Hadji Kudus Roroa - held a Silaturahmi (friendship’s) meeting in the Governor’s Office building with a number of local muslims and christians that originally come from the S.E. Moluccas, on Friday, June 22. The delegates said that they had come to the Conference with a mission of developing reconciliation. However, they said, they had not been able to promote this aspect, since the Conference did not have that intention straightaway, but only internal reconciliation. Nevertheless, in the South-East Moluccas - they assured - they will hold on to the philosophy of Ain Ni Ain - Keiese for 'stick together'. Present at this Silaturahmi was also Vice Governor Mrs. Dra. Paula B. Renyaan, herself a catholic christian from Kei. Among other things she said that in rehabilitation efforts the Kei-Islands will have preference to other regions in the Moluccas, since after violent clashes during April 1999, the situation has been most conducive there.

8. UNREST IN WAYAME - Wayame, a village on the northern shore of the Bay of Ambon, may have become internationally famous for its community of muslims and christians that up to now have lived together in peace. However, on June 21-22 it became the target of terrorist intrusion. In the middle of the night there were some explosions or mortars ('bombs'), there was knocking on the doors of christian dwellings. One citizen, named Fen Harinda, supposing it to be a friend of his, opened the door and was immediately hit on the head with a longknife. He is undergoing treatment at the Adventists’ medical centre in Wayame now. A number of residents have meanwhile taken their belongings to safer places, others have gone to stay at the local security post of the 733 military battalion.

Report no. 192

Ambon, June 27, 2001

1. SUCCESSION - Military Chief Commander (Pangdam) XVI Pattimura, Brigadir General I Made Yasa, will be replaced by Military Brigadir General Mustopo, who will be moved from Makasar (South Celebes) to Ambon.

2. VISIT OF THE USA CONSUL - On June 25 Consul General of the USA Mr. Robert A. Pollard, stationed at Surabaya, East Java, arrived at Ambon for a visit of several days. It was his third visit to the Moluccas since the unrest started. His main purpose was to find out for himself what in fact has been happening in Ambon during these last few months, for news messages are very divers and confusing, especially concerning the events since June 12. The Consul and his three member staff meanwhile had meetings with the principal government, military and police authorities and with the religious leaders of both sides. During the meeting on June 26 with the Vice Police Chief Commander, Drs. Tommy Jacobs and other police officials the consul said that there is a dialogue underway with police authorities both in Jakarta and in Surabaya for a police training programme in coping with masses which - if agreed to - would be supported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New York Police Department (NYPD). This programme is meant to enhance professionalism in handling civil unrest. In this meeting Mr. Pollard was accompanied by two of his staff members specializing on police and on political affairs. It was also stressed that the USA has no intention at all to intervene in the conflict in the Moluccas, except in the fields of reconciliation efforts and humanitarian aid.

3. CONDITION OF CHURCH WAIHERU - A correction and addition has to be made on/to our Report 190 No. 3: The catholic 'Christus Salvator Mundi' church at Waiheru was only slightly damaged by fire. The local military meanwhile have repaired the damage.

4. LASKAR JIHAD DETAINED - After the unrest in Wayame (see Report 191 No. 8), 11 (eleven) jihad fighters were arrested by military from the Arhanud-8 unit. They are now being detained at the Baguala police station for further investigation on their role in the intrusion of Wayame on 21-22 June.

5. BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF THE UNREST IN THE MOLUCCAS - For those who are interested, the Crisis Centre has printed a short narrative on the violence in the Moluccas and the attempts of reconciliation, starting at 19 January 1999 up to 23 June 2001, the larger part of which is a journal consisting of a reprint of the 191 Reports that have been sent out by the Crisis Centre since last year. It totals 163 pages on A-4 and can be ordered on our address. It costs Rp 45.000,- or US $ 4.- (exclusive postage/expedition).

Report no. 193

Ambon, August 18, 2001

Due to malfunction or failure of technical devices at the server, e-mail by WASANTARA.NET.ID has not been possible lately. For several weeks now even all of Ambon has been cut off from any internet connection. Besides, your correspondent was away from Ambon for six weeks lately. In this report we try to catch up with the main events and developments since July 2, 2001, collected from the local (christian) newspapers "Siwalima" and "Suara Maluku".

1. NEW MAYOR - On June 30, 2001, the local House of Representatives chose a new Mayor and vice Mayor for the city of Ambon. Mr. M.J. (Yopi) Papilaya (christian) will be the city's leader for the next five years. He will be assisted by Mr. Syarif Hadler (muslim) as the vice Mayor. The election is widely greeted favourably and considered to be "clean". The installation by the Governor of the Province of the Moluccas took place on August 4.

2. SPEEDBOAT VICTIMS - Mutual shooting between speedboats in de bay of Ambon on June 29 caused three people to get injured. More serious was the incident on July 1. On that day, at about 4 p.m., speedboat Andre II with 9 christian passengers and 12 Brimob policemen left Galala to the east of Ambon, bound for Benteng at the western end of the city. They perceived a speedboat that apparently had come from Rumahtiga, at the opposite side of the bay, but was stuck, probably due to engine failure. When they were near this unlucky vessel, sudden shooting spurted from it, aimed at the Andre II. The Brimob police officers answered with warning gunfire, upon which several other speedboats emerged from the shores of Rumahtiga, Wayame and Batumerah, so that a "sea-battle" could not be avoided, in which also marine troops from a nearby floating post were involved. From Muslim side it was said that the initial shooting was done by the Andre II. They also confirmed that they had a death-toll of two, while two others were wounded. On christian side there were no casualties.

3. INSTALLATION OF NEW MILITARY CHIEF COMMANDER - On July 2, in a simple and secluded ceremony, Brigader General Mustopo was installed as the new military chief commander of Kodam XVI Pattimura, replacing Brigader General I Made Yasa.

4. RECONCILIATION EFFORTS - The conflicting parties - at least the Moluccan christians and muslims - are developing an apparent eagerness to put aside all feelings of rancor, both on official level and on "grassroots" level: - Though the various neighbourhoods in Ambon still maintain separateness, nevertheless especially on their borders mutual trading is growing more and more intensive. Merchants of small business from the areas of Nusaniwe and Sirimau (which is two-thirds of the whole city) have even erected sort of interreligious organisation, called the FORKONUSI = Forum Komunikasi Nusaniwe-Sirimau, led by a Mr. W.Talakua and Mr. M.Saleh Suatrean. This Forum encompasses at the same time earlier erected organisations, such as the truck drivers organisation and various local trading units. M. Saleh Suatrean explained to "Siwalima" daily that they do not think or discuss much about "reconciliation" like it is being promoted by government officials; "What we care about is our bellies", he said. - In late June in the Nusaniwe area - which is the whole western part of the city of Ambon - another Forum was erected, named the T2R = Tim Rekonsiliasi dan Rehabilitasi. It consists of both muslim and christian young people. They want to cooperate in coping with the various needs of the refugees and all those who suffer following the violence. Besides, they want to restore normal relationships between the people by dialogue and reconciliation efforts, enhance safety, socio-economics and work on proper infrastructure. - Initiatives of fraternizing christians and muslims sometimes originate, too, from the security forces. Thus, for instance, when on July 3 infantery battalion Yonif 144 took leave from Ambon they organized a free health check-up for the muslims of Pohon Mangga at the western end of the city together with the residents of the nearby christian villages of Amahusu up to Latuhalat, in which christians and muslims intermingled well. - Mutual invitations on certain celebrations or meetings are more and more frequent and are usually complied with. On July 12 three hundred religious leaders, christian and muslim convened at the governor's mansion in Manggadua, Ambon, where they associated very well one with another.

5. NUMBER OF HOUSES OF WORSHIP DESTROYED - Recently the local office of the Ministry of Political/Social/Security Affairs (MenKoPolSosKam) published the official data on the number of houses of worship that were destructed during the period 26 June 2000 till 9 October 2000 (four months) declaring that the number of during this period destroyed mosques amounted to 1.308, whereas the number of destroyed churches was 18. However, the KPPMM (Komite Penyidik Pelanggaran HAM dan Mediasi Maluku = the Committee on Investigation of Human Rights Violations and Intermediation in the Moluccas) declared to "Siwalima" newspaper on July 9, that these numbers were most incorrect. They have the following data over the period of the whole year of 2000 (twelve months): - North Moluccas: 117 mosques destroyed, 137 churches destroyed; - Moluccas: 163 houses of worship destroyed (mosques and churches). The Responsible for the Civil Emergency State of the Moluccas, Governor M.Saleh Latuconsina, meanwhile has stated in an official Letter of Clarification that the number of destroyed houses of worship in the Moluccas during the period 27 June 2000 - 30 June 2001 is 164. Consequently the Ministry of Political/Social/Security Affairs (MenKoPolSosKam) has admitted its mistake and withdrawn their statement on the figures they mentioned.

6. BIMM MEETS GOVERNOR - It was only on July 10 that the leaders of the BIMM went to meet the Governor as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State to officially report on the existence of the BIMM. BIMM is short for "Badan Immarat Muslim Maluku". It was established at the Great Muslim Conference which was held at the Al-Fatah Mosque Ambon from 19 to 22 June, 2001. It is meant to unite the various Muslim organisations and factions. Kyai Haji Ali Fauzi was elected as the general chairman. To the press Ali Fauzi declared that the purpose of their recent meeting with the Governor was: to report on the result of the "Great Muslim Conference".

7. INTRUDING OF FOREIGN MUDJAHIDINS - When on July 17 M.Saleh Latuconsina, Governor of the Moluccas, together with a deputation from the United Kingdom Parliament coming from Jakarta arrived at Ambon airport, there were seven foreigners getting off the same airplane. Their demeanour and appearance (long-bearded as they were) made the governor suspicious of their honest intentions in coming to Ambon, so he ordered these men to be checked upon thoroughly by the airport authorities. These men soon turned out to come from Afghanistan, but they were not willing to show their passports and so things got out of hand. In the midst of the turmoil there arrived a group of jihads in order to meet their recently arrived comrades. They succeeded to free the seven newcomers and take them with them. In connection with this unlucky event the governor on July 19 ordered all citizens, especially the hotel and lodging place owners to notify the security forces within 24 hours of the presence of any foreigners in Ambon. It is widely accepted that more and more foreign troublemakers are coming to the Moluccas in order to keep the conflict going on, among whom people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, some Arab countries and also fugitives from Malaysia, due to poorly functioning of the Police Intelligence Department and the Immigration Office.

8. RETURNING REFUGEES - 416 Muslim refugees returned to their town of Malifut on the island of Halmahera, North Moluccas, on July 17. They are part of the about 20.000 people of that region who had fled to the town of Ternate in October 1999 following a border conflict with the residents of nearby Kao. Now most of these refugees have returned to their orginal villages. Likewise many christians from Halmahera have returned to their homesteads in Jailolo, Sabu, Ibu, Loloda etc. In all those places reconciliation ceremonies were held. After the muslim refugees will have left Ternate and Tidore, christian refugees are scheduled to return to both places, thus was declared by the governor of the North Moluccas, Mr. Muhyi Effendie. Meanwhile the North Moluccas Transmigration Office confirmed that of the 8.383 Javanese transmigrants that from Halmahera Island had fled to Java almost two years earlier, 624 people returned to Halmahera on May 20, and 212 people returned on May 30.

9. INFILTRATION BY LASKAR JIHAD - The building activities on the enlargement of Pattimura Airport at Laha, Ambon - after an interruption of several years due to the unrest - were recently resumed by its contractor, PT Adhi Karya. The contractor, however, is facing the fact that there are thought to be laskar jihad members among the workers. A minor conflict on July 12 caused the death of one of the workmen; he, indeed, turned out to be a laskar jihad, named Nurdin. The infiltration of these jihad people is considered to be aimed at making the project to fail, especially by intimidation towards their fellow workers.

10. SPEEDBOAT and MOTORBOAT SHOT AT - In the morning of July 26 speedboat Teratai III on its route from the christian site of Gudang Arang in the western part of the city of Ambon to Halong, east of Ambon, was shot at from another speedboat that initially pretended to have engine failure, seriously injuring two female passengers. On July 28 motorboat Anda II on its routine trip from Galala to Gudang Arang was unexpectedly shot at from the southern shore (Kapaha) and from the northern shore (Rumahtiga). A christian female passenger was wounded. It is amazing that on this very restricted sea area the security forces show themselves hardly able to catch an attacking speedboat.

11. ATTACK ON ALANG ASAUDE - The christian village of Alang Asaude lies on the west coast of the large island of Ceram. Having already endured attacks on 2 August 2000, on 24 January 2001 and 21 February 2001, it was attacked again on August 3, 2001 by about 250 Laskar Mudjahidin. In this assault a soldier from battalion 731/Kabaresi, named Imanuel Haluk was killed. When withdrawing, the attackers took three soldiers, namely Jainudin, Husni Hamid and Hadjat, as hostages with them. The security forces meanwhile had succeeded in capturing 35 mudjahidin fighters. Following information by local people the three captured soldiers could at last be located in the hills not far from Alang Asaude; they were found with their hands tied. The commander of the 731 battalion, Widodo, then went up to the Laskar Mudjahidin commandant, Aris Arianto, at his headquarters in the village of Hitu on the north coast of the island of Ambon. After much bargaining at last both parties agreed to exchange the three soldiers for the 35 mudjahidin captives. Meanwhile chief military commandere Mustopo declared to the press that apparently no Moluccans were involved in the attack. He also stressed that - if the Mudjahidin had not shot Imanuel Haluk - many soldiers might have been killed. For Imanuel then was on his way from an outpost to the principal post; it was 3 a.m. then. However the soldiers awakened upon hearing distant shooting.

12. TOO LITTLE EFFECT OF OUTSIDE RECONCILIATION EFFORTS - Speaking to 300 school headmasters on August 14, Governor M.Saleh Latuconsina said he was disappointed with the effectiveness of so many gatherings and so much talking about ending the conflict in the Moluccas, that take place outside the Moluccas and even outside Indonesia. Moluccan participants returning from those meetings, keep their mouths shut after coming back to the Moluccas and do not initiate any actions to share the results of such conventions.

13. GRENADE KILLS THREE PEOPLE - On August 15 two males were riding a government owned motorcycle along the boulevard east of Yos Sudarso harbour (i.e. Jalan Slamet Rijadi, Belakang Kota), an islam neighbourhood of Ambon. Suddenly a home-made grenade they were carrying with them exploded killing both men and a 54 year old woman, named Saisiem, who was on a passing-by minibus. Four others on this bus were injured. It is assumed that the grenade was under the saddle of the motorcycle and that continuous friction and the heat had made it explode spontaneously. The bodies of the two men were unrecognizable and up to August 17 have not been claimed by any relatives.

14. FLOATING NAVY POST SHOT AT - The 56th annual celebration in Ambon of the National Independence Day, August 17, took place with due ceremonies and joyful festivities. However, in the afternoon there was a sudden shooting with standard rifles from the northern shore of the bay aimed at a nearby floating post of navy security forces. One of the marines was injured. The firing was answered by the marines, though initially shooting in the air. Security forces from the Arhanud 8 battalion approached the shooters over land in order to carry out sweeping on weaponry, whereupon mutual shooting erupted, in which one of these soldiers was wounded by a bullet as well.

Report no. 194

Ambon, August 23, 2001

1. FRATERNIZING - On August 20 Mr. Piet P.Renyaan entrusted his soul to the Lord. He was 94. His roots were in Kei and for many years he was a most influential person in Ambon and elsewhere. He is the father of vice Governor Mrs. Paula Renyaan. Many people came to the house of the deceased in the neighbourhood of Airsalobar, at the western end of Ambon. Not a few among them were muslims from Keiese origin. Many Keiese muslims, male and female, also attended the Mass and funeral two days later at the St.Mary's church in Benteng. On other occasions, too, muslims feel more and more free to come and see christians, apparently convinced that the christians will abstain from any violence. The christians, on the contrary, hardly dare to go and see the muslims in their quarters.

2. LASKAR JIHAD PRESENCE - "Siwalima" newspaper on August 23 reports that according to reliable sources the number of laskar jihad troops in Ambon is gradually decreasing and is estimated now at 800 - 1000 members. For parents and relatives of aspirant jihads in Java it is no secret any more that many of their sons have perished in warfare in Ambon. Also the issuing of provocative messages and pan-islamic designs seem to lack their initial stimulus.

3. TERRORIST POWER CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION - Mr. Chris Sahetapy, member of the Provincial House of Representatives at Ambon, yesterday voiced the feelings of many citizens by expressing his conviction that nowadays terrorist forces are more powerful than national security forces. The nation has not the means to guarantee proper law enforcement any more. This may be apparent by events such as the humiliating bargaining to release the three military hostages between the commander of the 731 battalion, Widodo, and the Laskar Mudjahidin commander, Aris Arianto in which the three captured soldiers at last were exchanged for 35 mudjahidin captives (see Report 193 no. 11). Also the easy inflow of foreign Mudjahidins and weaponry - sometimes by simple brutalizing security servicemen like happened with the seven Afghanistan Mudjahidin fighters on July 17 (see Report 193 no. 7) - proves the inability of the Indonesian government to properly protect its citizens. International political intervention is urgently needed to restore law and order, and to protect the common people against destructive forces.

4. WORLD COUNCIL OF CHURCHES TO SEND AN INTERRELIGIOUS TEAM - On August 23 the Executive Secretary for International Relations of the World Council of Churches, Mr. Clement John, visited Ambon. Among others he visited the vice Governor for Political Affairs, Drs. S.Akyuwen, the Synod of the Moluccas Protestant Church and the Bishop of Amboina, Msgr. P.C.Mandagi MSC. The vice Governor on this occasion fulheartedly endorsed the plan of the World Council to send an interreligious team - consisting of christans and muslims - to the Moluccas to foster peace efforts between the two parties.

Report no. 195

Ambon, August 31, 2001

1. BOMB BLAST – At about 10.15 a.m. on August 27 a bomb exploded in a mini restaurant (“warung”) at Manggadua, killing two people and wounding sixteen, three of whom seriously. The location is in a christian neighbourhood, but close to one of the sites where muslims and christians spontaneously intermingle, specifically the hundreds of students of the Universitas Pattimura. The universitas has there its temporary main campus since the original campus at Poka was destroyed two years ago. About 15 minutes later several bombs exploded not far from there, without causing significant damage. More or less simultaneously two bomb blasts were heard near the Amans Hotel, at the border of the neighbourhoods of Batumerah (muslim) and Mardika (christian), equally without causing damage. The bombs are thought to be home-made and to be discharged by people who want the conflict in Ambon to go on.

2. CASUALTIES IN WAAI – In the early morning of August 30 a minibus on its way from the muslim village of Tulehu to the muslim village of Liang in the eastern part of the island of Ambon, while passing the destroyed and desolate village of Waai, was shot at from close by. Five passengers were injured, one of whom so seriously that he died not long after. The leading board of the BIMM (Badan Immarat Muslim Maluku) demanded the governor as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State and his assistants, to carry out serious investigation on this act of terrorism.

3. POLICE FORCES REQUESTED TO BE TRULY NATIONAL – Chief Police Commander Brigader General Drs. Edi Darnadi declared that he is determined to bolster the Police Force to become “national” again and to perform its basic duties in administering the civilians by protecting them from evildoers and by upholding the law. He called on the citizens of Ambon to let the police servicemen freely go about regardless of either christian or muslim neighbourhoods. On this subject – he said – he had spoken by telephone with muslim jihad leader Ustad Jafar Umar Thalib. Jafar had answered that he fully agreed and that he advised all muslims to endorse this program. Asked by reporters whether Jafar had still prestige in the muslim society in Ambon, Darnadi answered that indeed he still had influence.

Report no. 196

Ambon, September 1, 2001

1. SPEEDBOAT BATTLE – At about 7.00 a.m. on August 31 speedboat Ina Risa 3 left the village of Passo on the island of Ambon, bound for the village of Kamariang, not far from Kairatu, on the south coast of the island of Ceram. Passing the tiny island of Pombo, lying off the destroyed village of Waai, this speedboat, while having engine failure, was shot at by four other speedboats. A accompanying Brimob police officer, named Dewa, answered the shooting by firing at the assailants. Meanwhile they had succeeded in getting the outboard engine running again. When a bullet struck the helmsman at his abdomen, a protestant minister took over the rudder and – with five other passengers injured – took the vessel to safety at last at Kairatu. The helmsman succumbed in the hospital early this morning. On the four attacking speedboats at least five people are reported to have been killed: besides three civilians, killed were also a stray member of the 733 Infantery Battalion on his way to Masohi in order to get married, and a Brimob policeman. Four others were wounded. That makes an overall total of six killed and nine wounded. This sad event is from muslim side reported upon as having been initiated by shooting activity aimed at one of their speedboats when on its route from the village of Morela, island Ambon, to the town of Masohi, south Ceram. It is reported that the island of Pombo now has immediately been occupied by muslim jihad forces. Commentary of police chief commander Edi Darnadi on this incident: “All these destructive actions emanate from a small minority that is determined to have the conflict going on.”

2. SPEEDBOAT SHOT AT – Yesterday at about 5.30 p.m. speedboat Krista on its way from Benteng, Ambon town, to Hative Besar on the opposite side of the bay, with christian passengers aboard, was shot at by a speedboat that came from the muslim enclave of Pohon Mangga, at the western end of the town of Ambon. There were no casualties. Up to early this morning at various locations in the town of Ambon spread shooting was heard.

Report no. 197

Ambon, September 7, 2001

1. CIVILIANS MISHANDLED ON CERAM - Since the beginning of this month in the local christian newspapers 'Suara Maluku' and 'Siwalima' there has been much ado about an affair in the little town of Waisarissa, West Ceram, concerning 47 christians, including two reporters of these newpapers, who on August 30 had been savagely beaten up by members of the military combined battalion (Yon Zipur III and Yonif 731/Kabaressy), stationed at Waisarissa. They had come there to witness c.q. to report on a special adat happening, called 'The Three Brooks' and had been traditionally invited by receiving 'a chicken feather'. However they were thought to have come in order to promote the FKM i.e. the South Moluccas Independence Movement, led by Alex Manuputty. Only after having been taken to police headquarters at Masohi, the local capital on south Ceram, their wounds were taken care of and they were dealt with properly. Among them, three were found to have weaponry on them. Six others were thought to be active members of the FKM, since they had FKM membership cards on them. Though there will be juridical proceedings on their case in Ambon, they were immediately released nonetheless. Should be added that the Commander of the Yon Zipur III Battalion came to Masohi to apologize for the harsh treatment they had been given. The adat celebration in Waisarissa was cancelled.

2. BRIDLING OF NEWSMEDIA - The two reporters that had been abused in Waisarissa (see no.1) were accused to have handled contrary to an official letter that had been issued by the governor of the Moluccas as the Responsible for the Emergency State, on August 28, 2001. In that letter the newsmedia were forbidden to report on any FKM activities. Meanwhile the AJI (Aliansi Jurnalis Independen) Indonesia has strongly protested against that prohibition, since it obstructs authentic gathering and publishing of news items. Having been detained during one day both reporters had been released under condition that they would not report on the maltreatment they had experienced nor on any FKM activities they might have witnessed. On September 5 local TV showed Kyai Haji Ali Fauzi, leader of the BIMM ('Badan Immarat Muslim Maluku') supporting the action of the military towards both reporters.

Report no. 198

Ambon, September 15, 2001

1. CONDOLENCES - The bishop and the whole Diocese of Amboina joins in remembering the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. We pray for strength and courage for those bereaved of their relatives and friends.

2. "TELL THE WORLD" - When on September 1 the bishop of Amboina paid an official visit to several places in the Province of the North Moluccas, he was welcomed by multitudes consisting not only of catholics and protestants, but also - together with them - of muslims. At the village of Tedeng people urged him "to tell the whole world that the situation in the North Moluccas is more and more favourable and that the erstwhile mutual opposing parties now live in peace together".

3. BIRTHDAY OF THE CITY OF AMBON - On September 7, 2001, the city of Ambon celebrated its 426th birthday. At various places and on various levels there were festivities, though there was not much intermingling of the mutually opposing parties. Making up the balance of the number of residents, it had to be acknowledged that the population of the city of Ambon had decreased from 350.000 before the conflict started to 202.000 at this moment.

4. THREE SOLDIERS KILLED - At noon last Saturday, September 8, 2001, three members of battalion Armed 8 Kostrad found their deaths at the military quarters of infantery battalion 733/Masariku in Ambon, where they were stationed.. For still unknown reason private Sunarto shot dead two of his fellow soldiers, named Suijono and Nurkalim. A third one, Mujiono, was wounded. It is thought that then Sunarto pulled the trigger on himself, thus killing himself. The three bodies were evacuated to Surabaya the following day.

Report no. 199

Ambon, September 22, 2001

1. ANOTHER VICTIM OF BOMB BLAST - At about 1.30 p.m. on Friday, September 21, 2001, a truck loaded with cloves and bananas entered the town of Ambon. Passing along Sultan Hasanuddin Road in the muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung there was a sudden explosion destroying the cabin section of the truck and resulting in the death of the driver, Dance Wattimena (43, christian). We postpone further details on this incident, because information is rather controversial. The official stance of the police is, that there was no throwing of a bomb of grenade at the vehicle from outside; the bomb is supposed to have been hidden under the driver's seat and had exploded spontaneously.

2. SUCCESSION OF POLICE CHIEF COMMANDER - Among the five police chief commanders (Kepala Kepolisian Daerah / Kapolda) that will be moved nationwide, we find the name of police chief commander of the Moluccas, Brigader General Edi Darnadi. He will be replaced by Brigader General Farouk Mohammad Saleh, who up to now has been police chief commander in the Province of NTB (Nusa Tenggara Barat). Darnadi will be given a task at the national Police Headquarters (POLRI) in Jakarta. Local newspaper 'Siwalima' praises Darnadi, saying: "Like the Berlin wall was pulled down, Edi Darnadi - during the short time he was employed in Ambon - contributed much to pull down the wall that divides christians and muslims in the Moluccas."

3. OCHA - Those who want to be informed in detail about the activities of various international organisations for humanitarian aid in the Moluccas and North Moluccas, may try and get in contact with 'Marinyo Maluku': marinyo@email.com or open the website of OCHA = Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: www.reliefweb.int


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 200 - 209
(September 25 - November 13, 2001)

Report no. 200

Ambon, September 25, 2001

1. CIVILIAN KILLED IN TUAL - Last Friday, 21 September 2001, local fighting in Tual resulted in the death of a civilian, reportedly killed by a Brimob (mobile brigade) policeman. A domestic dispute occurred on the road between Tual and Un. The Brimob was called to the scene, after which a person was shot to death. After the crowd dispersed it proceeded to the police station, demanding that the responsible policeman be handed over. As this was refused, the crowd attacked the police station and trashed it as the police fled. Calm was restored after a religious leader and the military arrived. The dead man was buried on Saturday, with members of all three religious communities (Muslim, Catholic & Protestant) attending to show solidarity (Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs / OCHA, Ambon).

2. DEMONSTRATION TRUCK DRIVERS - Following the incident last Friday, September 21, when a homemade bomb exploded on a truck at Sultan Hasanuddin Road in the muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung, resulting in the death of the driver, Dance Wattimena, several dozens of truck drivers convened for a peaceful demonstration at the Ambon House of Representatives, demanding clarification on what had really happened. How was it possible that the bomb was hidden in de cabin of the truck (according to the police clarification), killing Dance but leaving the man beside him, named Parlan, unhurt? In other words, what was the cause of Dance's death?

3. ANOTHER BOMB BLAST - At noon on Monday, September 24, there was another bomb blast killing one person. It exploded within a minibus, when it stopped right in front of the entrance to the temporary Pattimura University campus at Pohon Pule, Ambon, where christian and muslim students usually freely intermingle. Besides one woman (Yohana Bernadus) being killed instantly, four others, three passengers and the driver, were wounded. It is thought that the bomb was thrown or placed into the car when it stopped to let passengers in and out. Three young men (christians) who are suspected to be connected with this incident have been arrested. Passing by the site this morning, we noticed that all of the many dozens of minishops on that location had closed down.

N.B. Your correspondent will be out of Ambon - out of range of e-mail connection - from 29 September to about 15 October 2001.

Report no. 201

Ambon, September 26, 2001

1. NORTH MOLUCCAS: MUSLIM IDPs REFUSE TO GO HOME - According to sources cited by 'Suara Maluku' newspaper, 12.429 muslim IDP families or 66.150 muslim IDPs from Halmahera living in Ternate, North Moluccas, refuse to go back to their homes, whereas christian IDPs from Ternate living in North Celebes refuse to go back to Ternate as long as muslims are living in their houses.

2. INCREASE OF NUMBER OF IDPS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE - The Governor of the Moluccas, Dr.Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina, says that it is not logical that the number of IDPs in the Moluccas is increasing, because the general condition in the Moluccas is more conducive now than before. IDP data two months ago indicated a total of 240.000 internally displaced persons, whereas recent figures put the number at 397.500. He has ordered the city government and district authorities to recalculate IDP data in their areas to come to an accurate number of IDPs in the Moluccas.

3. FKM LEADER CHARGED WITH DISOBEYING ORDERS - On April 25, 2001, the RMS flag was hoisted in the christian neighbourhood of Kudamati, town of Ambon, by Dr. Alex Manuputty, leader of the FKM (Front Kedaulatan Maluku). He thus violated the explicit orders from the Responsible of the State of Civil Emergency, governor M.S.Latuconsina, in his letter dated April 17, 2001, forbidding the FKM to carry out any activities contrary with the unity of the Indonesian Republic, including hoisting the RMS flag. Police chief commander Edi Darnadi yesterday declared to the press that now at last the police had finished composing the official indictment and had handed it over to the Public Prosecutor. On this transgression Alex Manuputty can be penalized with detention of at the most one year.

Concerning the twelve laskar jihad fighters that were arrested on October 25, 2000, at Pohon Mangga, Ambon, because carrying various kinds of weaponry (all of them non-Moluccans, coming from Bogor, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Madiun, Solo, Bandung, Tjilatjap, Medan and Nganjuk), Darnadi said that the police was still doing investigation, but any proofs of evidence were still at the military headquarters, he said. The next case to be handled will be the Radio SPMM (Suara Pembela Muslim Maluku), which still goes on with its provocative broadcasting.

4. VIDEO CLIP - Masariku provides a video clip of the Moluccas riots. Those interested in Photos & Archive reports, may go to http://www.egroups.com/group/masariku

Report no. 202

Ambon, September 29, 2001

1. UNREST AROUND 'GONZALO VELOSO' - During the night following Wednesday, September 26, there was spread gunfire and also the sound of several bombs around the Diocesan Training Centre of 'Gonzalo Veloso' at Karang Panjang, Ambon, where earlier - on June 12 - a rather dramatic full-scale attack had taken place. The following night again sparse shooting could be heard, to grow in force once more during the night following Friday, September 28. Locally stationed police and military forces are in full alert, since the site is most strategic for the safety of several christian neighbourhoods in town. Refugees living in the nearby recently erected longsheds keep on the ready to flee.

2. INTERRELIGIOUS ALLIANCE OF TRUCK DRIVERS - Following the incident on Friday, September 21, when a homemade bomb destroyed a truck at Sultan Hasanuddin Road in the muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung, resulting in the death of the driver, about a hundred christian and muslim truck drivers convened at the 'Santos' house adjacent to the destroyed Silo Church, city of Ambon on September 28. They agreed to resume the transport of goods through the christian/muslim areas between Galala and Ambon, starting on Saturday, September 29. The meeting was led by the chairman of the Truck Drivers Organisation, Drs. Saleh Suatrean. Present were also the chairman of the Communication Forum FORKONUSI = Forum Komunikasi Nusaniwe-Sirimau (see Report 193 no.4), Ir. Wem Ralakua, and the chairman of the Diocesan Crisis Centre, Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan. The participants also agreed on regarding the incident of September 21 as a "solely criminal act". They appealed to the responsible authorities to guarantee safe passage. To that purpose they intend to meet with the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State, governor M.S.Latuconsina and his Staff.

Report no. 203

Ambon, October 10, 2001

1. VICE PRESIDENT TO VISIT THE MOLUCCAS - On October 3, 2001, Governor M.S. Latuconsina as the Responsible of the Civil Emergency State for the Moluccas, had a meeting with Vice President Hamzah Haz in Jakarta. Mr. Latuconsina afterwards declared to the press that the Civil Emergency State still will be maintained, because the situation - though lately outwardly conducive - cannot be guaranteed yet to be permanent. Especially in the city of Ambon the different religious communities still live separated on from another. The governor on this occasion invited the Vice President to come and visit the Moluccas in the near future. Mr. Hamzah Haz readily accepted the invitation.

2. POLICE CHIEF COMMANDER LEAVES THE MOLUCCAS - Police Chief Commander. Brigader General Edi Darnadi left the Moluccas on October 5, 2001. He will be replaced by Brigader General Farouk Mohammad Saleh. In his farewell speech he stressed the importance of wiping out that small bunch of gangsters from outside the Moluccas and their local supporters, that want the conflict to go on.

3. FORESTALLING THE RETURN OF CHRISTIANS TO WAAI - According to Laskarjihad.or.id (08/10/2001) the people of the Salahutu area (most eastern part of the island of Ambon) oppose rigorously any attempt by the government to return the residents of the christian village of Waai to their homestead. The large village of Waai is a christian enclave in the midst of the predominantly muslim area of Salahutu. Waai was totally destroyed in July 2000 with a huge death toll. The village chief of Tulehu, an islam village neighbouring Waai seemed more lenient, warning the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State (Governor M.S. Latuconsina) not to enforce his determination to return the refugees from Waai to their village site without discussing it with the muslim community. Otherwise this Waai case could spark new and even more serious conflict.

4. BOMB BLASTS - In the afternoon of October 9, 2001, two people on a motorbike when speeding past the large GPM (protestant) Maranatha Church, threw a homemade grenade at the front yard of this church, where two children were playing. However, there were not any casualties neither any significant damage. The chairman of the Ambon GPM Classis confirmed that about a week earlier he had received an anonymous phone call telling him that bomb explosions were to be expected aimed at several places, including the Maranatha Church. He now asked the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State to upgrade the guarding of the local houses of worship.

An hour after this bomb blast, another grenade exploded at the Rijali Road in Ambon city near the border with the muslim area of Batumerah. This grenade, too, was hurled by two people on a motorbike. Also in this case there were no casualties or physical damage.

5. LOCAL REACTIONS ON USA ATTACK ON AFGHANISTAN - Local daily 'Siwalima' yesterday afternoon received an anonymous phone call threatening that a 'war at sea' will be launched during this week. It was not specified whether the battle area would be the Bay of Ambon or the sea around the island of Ambon (or both).

Anticipating the possibility of attempts of sweeping on foreigners, hotel 'Mutiara' on Pattimura Street in the christian area of Batumeja, Ambon, is now being given special around the clock protection by security forces.

Report no. 204

Ambon, October 11, 2001

1. MEETING THE PRESIDEN - A delegation of the House of Representatives of the Province of the Moluccas, accompanied by the Governor of the Moluccas, M.S.Latuconsina, had a meeting with President Megawati Soekarnoputri in Jakarta on Wednesday, October 10, 2001. One of the topics brought forward was the serious problem of the several hundred thousands of refugees in the Provinces of the Moluccas and the North Moluccas. On this occasion the President was also invited to come and pay a visit to the Moluccas. To this she agreed, to be accomplished on a date later to be agreed upon. Mrs Megawati - when still Vice President - earlier visited the Moluccas on December 12, 1999, together with President Abdurrachman Wahid. On that occasion, during a silaturahmi (informal friendship meeting) she spoke the memorable words: "Stop-stop-stop these destructive activities!" The second time she came to the Moluccas, was on November 11, 2000, still being Vice President. She then went on to Tual, the capital of the South East Moluccas regency, to preside there at her party's (PDI Perjuangan) Provincial Conference. During her one hour transit at Ambon airport she then used the opportunity to have an informal meeting with the local christian and muslim religious leaders and other influential people. She stressed that the conflict in the Moluccas had its origin in the people of the Moluccas, and that no effort from outside could bring about real peace. It was the Moluccans themselves who should reconcile one with another. Her vist to the Kei- and Aru-islands then was most successful. On December 23-24, 2000, still as the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia - entrusted by the President to help solving the conflict in the Moluccas - she came and visited several places in the Province of the North Moluccas. Visiting among others the village of Susupu, island Halmahera, she could not help crying, but she promised "some day in future she would come back to Susupu, to dance and sing with the people, for once peace will be restored" she said.

2. VENDORS RETURN TO MANGGADUA - Following three terrorist bombings at the alternative Pattimura University site on the Latumeten Road at Pohon Pule / Manggadua, city of Ambon during these last weeks, the Mayor of Ambon had closed down this area for the many dozens of vendors who make a living by selling goods to the hundreds of muslim and christian students and other customers, that freely intermingle there. Several large signs were nailed on the trees forbidding any further selling of goods there. However, after some of the vendors ventured to disregard this decree, we noticed - each time when passing this site - that the number of vendors steadily increased, without any interference of the numerous security forces stationed there. This morning the situation was near to normal again. This amusing tableau can be called typically 'Ambon': forbidding, but not enforcing. By the way, the large signs are still on their places on the trees.

3. ANNULMENT RESULT ELECTION GOVERNOR NORTH MOLUCCAS - On July 5, 2001, Abdul Gafur, member of the Golkar Party, was elected to be the first governor of the new Province of the North Moluccas, replacing caretaking governor Abdul Muhyi Effendi. However, it has been confirmed that Gafur, in order to obtain this office, had practiced money politics. So the House of Representatives of the North Moluccas annulated the election result and will hold another election in the beginning of 2002. The President of Indonesia has been informed about this proceeding by the chairman of the House of Representatives of the North Moluccas, Rustam Honoras together with office caretaker Abdul Muhyi Effendi when meeting the President in Jakarta yesterday. Thus we read in Siwalima newspaper today.

Report no. 205

Ambon, October 27, 2001

Note: From October 16 on up to now - again - Ambon has had no internet-connection.

1. REACTION TO USA ATTACK ON AFGHANISTAN - According to press agency "Antara", several hundreds of students from the muslim University Darusallam ("Unidar"), Ambon, launched a demonstration on Thursday, October 11, 2001. Among other things, they demanded that President George W.Bush should be sentenced by the International Court of Justice. They read their statement to Vice Governor Dra. Paula B.Renyaan (the Governor himself being in Jakarta then). They also urged to boycott USA products and said the Indonesian Government should sever diplomatic and political relations with this country. Further, the UN should immediately stop the USA and its allies attacking the Afghan civilians. The OKI members (Islamic Conference Organisation) were urged to declare jihad fi sabilillah on the USA and its allies. Further they condemned the burning down of a mosque in Australia and one in the Netherlands. We needn’t expand on the obvious answer they received from both the Vice Governor and a lawyer, Mohammad Ely SH. Anyway, the mouse had roared, and it dispersed peacefully.

2. DR. ALEX MANUPUTTY ON TRIAL - The official lawsuit against Dr.Alex Manuputty started in Ambon on Friday morning, October 19, 2001. He has been charged with disobeying the Governor’s orders by hoisting the RMS flag (see Report 201 no.3 from September 26, 2001). The location of the Court House is in a christian area, but close to A.J.Patty Street which is a muslim area. On both sides large numbers of people gathered, and the security forces had their hands full in calming down the masses. During the following days the sessions were continued. However, for fear of his own safety, on several occasions the defendant did not turn up or arrived late at the courthouse. His lawyers doubt the legalness of the whole process since it is not a local judge that is handling the case but a detached / outside judge, whereas the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State (governor M.S. Latuconsina) is considered to have no right to intermingle in the judicial process by appointing a judge from outside. There was also the case of a witness, named Abner Matitaputty, who, when arriving at the nearby barricade and asking for permission to go on to the court building, was beaten up by a Brimob police officer.
Alex Manuputty’s lawyers meanwhile, on Thursday October 25, have entered at the local police department an official impeachment of governor M.S. Latuconsina as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State. He is accused of slandering the name of the FKM (Forum Kedaulatan Maluku). He is also suspected of being involved in protracting the conflict in de Moluccas. One of Alex Manuputty’s lawyers, Chris Rahayaan, contends that there is much prejudice in the whole FKM case, because the Indonesian Government refuses to acknowledge the independency of the South Moluccas (RMS = Republik Maluku Selatan). So - he said - "believe it or not, but we will bring the FKM case to the International Court, and we are ready for it".

3. RESTRICTED DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRICTY - Due to failure of several electric generators, the various neighbourhoods of the city of Ambon during the evenings are supplied with electricity in turn, so that only every second evening there is electricity. During day-time, too, electricity is often suddenly cut off. It goes without saying that this is very much restricting various activities, not to mention the damage to electric appliances caused by sudden interruptions, usually several times daily. Those who can afford it, have a private generator now.

4. CONCERNED WOMEN’S ORGANISATION - On the "GPP = Gerakan Perempuan Peduli" (Concerned Women’s Organisation) we earlier reported rather elaborately (see Report 136 from February 10, 2001). This account evoked sympathizing reactions from several readers of these Reports, thus enabling this organisation to continue and even upgrade their various activities. Local national television in the evening of October 20 showed a gathering of about a hundred children - both christian and muslim - who had brought along with them their toy-guns, which they "officially surrendered". They got other toys - such as "Monopoly" etc. - instead. This broadcasting was followed by an interview with Sister Brigita Renyaan, one of the promotors of the GPP, in which she described a number of other activities; in which she also confessed that financially they solely depend on funds provided by donors both local and foreign. The local government often assists by providing strategical locations and guaranteeing security for the various activities in and outside the city of Ambon.

5. YAFFAR UMAR THALIB - Though officially having house arrest, nevertheless the leader of the "Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah" Jihad forces, Jaffar Umar Thalib, has been spotted again in Ambon since October 22 and was heard by a tablig akbar (official speech) in the Al-Fatah Mosque on October 23, while - unheeding the conducive situation in Ambon - proclaiming again provocations like denouncing the Governor of the Moluccas and the local military and police security forces. However, local muslims themselves, too, seem to feel bored with all of his allegations and prefer going on with normal daily business to starting riots all over again. Yaffar charged the local military and police forces of betraying the Republic of Indonesia by letting themselves being bribed. No wonder this allegation has caused much animosity among these security forces. The leader of the military/police fraction of the city’s House of Representatives, Lieutenant colonel C.Talapessy, in his turn accuses Jaffar Umar Thalib of treason towards the Republic.

Report no. 206

Ambon, November 3, 2001

1. LASKAR JIHAD LEADER LEAVES AMBON - After staying in Ambon for one week, Laskar Jihad leader Jaffar Umar Thalib is said to have left for Sorong, Papua, on October 29, 2001. It is not quite understandable how it is possible for somebody who is supposed to have house-arrest in Jakarta, to be able to move about freely in the inflammable areas of Papua and the Moluccas.

2. ATTACK ON WAIMULANG, ISLAND OF BURU - In the morning of November 1, 2001, an attack was launched on the christian village of Waimulang, on the south coast of the island of Buru. In this incident two villagers were killed. The total of houses and other buildings damaged or burned down amounts to 350, which is virtually the whole village. The about one thousand residents have fled into the woods. They reason of the attack is still unknown. Neither is there any information on who were the assailants. Part of the attackers arrived on 13 motorboats and a speedboat, others came by land. The locally stationed Armed VIII ("Field Artillery") security forces did their utmost to thwart off the attackers, but their number was too small to cope with this massive attack. Five of these military are reported to have been taken hostage by the aggressors.

3. SECRETIVENESS OF COMMANDERS - Compared to earlier military and police chief commanders, the recently appointed military chief commander (Brigader General Mustopo, since July) and police chief commander (Brigader General Farouk Mohammad Saleh, since October) seldom let themselves be interviewed by the local press or by TV and Radio reporters. During the TV news broadcast in the evening of November 2, John Mailoa, vice chairman of the Provincial House of Representatives, expressed his disappointment on this fact. People should be informed on what is going on, what acts and preventive measures are being taken in order to consolidate and further foster the present conducive situation in the Moluccas. People also want to know why provocations like the tablig akbar (official speech) by Jaffar Umar Thalib in the Al-Fatah Mosque on October 23 can go unhindered, though ostensibly causing renewed violence to erupt.

Report no. 207

Ambon, November 7, 2001

1. DEMAND FOR IMPRISONMENT OF DR. A.MANUPUTTY - On November 5 the Public Prosecutor in the legal process against defendant Dr. Alex Manuputty demanded imprisonment of the accused for the time of nine months (see: Dr. Alex Manuputty on trial - Report 205 no.2 - October 27).

2. AGITATION IN BATUMERAH - At about 11.30 a.m. on November 5, four passenger cars with christians on their way from Galala to Ambon, passing through the muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung / Batumerah, were hampered by masses, thrown at with stones and shot at. In this incident Mrs. Vonny Sandra (30) was shot in her hip. The cars had minor damage such as broken windows and their bodies bullet-pierced. The reason of this agitation is still unknown, but the lesson is: you had better keep away from each other’s areas, for there is still much animosity.

3. ANNULMENT OF ANNULMENT (NORTH MOLUCCAS) - On July 5, 2001, Abdul Gafur, member of the Golkar Party, was elected to be the first governor of the new Province of the North Moluccas, replacing caretaking governor Abdul Muhyi Effendie. However, the House of Representatives of the North Moluccas annulated the election result because Gafur, in order to obtain this office, allegedly had practiced money politics. Now, on November 2, the High Court of Justice in Jakarta has confirmed that the election was legal and that there is no obstacle to the installment of Abdul Gafur as the Governor of the North Moluccas, unless decisive irregularities can be proved in court.

4. ASSESSMENT OF SITUATION IN THE NORTH MOLUCCAS - Caretaking Governor and Responsible of the Civil Emergency in the North Moluccas, Brigader General Muhyi Effendie, reports that the inter-religious strife in the North Moluccas has cost the lives of 2.084 people. The number of residents’ houses destroyed is 24.000. The total number of hostages and lost people is 348, 284 of whom are said to be muslims, 64 christians.
Meanwhile the "Lembaga Advokasi Forum Peduli untuk Keadilan di Maluku Utara" (Advocation Foundation of the Forum Concern on Justice in the North Moluccas), based in Manado (North Celebes), confirms that on February 2, 2001, it sent a report on the violation of human rights on the island of Poi, part of the regency of Loloda, to the UN Security Council and the UNHCR. In this report was declared that a number of residents of the villages of Dowongila and Cerah had been abducted by a group that called itself "jihad" troops. It is thought that 14 of these meanwhile have perished, whereas 80 - all of them women and children - are still being held as hostages, though it cannot be ascertained whether they are still alive up to now. The national military and police forces have also been requested to find out about these people. However, some local officials contend that it is not only christians that became victims, but also quite a number of muslims.

Report no. 208

Ambon, November 10, 2001

1. COURT DECISION ON DR. ALEX MANUPUTTY - On November 9 Dr. Alex Manuputty (see various earlier Reports) at last was sentenced to 4 months detainment. On learning this decision, Manuputty said he was grateful to the Lord that he was worthy to be sentenced on behalf of defending the truth. However, he immediately also appealed to a higher court. The prosecutor, too, is pondering whether to appeal to a higher court, since the sentence is considered to be too light.

2. PLANNING OF GREAT RECONCILIATION MEETING - At the initiative of the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State in the Moluccas, Governor M.S.Latuconsina, a great meeting on reconciliation is to be held in Ambon in April, 2002. This happening, which must put an end to all strife between the conflicting parties, will be organized and facilitated by the "Baku-Bai" Forum in Ambon.

3. POVERTY - Sixty percent of the population of the Moluccas is declared to live under the poverty level.

4. BOMB BLAST - At about 8.30 p.m. on November 9 a loud explosion was heard in the neighbourhood of Tanahtinggi, not far from Mardika, Ambon city. Reconstruction of what happened tells that two men on a motorbike came down the wide road that leads from the police station near the A.J.Patty Street either to Tanahtinggi or to Mardika. In the pitch-darkness (the electricity being cut off) coming near the Maranatha Church, which is the principal church building of the Moluccan Protestant Church, it was only at the very last moment that they found the road barricaded, so they had to make a sharp turn in front of the Kodim 1504 military headquarters, in which the heavy bomb they were carrying exploded, tearing their bodies to pieces. "Siwalima" daily reports that shreds of human flesh could be found up to a distance of 60 meters. The immediately gathering masses of christians had ample time to walk around the site, for it was only at 10.10 p.m. that a police line was placed. Further was noticed that the victims wore military jackets; on one of the bodies also a purse was found with the inscription "TNI-AD" (Indonesian Army Infantery). The remains of both victims have been taken to the city police headquarters at Perigilima for investigation.

Report no. 209

Ambon, November 13, 2001

1. INVESTIGATION ON BOMB BLAST - One of the two involuntary suicide victims of the bomb explosion in the neighbourhood of Tanahtinggi, Ambon city, on November 9, turned out to be a soldier named Pattiiha from the unit Bek-Ang (Perbekalan dan Angkutan = Forage & Transport), Kodam XVI Pattimura, Ambon. The other one was a still unknown civilian. The military chief commander up to now has not provided any clarification.

2. FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE ATTACK ON WAIMULANG - "Siwalima" daily newspaper reports that, when an attack was launched on the christian village of Waimulang, on the south coast of the island of Buru on November 1, 2001 (See Report 206 no.2), not two, but four residents were killed. One of these, Petrus Tasane (70), is said to have been burned alive in the church, another, named Joel Hukunala, was shot and consequently cut into pieces. Apart from these four casualties two others were seriously wounded. The total number of houses destroyed or badly damaged is 222. Two churches and a dispensary were destroyed as well. When retiring, the attackers took with them various possessions of the villagers, including cattle and three longboats. Nine soldiers (not five as we earlier reported) of the "Armed VIII" battalion were taken hostage by the aggressors; however, five of these have been released meanwhile. It was the third and most disastrous attack on the village of Waimulang. Earlier assaults on this village took place on March 2 and 22, 2000.

3. ONCE AGAIN AUTOMOBILE ASSAILED - In the early morning of November 12, a truck was coming down Galunggung road, entering the city of Ambon. From a motorbike a grenade was thrown into the cabin. However, the driver managed to kick it out just in time. It exploded on the road, injuring a passing muslim university student. Local muslims, supposing the driver threw the grenade to the student on purpose, halted and burned a following minibus with 11 eleven passengers, three of whom military servicemen. In this incident a civilian and a military got injured.

4. AGAIN VICTIMS OF TERRORIST ATTACK - At about 11.00 a.m. on November 12, a package was deposited at an electronics shop on the Said Perintah street, town-centre of Ambon. Not long afterwards it exploded, killing the Chinese christian shop owner, Mrs. Paulina Shong Ling (55) and her son Roby Thebez (29), and injuring 19 others, some of whom seriously (one of them had a leg amputated).

5. VICTIMS AT SEA - This morning - November 13 - a christian speedboat on its way from Galala to Gudang Arang, at the west end of the city, while passing the muslim neignhbourhood of Waihaong, was attacked by another (supposedly muslim) speedboat. Three of the passengers are reported to have been killed, four others injured.

6. GPM UTTERS CONCERN - Last night on local TV, the chairman of the GPM Synod (GPM = Protestant Moluccan Church) was given the opportunity to read a statement of the GPM Synod regretting various recent actions of terror, complaining about the inadept handling of the worsening situation in Ambon and on the island of Buru. He blamed the governor as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State for not taking appropriate measures in tackling the recent acts of violence and abstaining from all clarification to the public. He said that human rights is the predominant care of the GPM: "We strive that the people in the Moluccas, both muslim and christian, should have the opportunity to live peacefully and without any disturbance". Meanwhile muslim friends warn the Crisis Centre to take heed of certain military servicemen, who - according to them - are at the root of most of the recent terrorist acts of violence.

7. VARIOUS SHORTAGES - Ambon (at least the christian neighbourhoods) has shortage of fuel, which is especially felt by the housewives who desperately try to find a bottle of fuel for their cooking-stoves. Electricity is also rationed. Those that have an electric generator have difficulty to find petrol to run it. Besides, the internet has been cut off for already one month now, restricting the possibility of sending messages outside.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 210 - 219
(November 16 - December 28, 2001)

Report no. 210

Ambon, November 16, 2001

1. BE ON YOUR GUARD FOR THAT "THIRD PARTY" – Christian Grassroots leader Emang Nikijuluw warns the citizens of Ambon, both muslim and christian, not to let themselves be provocated by recent acts of terror and violence, that – according to Nikijuluw – originate from a certain third party that wants the conflict to go on. He also wishes the muslims God’s Blessing on the Ramadan which will start within short (November 17).

2. CHURCHES UNITED IN PROTEST – The christian Churches of Amboina on November 15 published a collective statement expressing their concern about the present flaring up of renewed unrest and actions of terror. Their leaders had also a meeting with the Provincial House of Representatives protesting the lack of appropriate action by its members. Yesterday the Provincial House of Representatives issued a seven-point statement, urging the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State and the chief commanders of the Police and the Military Forces to take adept measures to restore and further foster the previous rather conducive situation.

3. RELENTLESS SHOOTING AND BOMBING IN AHURU – The site of the diocesan "Gonzalo Veloso" training centre at Karang Panjang on the outskirts of the city of Ambon, up to the devastated formerly predominantly christian neighbourhood of Ahuru, has been the target of nocturnal shooting between jihad forces and the military and police forces for almost a week now. It was especially vehement last night. No wonder the jihad forces desperately want to occupy the Gonzalo Veloso complex with its neighbouring diocesan Deaf-and-Dumb Children complex and the adjacent magnificent Kopertis Complex (Coordinative Administration headquarters for non-governmental academic institutions) to make it their headquarters instead of their partly ruined quarters at Ahuru/Kebun Cengkeh. Besides, it will make a marvellous vantage point for attacking several christian neighbourhoods down in the town itself.

4. TRAPPED BY LANDMINES – Though already having secured a number of landmines in the neighbourhood of Ahuru, not far from the Petra church and the Gonzalo Veloso compound – probably placed there by jihad forces – apparently on Novermber 14 a left-over landmine exploded, seriously injuring three military servicemen from the 408/Diponegoro Infantery Battalion. One of them had to have his left leg amputated.

5. VICTIMS’ CORPSES` FOUND – On November 14 the body of a male resident of Wailela (near Rumahtiga, on the opposite side of the bay of Ambon) was found in his own field of crops. He was killed by a bullet. On November 15 a corpse was found near the bridge of the christian neighbourhood of Mardika. The victim was identified to be La Hadi (43). He must have been dead for about four hours. He had apparently been severly hit on the head and stabbed at several parts of his body. TOTAL NUMBER OF CASUALTIES – Psychologist Drs. Ichsan Malik from the Universitas Indonesia, Jakarta, while presenting his discourse "peace journalism" on occasion of a meeting for journalist practice in Ambon, claims to have the correct numbers of people killed by violent acts during the conflict in the Moluccas and North Moluccas since January 1999, i.e.: South-East Moluccas (Tual): 434 casualties; rest of the Moluccas: 9.753 casualties; North Moluccas: 3.241 casualties. Thus the total number of those killed in the conflict is 13.428.

Report no. 211

Ambon, November 23, 2001

STANCE OF THE CHURCHES - On November 16 a press conference was held at the Synod Office of the GPM (Moluccan Protestant Church) on the statement that was issued by the 15 christian churches and denominations, based on their recent meeting. We summarize the contents of this statement as follows.

The meeting was held in order to agree on a common stance in relation to the almost three years’ tragedy in the Moluccas and specifically on recent tragic events in Ambon and on South Buru. The statement, which was sent to the Central Responsible of the Civil Emergency State in Jakarta, to the Responsible of the Civil Emergency State in the Moluccas and to their corresponding aides, consists of the following items:

Those Responsible for the Civil Emergency State:

To provide clarification to the public on all tragic events during the last three years, an d more specifically during these last few weeks.

To state in clear terms the role of terrorists in the recent unrest, and take firm measures against these rioters.

To make known to the public the schedule or planning of all endeavours to curb the conflict and prevent it from escalating.

To prove their kinetic energy in reestablishing security in the Moluccas so that there are no obstacles to start rehabilitation in various fields.

To take resolute measures against anybody or any group of persons that try to provoke people by means of their religion in order to keep the conflict going on. Among other things there should be put a halt to the provocative messages by the illegal muslim SPMM radio broadcasts and via religious speeches.

To guarantee security to the Moluccan community [of christians] specifically during the planned three days’ period of mourning and worship, November 20-22, 2001.

There was also ample information on these planned days of mourning and worship - among others to abstain from daily work, except the security forces and medical staff - and the exhortation to the christian communities to permanently abstain from alcohol, narcotics, gambling, vain festivities, internal strife etc.etc.

CHRISTIAN CHURCHES AND DENOMINATIONS IN THE TOWN OF AMBON - For those interested we present a list of the local christian Churches and Denominations:

Gereja Katolik - Keuskupan Amboina / Catholic Church - Diocese of Amboina
Gereja Protestan Maluku (GPM) / Moluccan Protestant Church
Gereja Bethel Indonesia (GBI) / Bethel Church of Indonesia
Gereja Pantekosta Tabernakel / Tabernacle Pentecost Church
Gereja Pantekosta Pusat Surabaya / Surabaya Pentecost Church
Gereja Suara Tebusan Maluku / Moluccan Voice of Salvation Church
Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ketujuh / Messiah Seventh Day’s Adventist Church
Gereja Tuhan di Indonesia / The Lord’s Church in Indonesia
Gereja Pantekosta di Indonesia / Indonesian Pentecost Church
Gereja Misi Injili Indonesia / Evangelical Mission Church Indonesia
Gereja Elim Tabernakel Ambon / Ambon Elim Tabernacle Church
Gereja Baptis Indonesia / Indonesian Baptist Church
Gereja Sidang Jemaat Allah / God’s Community Church
Gereja Bethel Injil Sepenuh / Full-Evangelical Bethel Church
Gereja Bala Keselamatan / Salvation Army Church

MOURNING AND WORSHIP – These last three days (20 – 22 November) have been days of Mourning and Worship, proclaimed by the 15 christian churches and denominations. Everywhere in and around the city of Ambon there were oecumenical gatherings of worship and other prayer meetings. The streets were empty the whole day long but for – in some places – boys playing soccer. No shop opened its doors. The streets were heavily barricaded and guarded by dozens of young men to prevent any traffic of christians. For sparsely passing autocars and motorbikes the barricades were – often reluctantly – opened. It was ended yesterday with an impressive lining-up along the roadsides from church to church by many thousands of christians, singing religious songs. Meanwhile, on November 21, a number of (muslim) government employees held a demonstration at the Governor’s office protesting against this unruly abstaining from work by many of their fellow office workers. They brought along a banner saying: "Office workers are servants of the country, not of the church. The governor should take firm measures against the christian employees that do not show up for work. Oh country, where is your spirit to take measures against the Church?" A delegation of the demonstrators was received by the Provincial Secretary, Drs.Husein Soulissa, who tried to convince them of the importance of this christian initiative.

Report no. 212

Ambon, December 5, 2001

Sending out e-mails is becoming more and more difficult. The only place in Ambon to receive and send e-mails now is the Ambon post-office… if one of both computers with MS Word is free, if there is electricity and if connection can be established.

PROVOCATEURS’ ACTIVITIES - The town mayor, Drs. M.J.Papilaya, warns the citizens not to let themselves be misguided or provoked by various rumours asserting that towards the IdulFitri, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, new violence is imminent. He requests anybody that happens to learn about these rumours, to check on their source and report to the security forces accordingly.

Among the christians rumours abound about preparations for attacks on christian sites such as the neighbourhoods of Mardika and Manggadua as well as on the large village of Passo. They also fear that attacks will be carried out on the alternative campus of the Pattimura University near the Pohon Pule bridge (Manggadua) and on vessels in the bay of Ambon.

THOSE WHO BENEFIT - Not a few make a profit out of the conflict in the Moluccas and – forestalling it to come to an end – will try and have the conflict going on. This is not a specifically remarkable phenomenon in a country where corruption is all but sanctioned. The ordinar daily corruption scandals are often made public by the local newspapers, but to no avail. Conflict related profits, too, are often mentioned, p.e. the dubious financial management by many dozens of local NGOs that have sprung up during the conflict, the unofficial fees that have to be paid to free goods from the Jos Sudarso harbour, or remuneration in order to obtain protection by security forces etc. Regular undefined nocturnal shooting and – now and then – terrorist attacks are considered to take place in order to keep both christians and muslims living in fear and willing to pay their fees and NGOs to have their share.

SWEEPING ON ALCOHOLICS - Since drunkenness is a major factor in causing unrest, all alcoholic beverages are banned in Ambon. A recent illustration: when on 3 December the freighter "Mentari II" – coming from the South Eat Moluccas – docked at Gudang Arang harbour, a large quantity of "sopi" (locally distilled hard liquor) was found: 4,119 liters at a street value of about 41,150,000.- Rupiahs (about US$ 4,225.-) and consequently destroyed.

Report no. 213

Ambon, December 11, 2001

1. HARUKU: TWO CIVILIANS KILLED – On December 4, 2001, a resident of the village of Aboru, island of Haruku, named Nelis Teterissa, was killed in the woods near the hamlet of Nanave. The victim had been riddled by bullets from a standard rifle. A woman, Martha Sinai-Saija, who witnessed the murder, was consequently killed as well. The slaughter was reported to have been executed by six mysterious men.

2. BURU: VILLAGE OF EWIRI ATTACKED – After the devastating attack on Waimulang on November 1, 2001, the southern part of the island of Buru again was the scene of a disastrous attack on an unsuspecting village, this time it was the christian village of Ewiri. The attack was launched in the morning of December 7, 2001 and went on for 3½ hours. Two christians were killed in this incident, three were seriously wounded by bullets, among others the commander of the local Danton 406 Diponegoro military unit. Of the assailants one was killed, four were injured. The protestant church and many houses were looted and consequently destroyed. The residents of the village took their refuge into the jungle. On December 9 the military chief commander, Mustopo, declared during an interview that was broadcasted on local TV, that the motive of the attack was not religion related but mere revenge of a neighbouring muslim village (without mentioning the name of this village neither what actually had to be avenged).

3. BOMB BLAST ON MOTORBOAT – This morning, December 11, 2001, a bomb exploded on the (christian) motorboat “California” in the bay of Ambon. The number of casualties is still unknown. Truckloads with shouting christian youngsters are riding around the christian quarters of the town now. The sound of gunfire is heard. The nearby Legislative Council Building is on fire, probably a reaction of the christians towards the inertness of the Council. A trusted muslim telephoned us just now that the bomb blast is in no way done by the muslims: the bomb must already have been on board previously; there was not any speedboat in the neighbourhood of the “California” at the moment of the blast. Only afterwards muslim speedboats departed from the muslim stronghold of Rumahtiga to try and save the victims that had jumped into the water.a bomb exploded on the (christian) motorboat “California” in the bay of Ambon. The number of casualties is still unknown. Truckloads with shouting christian youngsters are riding around the christian quarters of the town now. The sound of gunfire is heard. The nearby Legislative Council Building is on fire, probably a reaction of the christians towards the inertness of the Council. A trusted muslim telephoned us just now that the bomb blast is in no way done by the muslims: the bomb must already have been on board previously; there was not any speedboat in the neighbourhood of the “California” at the moment of the blast. Only afterwards muslim speedboats departed from the muslim stronghold of Rumahtiga to try and save the victims that had jumped into the water.

Report no. 214

Ambon, December 12, 2001

1. VICTIMS OF THE BOMB BLAST ON THE CALIFORNIA MOTORBOAT - Motorboat "California" on its voyage from Gudang Arang to Galala in the morning of December 11, had about 80 passengers on board. Seven of these have been confirmed to be killed; 42 have burns, several of whom are in critical condition. Among those injured there are three marine servicemen. Another three marines are said to be missing. Also several passengers are missing and people are wondering whether these might have been abducted.

2. REACTION OF THE CITIZENS OF AMBON - It has not yet been officially acknowledged that the fire on the "California" was caused by a bomb. Anyway, there was at about 9.00 a.m. yesterdag a frightening explosion on the boat, coming from the engine room at the back of the ship. A muslim said on TV that may be it was a bomb that was brought along by the crew of the ship itself to be ready for reasons of selfdefense in case there would be an attack on the ship. Many christians in the city got into a frenzy. At about 10.00 a.m. yesterday a crowd of christians went up to the governor’s office building throwing stones, causing minor damage to the building and to the nearby Mustika hotel. After they were driven away by security forces, they then went to the town’s Legislative Council building and burned it down. Another group of christians burned down the marine security forces’ post at Galala. In the town christian and muslim masses were forestalled by security forces to come near each other by erecting barricades.

3. ADDITIONAL VICTIMS OF THE "CALIFORNIA" DISASTER (supplementary information in the evening of December 12) - Among the passengers of the ill-fated motorboat "California" there were two Dutchmen, Moluccan descendants, who were in Ambon for humanitarian purposes. One of them, Julius Patty, survived, whereas the body of the other, Erold Nanlohy, eventually was found floating in the sea in the evening of December 12, i.e. almost 36 hours after the blast. His relatives in the Netherlands have been notified. Three marine servicemen of the six that were on the boat in order to escort its passage, initially were missing. However, on December 12, the bodies of two of them were found, the third one is still missing. Besides, the body of a nine year old girl was found, bringing the total of death toll on eleven people.

Report no. 215

Ambon, December 18, 2001

1. VICTIMIZING THE VICTIMS - The last sentence of our Report of 11 December (Report 213) was: “Muslim speedboats departed from the muslim stronghold of Rumahtiga to try and save the victims that had jumped into the water”. Thus the official recount of what happened. However on December 13 local TV showed victims in the hospital telling what had actually happened: indeed some speedboats with muslims came to the site of the disaster, but not in order to save those that had jumped off the hapless motorboat “California” into the sea. On the contrary they stabbed those swimming in the water with knives and bayonets, lashed out at them with anchors or turned their speedboats around in order to hit the victims with their propellers. Autopsy on the killed Dutchman and other victims indeed showed open wounds. Apparently mutual hatred between the strifing parties is still very much alive and it is a long way yet to reconciliation. Christian “Grassroots” leader Emang Nikijuluw declared to TV reporters that at last the Responsible for the Civil emergy State (the Governor) should speak out the truth and not keep on beating about the bush.

2. IDUL FITRI - The Idul Fitri days (16-17 December), marking the end of the Ramadhan, went undisturbed.

3. INTERNET CONNECTION BACK TO NORMAL - After having been malfunctioning for two months, internet connection in Ambon has been restored.

Report no. 216

Ambon, December 19, 2001

1. POLICE CHIEF COMMANDER REPLACED - Last night during a ceremony in Jakarta Brigader General Farouk Muhammad Saleh was unexpectedly replaced by Brigader General Sunarko Danu Ardanto as the police chief commander of the Moluccas. Sunarko is the fifth subsequent police chief commander during the three years’ unrest in the Moluccas. Mr. Farouk Muhammad Saleh has been granted promotion and will be the governor of the PTIK (Pendidikan Tinggi Ilmu Kepolisian – Police Science Academy). He has been the police chief commander of the Moluccas for three months.

2. NINE SPEEDBOAT PASSENGERS KILLED - At about 6.20 in morning of December 19, the christian speedboat “Haturua”, powered by two Yamaha outboard engines of 40 HP, left the anchorage of Galala, east of the city of Ambon, on its routine voyage to Benteng / Gudang Arang at the western end of the city. Since only from 7.00 a.m. onwards security forces guarantee escort to these passenger boats, there were no military or police servicemen on board. When passing Kapaha/Batumerah (muslim dominated), they initially were shot at from the shore, then a speedboat, coming from Wayame on the oposite shore of the bay launched an attack on the hapless “Hatarua”, killing nine of the eleven people on board, most of them women that were taking their merchandise (vegetables etc.) to the city of Ambon. Since the helmsman was the first to be killed, the speedboat became an easy prey for the attacking speedboat, so that all of the victims were shot in their heads by bullets that spouted from military standard rifles. Of the two surviving passengers one was unharmed, the other was seriously injured.

3. VIOLENCE NOT TO BE ANSWERED BY VIOLENCE - Several hours later the chairman of the Moluccan Protestant Church (GPM) Synod, Dr. I.W.J. Hendriks, could be seen praying while sitting in lotus pose under the national flag in front of the Governor’s Office Building. From a distance, many people stood watching him in silence, moved by this token of utter distress. Afterwards Minister Hendriks spoke to those present and prayed together with them. Another half hour later the Governor came out and embraced Mr. Hendriks while sobbing. However not a few of the bystanders started to shout angrily because of the inapt way the Governor was handling the whole recently emerging conflict situation. However, Mr. Hendriks tried to convince the masses that violence should not be answered with violence.

The Governor reacted on this most recent slaughtering of innocent christians in the usual meaningless and helpless way: ordering the military and police chief commanders to trace the culprits and enhance their alertness.

4. AGAIN BOMB BLAST - On this same fatal December 19, at about 6.30 a.m., a bomb exploded at the border of Galala-Tantui, just east of the city of Ambon, were christians and muslims usually exchange merchandise. One civilian was killed; his remnants were thus that he could not be recognised, neither could be ascertained whether he was either a christian or a muslim.

5. MAIL VAN THREATENED - On this same day, at about 9.30 a.m., three military of Battalion 408/SBH, escorting a mail van that carried mail from the airport at Laha to the city of Ambon, narrowly escaped being lynched by angry christian masses when passing through the christian village of Passo, about 15 km east of Ambon city.

6. CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION - The chairman of the Ambon Legislative Council, Drs. Lucky Wattimury, on December 19 declared to local newspaper “Siwalima” that the Indonesian Government at last should confess that it is not able to handle the unrest in the Moluccas and cannot protect its citizens properly. It therefore should ask for intervention of a foreign country that is acceptable for both christians and muslims.

Report no. 217

Ambon, December 22, 2001

1. BRIEF VISIT BY SUPREME POLICE COMMANDER / BRIMOB PROTEST - National Supreme Police Commander (Kapolri) Da’i Bachtiar paid a two hours’ visit to Ambon yes-terday.

While he was having a meeting at the Police Headquarters in Ambon, there was a sudden burst of gunfire outside, causing people in the street to flee to safety. Even some of the officers inside panicked. This shooting (in the air) turned out to be an emotial expression of a number of Brimob policemen who were not granted promotion whereas a number of their comrades were promoted to a higher rank. These did not deserve it according to the pro-testers, since they had been proved to be involved in the attack by muslim forces on the vil-lage of Kairatu/Gemba (south Ceram island) on November 25, 2000. On that occasion sixteen Brimob policemen had been detained (see Report 101 no.5), including some of those who had now been promoted.

2. MARINES SUSPECTED OF ATTACK ON SPEEDBOAT - The attack on the christian speedboat “Haturua” in the early morning of December 19, killing nine of the eleven people on board, may have been carried out by marine servicemen. Based on the information pro-vided by Stefanus Agustinus (15), the only passenger that came off unharmed, and by an alert policeman, investigation is being carried out by the regional police (Polres of Ambon and the Lease Islands).

3. UPGRADING OF VIGILANCE ALONG THE SHORE - Following the speedboat catastro-phe of December 19, chief military commander Mustopo has assigned about sixty military to be added to the police forces on the coastline of Batumerah/Kapaha/Tantui, to the eastern end of the city of Ambon, because time and again passing-by watercraft is shot at from there. This evoked a demonstration by muslims at the Governor’s Office yesterday, demanding that these military be withdrawn immediately, since “they were unjustly being accused of sniper activi-ties”. However, Mustopo declared that he will not give in to this demand.

Report no. 218

Ambon, December 25, 2001

1. GREETINGS FROM THE CRISIS CENTRE – The Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina herewith wishes all those who care to read these reports and who share our sorrows and expectations, a Happy Christmas and a peaceful start of the New Year. We address these greetings more specifically to the many friends who contact us by e-mail, facsimile, telephone or otherwise and also to those who we were so fortunate as to meet with in Ambon by personal contact: newsreporters and officials, tourists, scientists and humanitarian aid workers. Among the latter, we commend to the Lord the soul of Erol Nanlohy from the Netherlands who recently was asked to pay the highest price. May he rest in peace.

2. PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS – We are happy to report that up to this moment – the evening of December 25 – there have been no reports of any unrest in the city of Ambon. The christians have been able to celebrate Christmas without any disturbance.

3. SUMMARY OF THE CONFLICT – We have readied a simple Christmas present for those who would like to receive it, namely a 46 page (283) account on the three years’ conflict in the Moluccas and the North Moluccas in the Indonesian language. Most of it is a summary of our regular reports in English. We will send it as an attachment on request, and do not object to it being entered on websites. However any official publication by means of a publisher is only allowed in agreement with the author i.e. the Crisis Centre of the Diocese of Amboina.

Report no. 219

Ambon, December 28, 2001

1. FUSILLADE IN TANTUI-GALALA - In the morning of December 27, 2001, the security forces at the border of Tantui-Galala, to the east of the city of Ambon, faced a mass of militants that launched an attack on the christian neighbourhood of Galala-Atas (Upper Galala). One military was badly wounded and consequently evacuated to Makassar. The assailants did not succeed in entering the place.

Meanwhile, while passing by car through the muslim village of Nania on the opposite side of the bay, two policemen were shot at and injured.

2. INTRUDERS - On the same day, in the christian village of Passo, two alleged Brimob policemen were unmasked as imposters. Several dozens of terrorists – both christians and muslims – are reported to have come to Ambon recently in order to make trouble during the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. Several of these are said to have been detected and detained.

3. AGAIN VICTIM OF SPEEDBOAT ATTACK - On December 27 a christian speedboat was attacked and shot at when travelling in the bay of Ambon from Lateri, a christian village between the city of Ambon and Passo, to Galala. Only the two crew members happened to be on board. One of them was killed in this incident.

4. POLICE HEADQUARTERS IN JAKARTA PROVE THEIR CONCERN - In the wake of recent violence in places as Waumulang, Ewiri, Aboru, Kulur and Pelauw, a deputation of eight persons has been dispatched by the Police Headquarters in Jakarta to the Moluccas to do investigation on the spot in cooperation with local police authorities.

5. RECONCILIATORY TRADING - A few days ago we happened to stroll about near the Amans Hotel at the border of the muslim neighbourhood of Batumerah and the christian neighbourhood of Mardika, Ambon. We could see several hundreds of people merchandising, disregarding to be either christian or muslim. Christians can buy food at the muslim vendors at prices often down to more than 50% compared to the price in their own quarters.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 220 - 229
(January 1 - 31, 2002)

Report no. 220

Ambon, January 1, 2002

1. BOMB BLAST - On Saturday, December 29, 2001, a bomb was thrown under a parked government owned passenger bus on the Sultan Khairun Road, just between the governor’s Office building and restaurant Halim in Ambon. There were no victims.

2. LATEST AND PROBABLY LAST DESIGN OF FAROUK MOHAMMAD - Before leaving Ambon to begin his new task as the governor of the PTIK (Pendidikan Tinggi Ilmu Kepolisian – Police Science Academy) in Jakarta (see Report 216 no. 1), Brigader General Farouk Muhammad Saleh informed the press of two new stratagems to be effectuated in coping with the recent relentless terrorist operations in Ambon, namely:

(1) In order to coordinate the security forces more efficiently, the Police Brimob forces (consisting of 980 members in Ambon) will be put under direct command of the military chief commander.

(2) To foster inter-civilian mutual trust and tranquillity by providing the traditional civilian leaders in each neighbourhood of Ambon with certain distinctive conspicuous emblems such as for instance a special jacket. The motorbike taxi-drivers (the so-called “ojek”-s) should also be given a special distinctive item, for instance a special helmet.

3. FURTHER REDUCING OF ELECTRICITY SUPPLY - Again an electric generator (of 8 megawatt) broke down. During day-time often the city of Ambon and neighbouring villages have no electricity, causing many employees idling their time away. During the evening half of the subscribers will have to burn their candles and little oillamps if they do not possess a private electric generator. The Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs during a recent visit to Ambon promised to take care of this problem. Ambon for the time being has now to do with the promise that probably electricity will be back to normal in June 2002. The electricity getting on an off – almost every day several times – does not attribute much to the good temper of the employees and the well-being of computers, facsimiles, TV-sets and other delicate technical devices.

4. FAIRLY PEACEFUL NEW-YEAR’S CELEBRATION - The only incident on New Year’s Eve was a bomb blast in the neighbourhood of Batugantung-Dalam. A kind of grenade was thrown through the roof of a house and landed in a bedroom where it exploded, injuring a woman. Apart from this occurrence the New Year was welcomed in Ambon joyously by both Christians and Muslims, each in their own quarters.

5. HAPPY NEW YEAR - We wish our subscribers a Happy New Year. May all of your wishes come true.

Report no. 221

Ambon, January 4, 2002

1. OUTBURST OF VIOLENCE IN KELANG - The tiny island of Kelang, situated between the large islands of Ceram and Buru, became the arena of an internal conflict of Muslims on December 22, 2001. The fighting was between the residents of Tahalupu and those of Tihu, two villages that of old have known skirmishes among themselves. Both sides used homemade firearms. The strife resulted in the death of a twenty years old man from Tahalupu while three others from the same village were injured by bullets. Police and military forces succeeded in bringing the situation under control.

2. DISCREPANCY WITHIN THE SECURITY FORCES - The fusillade on December 27, 2001, we reported about in our Report 219 no.1, afterwards turned out to have been mainly a conflict between Brimob Police Forces and Marine Troops, in which eventually also the naval floating post at Galala became a target. The military chief commander, Mustopo, declared that the conflict started from an unknown source that started to shoot into both directions, thus thus playing the two units off against each other.

3. CORRECTION ON MISINFORMATION - In our Report 219 no.1 we also mentioned aggression toward two policemen in the Muslim village of Nania last December 27. Our source was the news bulletin of the local TV. However, this information turned out to be incorrect, and the news reader apologized. So do we.

4. WEBSITE - Here is another website on the conflict in the Moluccas that is worth visiting: http://www.websitesrcg.com/ambon/

Report no. 222

Ambon, January 7, 2002

1. SOLDIER BURNED - On December 27, 2001, christians in the village of Passo, situated at the end of the bay of Ambon, halted a navy fuel truck that had brought fuel to Passo. Besides burning the truck, they had also abducted one of the escorting soldiers, whilst two other soldiers escaped. The burned skull and several belongings of the disappeared soldier, named Darianto, have now been found at last at Air Besar, near Passo. It is thought that this action was meant as a revenge on the shooting at the speedboat “Anugerah” earlier on the same day (see Report 119 no.3).

2. BATUMEJA IN UPROAR - At about 10.30 p.m. last Friday, January 4, 2002, three men were moving about at the site of the large provisional market of the Ambon neighbourhood of Batumeja. When approached by several civilians, they fled. However, one of them, named Udin (25), was caught and taken to the nearby police headquarters. Being interrogated he confessed to have put a bomb somewhere in Batumeja and that two more bombs had been placed there. Udin gave the impression of being psychologically hampered or being under the influence of certain drugs. Or he is a good actor. The whole morning of the following day the situation around the market was in commotion, especially since initially none of the bombs was found. The market itself was empty but for the police searching the bombs. The police apparently did not have any bomb dector, so they borrowed one from a shopowner. At last, one of the bombs was found by a child...

Report no. 223

Ambon, January 10, 2002

1. BOMBS INTERCEPTED - When Reinaldo Michael Silver Kriekhoff (22) on Tuesday, January 8, suspiciously moved about at the christian speedboat anchorage of Benteng, at he west-end of the city of Ambon, some marine servicemen approached him and found him to be in possession of two homemade bombs. Kriefhoff then was detained for questioning.

2. SCHOOLS THREATENED - On January 8 an anonymous telephone call was received at the SLTPN-4 public secondary school in Ambon city, declaring that a bomb had been placed in the building. The following day a similar phone call was received at the SMUN-2 public secondary school. In both cases the students were sent home immediately. However, these calls turned out to be just phony ones.

3. CONTROVERSY LOCAL MUSLIMS VS. LASKAR JIHAD - We read in the local christian 'Siwalima' newspaper the following sad happening. In two café 'Planet' and café 'Robot' in the Muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung at the eastern end of the city of Ambon some visitors were enjoying karaoke music in the evening of Tuesday, January 8. This was noticed by several laskar jihads who happened to be close by. Thus a quarrel arose between them, for the jihads do not approve of this kind of western decadency. Then, at about 11.40 p.m., a car halted not far from that location and unloaded about ten men in 'ninja' dress, their faces masked with cloths. They were carrying M-16 guns and FN pistols. All of the visitors managed to escape. However, seven café waiters were taken hostage and one, named Rusdi Tawuta, was shot dead. Both café's and two motorbikes consequently were burned.

4. CITIZEN KILLED - On January 7, Corinus Ishak (52) from the christian village of Passo, together with his wife, was gathering enau leaves to make floor brushes, not far from the village of Nania. For some reason, however, he got in a quarrel with somebody that looked like a police officer (but was not). The quarrel ended in Corintus being shot dead by his opponent.

Report no. 224

Ambon, January 13, 2002

1. ASSAULT ON RUTONG - It has been a long time since a large-scale attack took place on the island of Ambon. However, in the early morning of Sunday, January 13, 2002, the Protestant Christian village of Rutong on the South coast of the island suffered an attack by opposing forces that – coming from the Ambon neighbourhood of Galunggung – had crosssed the peninsula of Leitimur toward Rutong. We are still waiting for more precise and trustworthy information. Anyway, the alternative route for the christians from Ambon to the large village of Passo may thus be obstructed.

2. FINDING A SOLUTION FOR THE CONFLICT - The Minister of Welfare (“Menko Kesra”), Jusuf Kalla, declared last Friday, January 11, in Jakarta that in order to end the conflict in the Moluccas the government will try and apply the model of the Malino reconciliatory meeting that recently successfully ended the conflict in Poso, Central Sulawesi. However – he said – since the conflict in the Moluccas has been going on so much longer and in savageness is “five times that of Poso”, reconciliation will not so easily be secured as in Malino.

3. WHAT KEEPS THE CONFLICT GOING ON - This is an often asked question. It is sufficiently evident that the conflict now is mainly restricted to the city of Ambon and neighbouring villages. Though there still is much mutual mistrust and ill-feeling between Christians and Muslims, however, up to yesterday there were hardly any large-scale attacks and destructive activities any more. Police Chief Commander Farouk Mohamad Saleh is of the opinion that recent bombings and other terrorist activities have their source not in one of the opposing parties, but are carried out by a third party, that wants the conflict to go on for reasons of business, specifically to foster the need of weaponry and drugs. Military Chief Commander Mustopo, asked whether any security forces are involved in this trade of weaponry and drugs, answered that he did not rule out the possibility.

4. MILITARY WITHDRAWN FROM GALUNGGUNG - Following the burning of the two cafés in the Muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung on January 8, local residents were very disappointed that the military security forces had not done any effort to forestall this sad happening or to prevent it to occur. So in the early morning (3.30 a.m.) of January 10, a mass of protesters held a demonstration in front of the insurance office “Jasa Rajarja” in Galunggung, where the 408/Suhbrastha Infantery Battalion was stationed. It ended with the building being thrown at with stones, shattering a lot of windowpanes. Battalion Commander Djoko Suprapto consequently withdrew his troops from the area.

Report no. 225

Ambon, January 14, 2002

1. FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE ATTACK ON RUTONG - As we reported in our latest report, on Sunday, January 13, the Christian village of Rutong, on the South coast of the island of Ambon, was attacked. During the three years of conflict, this was the fourth time that an attack was launched on this little village. About 500 assailants, carrying AK-47, SS-1, M-16 rifles and FN pistols, came down the hills and got as far as about 60 meters from the border of the village. Though they had been hiding in the nearby hills since the afternoon before, the local security forces had not taken any forestalling measures and were caught by surprise. Brimob police forces, assisted by local civilians, ordinar police and military troops, only came in action when the attack started. After some hours of mutual shooting they at last succeeded to beat off the aggressors. The assailants withdrew into the direction of the muslim sites of Air Kuning and Kebun Cengkeh at the outskirts of the city of Ambon. After they had retired from the place, one unknown male victim was found dead, presumably one of the attackers. Most of the women and children meanwhile had been evacuated to safer places. Mrs. Len Maitimu (75), when fleeing to the neighbouring village of Leahari, was seriously injured by a stray bullet. Another civilian, Ferry Maspaitella, while fighting the attackers, was also badly injured. Several others had minor injuries. In Rutong and neighbouring villages additional security forces will be stationed, but there is no mentioning of any legal prosecution towards the assailants, whose identities have not been certified either.

2. NEW CHIEF POLICE COMMANDER FOR THE MOLUCCAS TO BE INAUGURATED IN JAKARTA - On December 18 it was decided that Brigader General Farouk Muhammad Saleh would be replaced by Brigader General Sunarko Danu Ardanto as the police chief commander of the Moluccas. The official inauguration was due to take place in Ambon. However, seemingly for reasons of efficiency, the official handing over of the command will be done in Jakarta.

Report no. 226

Ambon, January 26, 2002

1. VISIT STATE MINISTERS - Some Cabinet Ministers and chief security officers arrivid in Ambon yesterday, January 25, 2001. The group consisted of Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhyono, Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Yusuf Kalla, Indonesian Military Chief of General Affairs Lt.Gen.Djamari Chaniago, National Police Chief Gen. Da’i Achtiar and some government officials.

Having been welcomed at the Pattimura airport of Ambon at Laha, which lies on the opposite side of the bay, local TV showed the group making two stops during the travel (by road) of the 40-odd kilometers to the city of Ambon. The first stop was at Wayame, a village that has become widely known for the uninterrupted peaceful coexistence and intermingling of the local muslims and christians since the start of the unrest in the Moluccas three years ago. Having rounded the bay, a second stop was made at the equally well-known refugee camp at the naval base of Halong, where christian and muslim refugees live in peace together. Speaking in Wayame, the ministers declared that they came with a mission of peace, brotherhood and unity. Ir.Yusuf Kalla hoped that soon the Moluccas would become one mega-Wayame, the politcal leaders of the Moluccas following the example of the village chief, Dang Hunihuwa.

After visiting Ambon the group will leave for Ternate, capital of the Province of the North Moluccas.

2. IMPROVEMENT MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP - Relations between christians and muslims in the villages on the South coast of West Seram have much improved lately. Various sources report that in the regencies (“kecamatan”) of Kairatu and adjoining Amahai, in many villages christians and muslims socialize and live in peace together now. Life in villages like Waisarissa up to Latuhualoy (kecamatan Kairatu), Haruru and Waipo (kecamatan Amahai, near the local capital Masohi) is back near to normal. The village chief of Haruru, Mrs. H.Matoke, declared to “Siwalima” daily that this peaceful situation in her village has been going on uninterruptedly for almost one year already.

3. SITUATION IN AMBON - In Ambon the situation is still rather tense though since January 13th there have hardly been any acts of violence involving the two communities or the security forces. The new Police Chief Commander, Sunarko Danu Ardianto, says he is carrying on the strategy of his predecessor, Farouk Mohammad Saleh.

Report no. 227

Ambon, January 27, 2002

1. CABINET MINISTERS PAY SERIOUS ATTENTION - There is an overall feeling of contentment following the visit of the Minister for Political and Security Affairs, the Minister for People’s Welfare and their companions. They seemed to be indefatigable in attending various meetings. Among others they spent two hours with each of the two opposing communites, seriously and attentively listening to both communities’ complaints and demands. The Minister for Political and Security Affairs envisaged a nine months’ program in several stages towards restoring an atmosphere of tranquillity in the Moluccas. We have the impression that for the muslim community the most important thing – even a conditio qua non for any dialogue – is that justice be done, focusing on the paramount point of discussion: which of both communities in fact started the conflict on that dramatic January 19th 1999. Whereas on christian side was stressed the need to come to an open and sincere dialogue and the avoiding of any acts of violence.

2. VISIT TO THE NORTH MOLUCCAS - In the afternoon of Saturday January 26, both Ministers, the military and police Chiefs and their accompanying government officials left for Ternate, capital of the North Moluccas, which lies about five hundred kilometers North of Ambon.

Report no. 228

Ambon, January 29, 2002

1. DEALING WITH THE CONFLICT - Before leaving for Jakarta on Sunday, January 27, Cabinet Minister for People’s Welfare Yusuf Kalla (who had not left for Ternate the day before) was seen on TV declaring that a meeting on solving the conflict in the Moluccas was to take place within short. It is scheduled (“Insya Allah” – If it is God’s Will) to be held in the Makassar area, South Sulawesi, next February 6-7. From each of the opposing parties 25 representative members will be invited to participate in this meeting, which will also be witnessed by a delegation of the National MUI (Musyawarah Umat Islam) and the PGI (Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja Kristen Indonesia = National Assembly of Christian Churches in Indonesia).

2. FINDING THE ROOTS OF THE CONFLICT - National Police Chief Gen. Da’i Bachtiar, one of the members of the team that recently visited Ambon, declared to the press that the rumours – even accusations – about the presence and activities of the RMS (Republik Maluku Selatan / Movement for South Moluccas Independence) will be thoroughly investigated by the police.

When Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhyono before leaving Ambon last Saturday was asked about any involvement of the Al Qaedah in the Moluccas, he said not to be available for any comment to this point. Also when asked for his opinion concerning the presence of the laskar jihad forces in the Moluccas, he was not accessible for comment.

According to 'Siwalima' daily, Msgr. P.C.Mandagi, the local bishop, the recent visit of the two Cabinet Ministers and other official figures from Jakarta had undoubtedly to do with the international pressure on Indonesia to crack down on terrorism. Where neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines are doing their utmost to track and wipe out any terrorists, there seems to be no serious effort to this end in Indonesia, so that Indonesia is more and more likely to become a terrorists’ nest.

Report no. 229

Ambon, January 31, 2002

1. NO CLUE TO SOURCE OF BOMBING - Barely had Cabinet Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhyono c.s. left Ambon last Saturday, January 26, when – around midnight – there were frightening sounds of bombs and mortars being launched, mostly in the Muslim dominated areas of Air Kuning, Kebun Cengkeh, Ahuru and Galunggung. Up to now it is not clear who in fact were the actors of this performance, which – by the way – does not seem to have caused any casualties or major physical damage. “Manado Post” daily sees a possible link with the Malino agreement on Poso: Is it that the laskar jihad, being frustrated, now might want to prevent any such reconciliation to be effectuated in the Moluccas as well?

2. INTERNAL CONFLICT LOCAL POLICE - The sound of scaring shooting was also heard in the morning of Monday January 28 at the Regional Police Headquarters (“Mapolres”) at Perigilima, city of Ambon. It turned out to be an internal conflict among members of Regiment I Brimob Police forces.

3. STILL A LONG WAY TO GO - On returning in Jakarta from his recent visit to the Moluccas and North Moluccas, Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs, Susilo Bambang Yudhyono, declared on January 29 to the press that, as a whole, the conflicting parties in the Moluccas are fed up with the conflict and want it to be over. However, there are certain forces at work that are ceaselessly trying to have the hostilities go on. He urged those of good will not to give way to despair, since he was convinced that these antagonist forces would undoubtedly be neutralized.

4. READYING FOR MAKASSAR - Delegates, both Christian and Muslim, have left for Makassar, the capital of the Province of South Sulawesi, to prepare themselves for the interreligious meeting that will be held there in order to pave the way for restoring normal living conditions in the Moluccas. Among those who left for Makassar we noticed among others the chairman of the Moluccan Protestant Church (GPM) Synod, Dr. I.W.J. Hendriks, Bishop P.C.Mandagi and Fr. Agus Ulahaiyanan from the Crisis Centre. Local TV last night was on line with the Police Chief Commander of South Sulawesi, Firman Gani, in which the latter provided the following pieces of information: The meeting, which – like the earlier one on Poso – is initiated by the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Yusuf Kalla, will probably take place in Malino, a mountain resort South-East of Makassar. Here, too, the recent meeting on the conflict in Poso was held, yielding success. However, the conflict in the Moluccas is far more complicated and will not be solved that easy. Firman Gani declared that informal meetings had started during the afternoon of January 30, notably a meeting of the Governors of the Moluccas and South Sulawesi and some other officials, with the Christian delegation, whereas in the evening a similar meeting with the Muslims was due to be held. The formal meeting will most likely take place on February 6-7, 2002. Up to now – he said – the general situation in Makassar was quiet. Of course the police is in full alert. The military forces will stand by only in case an emergency might emerge.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 230 - 239
(January 31 - February 20, 2002)

Report no. 230

Ambon, January 31, 2002

1. THE WARRING PARTIES SET FOR TALKS NEXT WEEK - Since the meeting of the Moluccas opposing parties that is planned to take place in Malino next week may be of paramount significance for the future of the Moluccas, we intend to report on it more elaborately than we usual do. The following report has been summarized from 'Jakarta Post' daily, January 31, 2002.

The preliminary meetings in Makassar on Wednesday, January 30, were aimed at laying the groundwork for formal peace talks between the warring parties scheduled for February 5 and 7 in the South Sulawesi hill resort of Malino. Among other things an agenda should be outlined to guide discussion at next week’s formal meeting.

The mediators, led by Coordinating Minister for Social Affairs Jusuf Kalla, held talks with Christian representatives at the Losari Beach Hotel in Makassar, followed by a meeting with Muslim representatives at the city’s Kenari Hotel. The two feuding groups were each represented by 15 delegates. The Muslim delegation was led by Abdul Wahab Polpoke and the Christian representatives were led by Msgr. P.C.Mandagi, Bishop of Amboina. Present at the meetings were the Governor of the Moluccas Saleh Latuconsina, the governor of South Sulawesi HZB Palaguna and senior local legislators and also senior officers from the National Police and Indonesian Military.

Today (Thursday) the delegates return to Ambon to disseminate the outcomes of the informal meeting among their respective followers before flying back to Malino on February 4.

It is not clear whether leaders of the militant Java-based Laskar Jihad group, blamed for worsening the conflicts in the Moluccas, were part of the Muslim delegation yesterday.

The formal peace talks in Malino next week are designed to seek an agreement on halting the violence, forming an acceptable basis for a judicial process, setting up a team of peace monitors and starting a repatriation program for the some 500,000 refugees / IDP-s.

2. FIRST-HAND REPORT BY JACKY MANUPUTTY - Especially for the Masariku Network members one of the christian delegates, Mr. Jacky Manuputty, provides a report, of which we select and summarize the following items as an addition to the above Jakarta Post report:

One of the points of discussion among the christians at the Losari Beach Hotel Makassar was: ascertaining that this christian delegation indeed could be called representative for all segments of the christians in the Moluccas. Another point of discussion was the evaluation on the recent meeting in Ambon (on January 25) with the two Cabinet Ministers and accompanying team that had come to Ambon. Main point of discussion, however, was the assessment on convergence and disconvergence in claims and demands between both opposing parties. Thus most of the 4 hours’ meeting was directed at finding ways to let the convergence prevail over the disconvergence.

The South Sulawesi Governor emphasized that he himself, together with all of the South Sulawesi population, would try and be a dedicated host in order to facilitate a favourable outcome of the meeting next week. Anyhow, clearly our personal safety was meticulously taken care of by numerous security personnel in and around the hotel where we were staying. We were also visited by some influential local citizens that revealed their support on any propitious ending of the Moluccas conflict.

Report no. 231

Ambon, February 1, 2002

1. NORTH MOLUCCAS WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE - During a meeting on national level of the Governors of the Provinces of Indonesia, caretaking Governor of the Province of the North Moluccas A.M.Effendie, when on January 30 interviewed by the press in Jakarta, declared that the reconciliation process in the North Moluccas is underway without any interference of the national Government. Our reconciliation team – he said – consists of 391 members. The reconciliation process is taking place among the civilians in a spontaneous, natural way; there are no VIPs and no underdogs, there is no need of people wearing ties neither of luxury hotels, no bargaining around the table. I do not allow anybody to call himself a “reconciliator”. I hope the Government will refrain from any interfering in this natural reconciliation process – he said.

2. MALINO MEETING POSTPONED - Jacky Manuputty in his second report from Makassar provides the following items of information.

The christians during their meeting agreed on 14 points in which they are likely to converge with muslim demands, whereas the diconvergence will doubtlessly center on these two crucial issues: the muslims disputing any RMS / FKM activities and the christians’ disputing the presence of the Laskar Jihad.

Jacky says he was informed about one of the results of the Muslims’ meeting, namely their rejection of Malino as the place of the planned reconciliatory meeting. They prefer a place somewhere on the island of Kalimantan (Borneo). But Cabinet Minister Yusuf Kala most probably will not yield to this demand.

Another item was the planned nine months’ period of cooling off in Ambon which had been proffered by Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhyono during the recent meeting in Ambon [See Report 227]. This plan is considered to have the hoped for effect only when seriously endorsed by the military and police security forces. These should abstain from any internal skirmish and from involving themselves in the conflict. Noticing the fervent wish of most of the people of the Moluccas to end all hostilities, they should not lag behind but on the contrary promote any strides towards this goal.

It was further decided upon that the reconciliatory meeting which was to take place in Malino on 5-7 February, will be postponed until 11-12 February. Thus the Cabinet will have the opportunity to have a closer view on the conflict and its issues. To this end several Cabinet Ministers will visit Ambon again next February 5.

3. SOYA RESIDENT INJURED - Roy Souhoka (34), when yesterday gathering durian fruit at a distance of about 3 km from Soya, a village high in the mountains near the city of Ambon, was halted by three persons carrying standard firearms. When he offered to share his durians with them, he was shot in his left hand. After he started to run away, other bullets struck him in his thigh and abdomen. When interviewed in the IC department of the hospital at Kudamati, Ambon, he only could tell that the strangers when speaking among themselves seemed to use a Javanese dialect. The police afterwards combed the area, however without result.

Report no. 232

Ambon, February 6, 2002

1. GETTING READY FOR “MALINO” According to plan, Coordinating Minister for Social Affairs Jusuf Kalla, accompanied by several Deputy Ministers and Military and Police Officials arrived at Pattimura airport Laha yesterday. During the afternoon the Minister met with about 25 representatives of the muslim community, likewise during the evening with christian representatives. Both meetings were held in the Governor’s mansion at Manggadua, Ambon, and were closed to the newsmedia. After the meeting with the muslim deputation Minister Jusuf Kalla was interviewed by local TV and other newsmedia. Among other things, he explained why Malino was chosen as the place for the reconciliatory meeting: (1) The meeting had better take place outside the Moluccas, as in comparable situations is always done, in order to avoid unwanted emotional reaction of the local population who want to back-up or direct their deputation. (2) Malino lies in East Indonesia and close to the Moluccas. Its facilities are relatively modest / non luxurious, but sufficiently complete. (3) Geografically the site is undeniably neutral. (4) The office assistants and other facilitators are people that are not involved either way in the conflict.

The meeting in Malino is scheduled to start on February 11, 2002. Minister Kalla urged the participants to do their utmost to have this meeting succeed. If not, the Moluccas will go on destroying itself and ultimately become the least of all Provinces in Indonesia in matters of education, health and people’s welfare.

Asked by “Siwalima” daily about his opinion on the presence of outsiders (read: laskar jihad) in the Moluccas, he answered: they have come here in the context of the conflict; so if the conflict is over, to what purpose should they stay on in the Moluccas? I am sure they will go home on their own accord; the same thing recently happened in thePosso area – he said.

The Muslim community and the Christian community at the meeting in Malino will be represented by 35 delegates each, whereas each of the local newsmedia will be allowed to dispatch one reporter. That meeting will be “chapter IV” of this effort to end the conflict – he said – and I perceive that there is a 90% common ground between the two parties.

Today, February 6, Minister Jusuf Kalla c.s., after having a meeting with the local government leaders, will return to Jakarta at about noon.

2. UNREST IN THE GONZALO AREA - The strategically situated Diocesan Conference Centre of “Gonzalo Veloso” and the surrounding area in Karang Panjang, Ambon, has often been the scene of unrest, especially since June 12, 2001 when there was a bloody attack on the compound and nearby houses [See Reports 188-189]. It is thought that the frequent nocturnal sounds of shooting and explosions since then have their origin at the nearby Laksar Jihad stronghold at Air Kuning / Ahuru.

In the morning of Sunday, February 3, 2002, police officer R.Tuwamely, while riding his vespa down the narrow road at Pala Mas, not far from the Gonzalo compound, noticed outside the road two men in incomplete military camouflage outfit, probably just pretending to be part of the military forces. However, at the same moment he was thrown at by one of them with a molotov cocktail, injuring him at his thigh. The other shot at him with a rifle, but missed. This happened at a distance of some 50 meters from a military security post. Military forces then combed out the area, however without finding a trace of the two snipers. During the following evening and night sporadic gunfire and the sound of mortars was heard in the area. But people living there – including those in the many refugees barraques there – have already got used to it and feel relatively safe thanks to the large number of security forces in and around the area.

3. QUESTIONABLE INCREASE OF REFUGEES - Every three months the number of refugees in the Moluccas is counted. Though since long there has not been any large-scale evacuation or replacing of refugees, nevertheless their number is ever increasing. Vice Governor for Social Affairs, Mrs. Paula B.Renyaan, uttered her displeasure with these apparently fictive calculations, obviously meant to contribute to certain persons’ personal profit.

Report no. 233

Ambon, February 10, 2002

1. GETTING READY - On Saturday, February 9, 2002, the Muslim delegation to the Malino meeting left for Makassar. The delegation, which is led by Thamrin Ely, consists of 35 members and five observers. The next day the Christian delegation followed. It equally consists of 35 members, whereas the number of observers is six. Among the Christians we perceived four women, including the meanwhile well-known Sister Brigita Renyaan of the GPP (Concerned Women’s Movement). The mediator team will be supervised by Coordinating Minister for Social Affairs Jusuf Kalla and Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhyono. Police Chief Commander of the Province of South Sulawesi, Firman Gani, declared on national TV that he has 1,700 police and military troops stand by to guard against any irregularities from outside.

2. PRAYING FOR SUCCESS - The combined Christian Churches in Ambon have sent out a letter urging all christians to partake in this supreme effort to end the conflict, among other things by maintaining unity and refraining from any violence among themselves, on the contrary enhancing mutual care and attention. Three days of intensive prayer meetings were proclaimed beseeching the Lord to bestow his Blessing on this meeting and all of its participants, granting a favourable outcome of the dialogue, so that three years of mutual hatred, damage and pervertness, degeneration and suffering will be over at last and mutual brotherhood be restored.

Report no. 234

Ambon, February 11, 2002

1. GOVERNOR YIELDS TO OBSERVERS - The Responsible for the Civil Emergency, Governor M.Saleh Latuconsina, was scheduled to join the Christian delegation on their flight to Makassar/Malino yesterday, together with a staff of five persons. However, seven observers of the Muslim Delegation had not been able to get on the plane the day before. To forestall any possibility of disappointment among the delegates in Malino, the Governor readily offered his and his attendants’ seats to these observers, so that these joined the Christians on their flight. The Governor c.s. only followed today.

2. THE MEETING IN MALINO - Today, in hotel “Celebes”, Malino, the Muslim delegation (which was said to consist of 40 members) met with the eight-member mediator team. Its result was said to be most satisfying. Then the Christians (also 40 persons) met with the team, with the same outcome. This evening will be spent on lobbying and consolidating two commissions. These commissions consist each of ten delegates, five Muslims and five Christians. Some special persons will be added to each commission. One Commission will study matters of Security and Law enforcement, whereas the other’s task is to work on issues in the social-economic field. The Mayor of Ambon, M.J. (Yopi) Papilaya, during the evening TV news broadcast, said by telephone that he was most optimistic on the outcome of this Malino dialogue. He said that there was a 95% common view on this whole Moluccas tragedy.

3. SITUATION IN AMBON - The situation in the city of Ambon is normal. Both communities in Ambon apparently follow the events in Malino with much attention. There are regular reports by radio and TV on the development of the meeting. Also National and Commercial TV broadcasts report extensively on the event.

4. VILLAGE OF PORTO ATTACKED - In the afternoon of last Thursday, February 7, 2002, there was a small-scale attack on the Christian village of Porto, island of Saparua. Saparua lies East of the island of Ambon and in the past had fierces clashes between Christians and Muslims. According to the Police, the attack was carried out non openly but by way of secretly intruding by 28 people, 20 of whom were residents of the neighbouring village of Kulur, whereas eight were laskar jihad among whom a military, named Sulaeman. It resulted in mutual firing between the intruders and security forces, whereby two of the intruders, named Ahmad Litiloly and Jamal, were killed. Following this event, the situation on the island of Saparua is tense. Additional Brimob Police forces have been sent to the scene.

Report no. 235

Ambon, February 13, 2002

1. FEBRUARY 12, 2002: A DAY TO REMEMBER? - “Peace at last” appeared to be the fervent wish of both the Muslim and the Christian delegations during their meeting in Malino. Yesterday, February 12, 2002, is apt to become a memorable day for the Moluccas, because it is the day the Muslims, the Christians and the Government agreed to end the strife and come to terms one with another. The agreement was signed yesterday afternoon by the 35 Muslim and 35 Christian delegates, the team of mediators and the observers, putting the total at one hundred signatories. The signing mediators included Coordinating Ministers Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Yusuf Kalla, Supreme Police Commander Da’i Bahtiar and the Governor of the Moluccas M.Latuconsina.

2. “MOLUCCAS AGREEMENT OF MALINO” - The “Moluccas Agreement of Malino” consists of eleven items, which we try to translate as follows:

(1) To end the conflict and all kinds of violence.

(2) To uphold supremacy of justice in a lawful, stringent and honest way, impartially and supported by the whole population.

(3) To refuse and combat all sorts of separatist activities, including the RMS (South Moluccas Republic Movement).

(4) The people of the Moluccas have the right to be and to work and to be active in the whole of Indonesia. Likewise Indonesian non-Moluccans have the right to be and to work and to be active in the Province of the Moluccas legally and rightly under the condition that they respect and obey local culture and uphold security and local regulations.

(5) All kinds of organisations, denominations, groups or laskar are not allowed to be in possession of weaponry without permission. Either they must hand over their weapons, or the weapons will be confiscated whereupon they will be prosecuted according to the law.

(6) A national independent team will be established to investigate conclusively on the event of January 19, 1999 (the start of the conflict).

(7) The refugees / IDPs will be returned to their original homesteads, however without any compulsion, maintaining all of their legal rights. This to be carried out in stages according to local actual conditions.

(8) The Government will assist the people in matters of mental and social rehabilitation, and in rebuilding the economy and public facilities.

(9) Stability and firmness of the Military and Police Forces, according to their respective functions, is categorically necessary in order to maintain discipline and security in the whole area.

(10) In order to guarantee correct communication and harmony between the adherents of the various religious denominations in the Moluccas, all forms of religious services and religious display will respect the local diversity and culture.

(11) To endorse the rehabilitation of the Pattimura University, based on the principle that this institution is meant to foster common welfare. Therefore the system of recruitment and all other measures will take place openly and impartially, whilst safeguarding the quality that is needed.

3. MUCH ADO ABOUT HUMANITARIAN AID TO REFUGEES - There is a lot of confusion about the real number of the refugees, especially those in Ambon and on the island of Seram. The problem in a nutshell: not all of the refugees have been registered, whereas on the other hand not a few have themselves registered twice, either mistakenly or in order to receive double allowances.

Report no. 236

Ambon, February 14, 2002

REGRETTING THE MALINO AGREEMENT - The Central Leading Board of the Forum Komunikasi Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah at Yogyakarta gives permission to copy (if needed partially) from their BLJ (Laskar Jihad Bulletin) 6th edition. So here we go (translation of excerpts).
“… Since the first slaughter of Muslims on January 19, 1999, we have always been stuffed with “reconciliation”. It is like somebody that has been beaten up, and while still recovering from the impact, has to agree to the dictum “peace”, wrapped in the word “reconciliation”. However, how apparently this “reconciliation” is just a camouflage of the rotten intentions of the Christian revolutionists… To the Muslims in the Moluccas, reconciliation means: voluntarily giving up their lives. Many times there have been acts of reconciliation, but each time it was torn up by the Christians. Reconciliation thus has become a stigma.
Surely, for the Muslims any reconciliation is hard. Anticipating any act of justice and truth, and while the slaughterers are still freely roaming about, the word “peace” is hardly acceptable. Before the inflicted injuries have healed, treachery upon treachery is taking place… How strange it is that all parties can effectuate reconciliation. As if by this reconciliation everlasting peace will be accomplished. They lay the roof for protection, but are forgetting the foundation and pillars. As if everybody wants to close his eyes, not caring about the carnage on that Idul Fitri day. They do not care about the presence of the separatist FKM Movement, covering up the rottenness of the church and those provocateurs that hide behind the “Word of God”.
It is too early to talk about reconciliation whilst one community is still traumatized with this expression. Those delegates that convened are not sufficiently representative to talk in the name of the people. This reconciliation even turns upside down the Muslim ranks. One by one, those who used to be public figures, have been trapped associating with the Christians and now have become people that are good for nothing. Trash. The Muslims also experience filthiness from inside. Day by day those who should lead the community, are renouncing their duties. Therefore, be not appalled if the muslims grow in determination to reject any compromise, let alone reconciliation…
The Christians endlessly protest against the presence of the Laskar Jihad Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, whereas these have done much to enhance morality among the muslims in order to invigorate jihad spirit. The Muslims have proved their masculinity by carrying out assaults during several months. However, these actions were exclusively aimed at destroying the Christian separatists’ strongholds that incessantly threatened the presence of Muslims… The Christians should be aware that the revenging attacks of the Muslims, causing numerous casualties among the Christians, were the result of what the Christian separatists had done to the Muslims, previous to the event of January 19, 1999, in Wailete, Air Bak and Dobo. He that sows wind, will reap tempest. That is how the situation of the Moluccas is now…
Any reconciliation that is agreed upon to please the Christians, is bound to wreck. So what should be done instead? To put an end to the conflictd in the Moluccas, the Government must detain and bring to justice the provocateurs that hide behind the conflict. Look what they did in the Poso case. The champion of the conflict, Fabianus Tibo, was caught and brought to justice publicly, witnessed by many… We do not perceive any such proceedings in the Moluccas. Of course, if justice has to be done in the Moluccas, the Muslims themselves must do it. In what way? There is no other way than jihad fi sabilillah (the way of/to God)! This has been the teaching of the forefathers of our nation when they opposed the Dutch Christians. Allahu’A’lam.
Copyright © 2002 Laskar Jihad Online – Laskarjihad.or.id

Report no. 237

Ambon, February 15, 2002

1. MALINO DELEGATES RETURNED TO AMBON - Following the suggestion of one of the delegates, Sister Brigita Renyaan, yesterday all of the delegates returned to Ambon together on one plane, in casu a military Hercules aircraft. On arriving at the Governor’s Office Building, security forces fired warning shots in order to disperse a crowd that had gathered there (we do not know for what reason in fact they had gathered). Afterwards, in the muslim neighbourhood of Waihaong, the car of caretaking MUI chairman Haji Kyai Polpoke, one of the delegates, was thrown at with stones twice, shattering some of its windowpanes. Asked by reporters about this incident, the leader of the Muslim delegation, Thamrin Ely, said that it was just normal that not everybody immediately could wholeheartedly subscribe the Malino agreement. It was now the task of these delegates to clarify the eleven points of agreement to the common people. Anyhow, he hoped that the delegates could forestall any internal conflict among the Muslims. Police Chief Commander Brigader General Sunarko Danu Ardanto, said that the Malino delegates would be given special police protection.

The chairman of the Moluccan Protestant Church (GPM) Synod, Dr. I.W.J. Hendriks, said that today the leaders of all Christian Churches will come together to be briefed on the correct interpretation of the Malino agreement and be given instructions how to make it clear to their Church members. Tomorrow morning every christian is invited to take part in the first of these clarifying meetings in the large Maranatha church in the town centre.

2. STORM IN A GLASS OF WATER? - In the late evening of February 13, there were four terrifying bomb explosions on two open places in the city of Ambon. This event was broadcasted the world over and we received quite some phonecalls asking questions about this incident. The explosives appeared to be homemade bombs and exploded seemingly purposely preventing any physical damage or threat to human lives. So Chief Police Commander Sunarko did not see a link with the outcome of the Malino meeting and – though ordering thorough investigation on the case – supposed them to be just naughtiness of some youngsters.

Report no. 238

Ambon, February 17, 2002

1. A NINE MONTHS’ TERM TO END THE CONFLICT - In accordance to the suggestion of the Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his visit to the Moluccas on January 26-27, 2002, the local government wishes to hold on a period of nine months to restore an atmosphere of tranquillity in the Moluccas. Apart from all other funds that have already been granted or promised, the central Government in Jakarta has set aside additional funds amounting to the impressive sum of 300 billion rupiahs (equalling about US$ 30,000,000.- or Eur 33.700.000,-), especially for mental and physical rehabilitation during this period.

2. CLARIFICATION ON THE MOLUCCAS AGREEMENT - The Malino agreement is officially called the “Kesepakatan Maluku” = the Moluccas Agreement. So that is what we will call it from now on. Yesterday the Christian leaders organized a meeting in the large Protestant Maranatha church on the Pattimura Road, just opposite the Governor’s Office Building. A large crowd both inside and outside the church building followed the clarification that was provided by Synod Chairman Minister Dr. I.W.J. Hendriks and other members of the Christian delegation to Malino (the Catholic Bishop, Msgr. P.C. Mandagi could not be present due to important duties in Jakarta). Questions were answered in a satisfying way, so that those that attended the meeting increasingly felt encouraged to do their utmost to implement the Moluccas Agreement. When privately interviewed, Minister Hendriks confessed that among the Christians there still was much doubt about the capability of the government to ensure the effectuation of the agreement. Anyway, the government itself also has its program of clarifying the result of the meeting in Malino. The Churches will continue and “socialize” (like they use to say here: “mensosialisasikan”) the outcome of the meeting in the various Christian communities, including farther-off places like South Buru, Seram, Saparua and the other Leasa Islands.

3. FINANCIAL AID FOR REFUGEES - On Saturday, February 16, 2002, financial aid was distributed among the thousands of refugees in Ambon. Each person was to be paid the sum of 230.000,- Rupiahs (about US$ 23.- or Eur 25,85). It was not quite understandable why at several places about 9% was withhold, so this maneuver locally caused quite some uproar.

Report no. 239

Ambon, February 20, 2002

1. GPP REPORT - We received a report (in Indonesian, of course) from the Christian GPP / Concerned Women’s Movement and its expenditure during 2000 and 2001, of which we herewith present a summary for those who might be interested in it:
a. 16-18 Febr.2000: formation of mentors of child warriors “Agas” (christian) and “Linggis” (muslim).
b. On various occasions: participation of GPP members in workshops for reconciliation, focusing on women and children.
c. Numerous meetings and frequent guidance of children.
d. 23 December 2000: meeting of 150 women of both communities in order to foster mutual contact between christian and muslim women in the context of Idul Fitri, Christmas and New Year.
e. 8 March 2001: mass meeting of children of both communities with various performances of the children, also playing games, concluded with a touching community singing.
f. 23 July 2001: National Children’s Day. In this context several interreligious (muslim & christian) activities were organized:
a one-day workshop for children was organized on July 12.
- contest of colouring pictures (Kindergarten), drawing pictures (elementary), writing a story (secondary) on 19-20 July.
- On July 23 about one thousand children were gathered: they did performances of local dances and songs.
g. Communal circumcision of 150 muslim children and baptism of 200 christian children.
h. Free surgery on harelip of 30 children.
i. Distribution of toothbrushes and toothpaste to 1.500 children.
j. Exchanging children’s plastic weaponry for other playthings (1.500 children).
k. Three days’ Workshop on the problem of the “children-of-war” for muslim and christian women (25-28 July 2001).
l. Dispatching 10 children to the Second Childrens’ Congress in Jakarta (26 July – 2 August 2001).
A number of these activities were also carried out on smaller scale in various neighbourhoods in town and in refugee camps.
m. Schoolfees à 25.000 rupiah (US$ 2,40 / Eur 2.55) are being paid each month for 60 Agas and Linggis children. Funds to this end are provided by an Adoption organisation in the Netherlands (“foster parents”).
n. 24-25 October 2001: large-scale meeting for youngsters, focused on prevention of narcotics and free sex. Following a suggestion of the Jakarta Congress (supra) a childrens’ “parliament” was established.
o. Participating in a cooperative effort of 25 local NGO-s, calling themselves Jaringan Tabaos Mahina Maluku (JTMM), which means something like “Web of Mahina Proclaiming”, established in November 2001. It is meant to enhance discussion on both the fate and the vocation of women and children. The JTMM on 24 December 2001 organized a large-scale peace demonstration and went up to meet the Governor, the Provincial Legislative Council and various officials, focusing on:
- Stop the conflict: the women and children have suffered enough already.
- Miss Ambon, take heed (scl. of soldiers and other seducing forces).
- Mahina Maluku, let us build a new Maluku.
To meet expenditure on all these activities the GPP was financially supported by Unicef and a number of private persons and organisations.
Total expenditure: Rupiah 303.315.000,- = about US$ 29,000.- = about Eur 30.750,-
The report was signed by the secretary of the GPP, Mrs. Oliva Lasol.

2. “MALUKU CHILDREN’S PARLIAMENT CELEBRATES VALENTINE DAY - As reported by 'Siwalima' daily, a number of Secondary School children - united in the “Maluku Children’s Parliament" (see no. 1 supra) - yesterday went up to the Governor’s Office building as a follow-up of Valentine Day. They happily sang love songs and distributed red paper flowers to everybody they met there. The flowers were accompanied by pieces of paper in the shape of a heart with sentences written on it such as “Do not divide us, children of the Moluccas”, “Do not involve us in the conflict”, “Stop the violence towards children”. The children mingled one with another regardless of religion or ethnic lineage.

3. TIME LIMITS - National Supreme Police Commander General Da’i Bachtiar allows a time limit of three months to the conflicting parties in the Moluccas to surrender all weaponry. After that, repressive measures will be taken towards anybody who is found to be in possession of any weaponry illegally.
Police Chief Commander for the Moluccas, Brigader General Sunarko Danu Ardanto, has fixed March 1st, 2002, as the deadline for all mass media to stop any provocative broadcasting, reports and articles.
After consultation with the Minister for Political and Security Affairs, National Supreme Police Commander General Da’i Bachtiar told the press that he will advise the President to repeal the Civil Emergency State for the Provinces of the Moluccas and the North Moluccas, since the situation there has much improved lately.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 240 - 249
(February 22 - March 16, 2002)

Report no. 240

Ambon, February 22, 2002

1. “SOCIALISATION” OF THE MOLUCCAS CONFLICT – Though having a belated start in comparison to the Christians, the Muslim delegates to the recent reconciliation meeting in Malino now have also begun their series of clarification meetings on the Eleven-Items Maluku Agreement, though under much more strained circumstances, for it can be perceived that among the Muslims, more than among the Christians, not everybody is ready to comply to the agreement. Clarification on the Maluku Agreement was done on February 19 in the neighbourhoods of Kapaha and Batumerah, Ambon, by among others Thamrin Ely, the leader of the Muslim delegation to Malino. Military Chief Commander Mustopo declared to the press that socialisation will be carried out notwithstanding any opposing forces. Opponents are to be regarded as mutual enemies.

2. VISIT TO AMBON BY THE MINISTER FOR POLITICAL AND SECURITY AFFAIRS – Once again – on February 20 – Ambon was visited by the Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono together with Supreme Police Commander General Da’i Bachtiar and other high officials from Jakarta. Aim of this visit was to witness on the spot the effectuation of the “socialisation” of the Maluku Agreement within both communities, and also to present government funds for the reconstruction of some mosques and churches that had been destroyed during the conflict. Some more funds were donated as smartmoney for those who had become permanently disabled due to the conflict and to the next of kin of those killed, each receiving 2 million Rupiahs (US$ 190.- / Eur 221,-).

It was no secret to Cabinet MinisterYudhoyono that the Maluku Agreement did not satisfy a minority of Muslims and Christians (he said). So, when meeting with representatives of both communities and local authorities on February 20, he warned those that were planning any renewed violence, that they would have to face the State, which – in the name of the people – would answer force with force (applause). The next morning Yudhoyono had a meeting with both Malino delegations together in order to evaluate the “socialisation” process.

Report no. 241

Ambon, February 24, 2002

1. INACCURATE REPORTING BY JAKARTA POST - On Friday 15, 2002, English language 'Jakarta Post' daily newspaper, based on information provided by 'Antara' News Agency - a usually trustworthy source - published a startling report on the immediate aftermath of the recent Muslim-Christian meeting in Malino. We quote: "In their protest against peace, a vocal group of Muslims condemned the peace delegation as they were on their way from Pattimura airport [Laha, Ambon - cjb] to the Maluku Governor’s office in the city. Another group, apparently from the local Christian community also pelted the cars carrying Muslim delegates with stones as they passed the navigation seaport area route [meant is obviously the muslim neighbourhood of Waihaong,where the Muslim delegation disembarked from the speedboat that took them from the airport to the city - cjb] to the Governor’s office. A window of a delegate’s car was broken in the incident. ‘Antara’ news agency reported that the situation became very tense when hundreds of Muslims gathered at the Al-Fatah Mosque, only 200 meters away from the rock throwing Christians"

The home-coming of the delegates, indeed, was not without disturbance: see our Report No. 237 from February 15, 2002. But whoever succeeded in infiltrating 'Antara' and the 'Jakarta Post' letting them proffer these erroneous and provocative pieces of news?

2. DISSIDENTS - A group of nine (others say: eleven) Muslims, calling themselves 'Forum Musyawarah Umat Muslim Maluku' = Moluccas Muslim Meeting Forum, does not feel fully satisfied with the Moluccas Agreement of Malino. Led by their chairman Husni Putuhena they are now in Jakarta, trying to find support for their stance. Their lobbying with the Minister for Political and Security Affairs Yudhoyono did not yield any success; he even warned them not to create in Jakarta a web of obstructors to the Agreement.

3. STATE OF CIVIL EMERGENCY NOT TO BE LIFTED - Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sees no urgency in lifting the state of civil emergency in the Moluccas. He said that the peace campaign should be fully accepted by everybody first. However - he said - perhaps an exception could be made for some areas in the North Moluccas. The 'Civil Emergency State' for the Moluccas and North Moluccas was declared on June 27, 2000 during the presidency of Abdurrahman Wahid.

4. WARNING AGAINST EXCESSIVE OPTIMISM - During an interview that was broadcasted by local TV, Governor M.Saleh Latuconsina warned the residents of Ambon island not to overreact to the Maluku Agreement, as if all strife between the parties were over now. He said he noticed people from the (Muslim) village of Tulehu already starting to pass through the large (Christian) village of Passo and that residents of Passo started to endeavour following the road through (Muslim held) Galunggung and Batumerah. How easily can this 'Himmelhoch Jauchzen' end up in 'Zum Tode betrübt' (Rejoicing up to Heaven - Grieving to Death)!

Report no. 242

Ambon, February 25, 2002

1. NORTH MOLUCCAS: REPEATING ELECTION - On July 5, 2001, Abdul Gafur, member of the Golkar Party, was elected to be the first governor of the new Province of the North Moluccas, replacing caretaking governor Abdul Muhyi Effendi. However, it was confirmed that Gafur, in order to obtain this office, had practiced money politics. So the House of Representatives of the North Moluccas annulated the election result (see our Report 204, October 11, 2001). But on November 2, the High Court of Justice in Jakarta confirmed that the election had been legal and that there was no obstacle to the installment of Abdul Gafur as the Governor of the North Moluccas, unless decisive irregularities could be proved in court (Report 207, November 7, 2001). However, he lost in court. Jakarta based newspaper “Kompas” reports that another election will be held around the end of this month.

2. SAPARUA: THREE MUSLIMS SHOT AT – National daily “Republika” reports that in the morning of last February 21, three muslim residents of the muslim village of Kulur, island of Saparua, east of Ambon island, were shot at while fishing near the shore of Hutamuara Tilu. They were lucky to escape unharmed. We did not find any local christian news media reporting on this incident.

3. TENSENESS BETWEEN TWO MUSLIM VILLAGES – There is tenseness between the muslim villages of Tulehu and Liang, both on the North-Eastern coast of the island of Ambon. The christian village of Waai, which lies between the two of them, last year was totally destroyed and declared to become (again?) a Muslim village with the name of “Waai Salam”. Now Tulehu has approached the residents of Waai, most of whom live as refugees in the village of Passo, to restore normal relations. Liang, however, is opposed to any steps towards reconciliation with Waai. This difference in opinion has led to friction between the two muslim partners, resulting in some minor incidents.

4. SHOOTING IN GALUNGGUNG – Disregarding the Governor’s advice not rashly to yield to excessive optimism by entering the “territories” of one another, a bus with Christian government employees this morning passed through the Muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung at the East end of the city. Unexpectedly their bus was shot at, resulting in the driver being seriously injured.

Report no. 243

Ambon, February 28, 2002

1. CONTRADICTORY ADVICES - The bus with government employees that was shot at when passing through the Muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung in the early morning of February 25 and whereby the driver was injured at his right arm, is a bus owned by the government of the city of Ambon. The Mayor of Ambon, M.J. (Yopi) Papilaya, insisted that the bus should go on following its daily route through Galunggung and Batumerah; he only asked for military or police escort. The governor, however, admonished once again to refrain from following these dangerous road tracks for the time being.

2. MUSLIM MASS SOCIALISATION - On February 27 from far and wide Muslims streamed together to be informed on the Moluccas Agreement of Malino. Several thousands gathered in the front yard of the large Al-Fatah Mosque and the adjacent streets. For about two hours they listened to the explanation on the Moluccas Agreement by several members of the erstwhile Muslim delegation to Malino. There were a lot of reactions by shouting and yelling, but as a whole they seemed satisfied, “if only justice be done”. The meeting was ended with prayer.

3. END OF THE CONFLICT? - Several thousands of young men – both Muslim and Christian – from the nearby little island of Haruku, specifically from the five villages that together constitute the Hatuhala area, came to Ambon yesterday in perfect accordance. Their large crowd went loudly singing songs of unity (“Satu Nusa Satu Bangsa”) through the city of Ambon, disregarding any borders that separate Christian from Muslim areas. Policemen and military joined them. Even the Police Chief Commander joyfully walked arm in arm with them. Thus they went up to the governor, who himself comes from Pelauw, one of those five villages. He was apparently moved and said these – maybe – historical words: “Mulai sekarang Ambon itu aman”, which means: From now on Ambon is free from unrest. Only afterwards he seemed to realize his perhaps too rashly spoken words and warned the thousands that stood in front of him that they should take heed of any malevolent persons and that they should start surrendering all weaponry. Nevertheless, he called them an example for all, and hoped that many others would follow in their wake.

Report no. 244

Ambon, February 28, 2002

1. CELEBRATING RECONCILIATION - The example of spontaneous reconciliation by the young men from Hatuhala / Haruku we reported on this morning, during the day was taken over by many thousands of residents of the city of Ambon. The streets were crowded with rejoicing people. For christians forbidden areas such as the A.J.Patty Street, were full of delighted people, young and old. Also for the first time since 2½ years, christians could be seen shopping in the Ambon Plaza mall. Hundreds of roaring motorcycles and truckloads of singing and waving youngsters roamed around the city. We noticed that many young christians had put on their red caps and muslims their white caps: three years ago symbols of separation, but now – exactly by their intermingling – symbols of unity, according to the national adagium “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika”, which means: Different but United. Of course the security forces were in full alert anticipating any disturbance to happen.

2. PEACE AT SEA - On many occasions during the past three years there was mutual shooting one at another by speedboats in the bay of Ambon, and many have been killed or been disabled for life consequently. However, today there was kind of “procession” of Muslim and Christian speedboats around the whole bay of Ambon, celebrating the end of the conflict.

3. SURRENDER OF WEAPONRY - From March 1st up to March 31st everybody will be given the opportunity to surrender his firearms and grenades, and will not be prosecuted for having had these arms in his possession illegally. Starting on April 1st however, intensive sweeping on weaponry will be carried out and everybody that is found to be illegally in possession of firearms will be prosecuted. Tomorrow also any news medium that publishes provocative reports or messages, will be called to account for it. Thus was announced by the Governor on local TV. He added that now, indeed, contrary to any such threatments in the past, these measures will be carried out for sure!

Report no. 245

Ambon, March 2, 2002

1. TROUBLE AGAIN - Today there was a mass socialisation of the combined christian and muslim Ambon residents that originally come from the South-East Moluccas and East-Ceram. It started at about 11.00 a.m. and was held in the front yard of the Governor’s Office Building. About three thousand were present, and all went according to wish. The participants then started to walk singing and waving with branches through the city of Ambon. Arriving at the site of the large Al-Fatah Mosque, however, suddenly one or more muslim secondary-schoolboys – probably instigated by persons that want the conflict to go on – started to throw stones at motorcyclists that were part of the rally. There ensued a chaotic situation in which warning shots were fired by the security forces. Some motorbikes were set to fire. People fled panicking in all directions. Several people were hurt in the commotion, hit by stones or even stabbed. The uproar quickly spread to other parts of the city. In the muslim dominated “Ambon Plaza” shopping mall, about sixty christian shoppers, most of them women, consequently were cornered by muslims. Due to lack of proper communication between the police and the military it was only after some 3½ hours that they were freed.

2. UNINTENTIONAL DEATH - The rally of Muslim and Christian speedboats circling the bay of Ambon we reported about on February 28, accidentally caused the death of one of the participants, named Herman Luhukay from Hative Kecil. Probably caused by drunkenness, he fell into the water without being noticed by his comrades. His body was found near the shore of Galala, stuck to the anchor of a speedboat.

3. SURRENDERING WEAPONRY - Several christian communities, notably in the neighbourhoods of Airsalobar, Gunung Nona and Kudamati were the first to officially surrender their firearms and sharp weapons.

4. REFUSING TO LIVE ON EQUAL TERMS WITH CHRISTIANS - Yesterday a Muslim Women’s organization, called the FSPB (“Forum Silatuhrahmi Perempuan Baguala”), went up to the Governor to utter their dissatisfaction with the Moluccas Agreement of Malino. In their five-points statement they contended among other things that they refused to intermingle with Christians and demanded that the livingquarters of both communities remain strictly separated. They also said they refused any combined rally to pass through their area. If this demand would not be complied to, they would not take any responsibility – they said – for any trouble that might come forth from it. The governor simply answered that the time for any threatments was over, and that they would do well to have themselves be instructed on the Moluccas Agreement properly.

Report no. 246

Ambon, March 4, 2002

1. RECTIFICATION ON THE INCIDENT OF MARCH 2nd - Today Father Agus Ulahaiyanan, of the Crisis Centre Diocese of Amboina, was interviewed on local TV concerning the incident of March 2 [see yesterday’s Report]. He provided the following clarification. Knowing that about that time there would be worship underway in the Al-Fatah Mosque, the rally of the 3000 combined South-East Moluccans and East-Ceram people followed a route that definitely did not come near the Al-Fatah Mosque. The motorcyclists that were thrown at with stones when they passed the Mosque, indeed, were no part of the rally: they had their own unorganized and seemingly undisciplined “rally”. Thus the reaction of these Muslims was fairly comprehendible though not justified.

2. RADIO SPMM - Notwithstanding the warning by the governor that from March 1st on, all provocateurs and agitators among the local mass media – after an initial warning – will be prosecuted, Radio SPMM (Suara Perjuangan Muslim Maluku = Voice of the Moluccas Muslim Struggle) still goes on with its provocative broadcasting. Today four employees of this Radio Station came to the Governor’s Office, demanding to meet the Governor. They were told that they should meet a special commission that had been established to this end. Unsatisfied they left the Office. Outside the Office there was a band of Muslim Women holding banners and posters in defense of the SPMM Radio. One of the above mentioned special commission, Mohamad Ely, declared to reporters that the instruction of the Governor, issued on February 19, 2002, is clear enough. He said he will ask the police to take appropriate proceedings in this case, for he himself, too, had noticed that lately this Radio Station is even increasingly provocative and urging to make war.

3. LANDMINES - On several earlier occasions people have been injured by tripping on landmines, including two policemen who consequently had a leg amputated. However, there are no detectors available neither skilled servicemen to locate and detonate the mines. It is estimated that both on Ambon island and on the nearby islands there are quite some areas with landmines. A request will be sent to the Supreme Police Commander in Jakarta to send specialists for a cleaning up.

Report no. 247

Ambon, March 5, 2002

1. DEFENDERS OF THE SPMM - At 10.00 a.m. today once again a large group of women held a pro-SPMM (Muslim Radio Ambon) demonstration at the Governor’s Office. Since the Governor is in Jakarta these days, they were met by Police Chief Commander BrigGen Sunarko. The demonstrators voiced their aspirations in a 10-point statement, in which among other things was demanded that the SPMM Radio should not be prevented to broadcast its messages, and those that had started the conflict on January 19, 1999, should be brought to justice. They also rejected the Moluccas Agreement of Malino. The gradually expanding mass after two hours left the front yard of the Governor’s Office in a orderly way, however, were met by a mass of Christians that want this provocative radio station to be closed down. Soon stones were thrown at each other. Security forces intervened by firing warning shots and succeeded to prevent any bloodshed (however, just now we heard Radio SPMM say that several Muslims were injured by stones). The euphoria of only a few days ago seems to have dwindled to close to zero.

2. MAKING AMBON FREE OF ALCOHOL - Since a lot of unrest is caused by drunkenness, the governor had already earlier prohibited all alcoholic beverages. Local TV this evening showed 2,500 liter illegally imported sopi (local liquor with high alcohol percentage) being destroyed at the naval base of Halong.

Report no. 248

Ambon, March 14, 2002

1. TAKING ADVANTAGE OF WOMEN’S VOICE - On several occasions, lately, it were Muslim women that went up to the Governor’s Office to utter protests, especially in rejecting the 11-point Moluccas Agreement in Malino. This is rather extraordinary, since it could be expected that exactly the women would prefer peace to war. According to several members of the Town’s Council these women are clearly misused and exploited by certain persons to fulfill missions like these, in which they are being instructed what to say and how to say it. As an example, Council member Blandina Molle mentions the deputation of the Muslim Women’s organization, called the FSPB (“Forum Silatuhrahmi Perempuan Baguala”) that on March 1 went up to the Governor to utter its dissatisfaction with the Moluccas Agreement of Malino. But when at last the Governor asked them whether they agreed to this Mollucas Agreement, they wholeheartedly said they did. We ourselves, while listening to the SPMM radio broadcast on the Muslim women’s demonstration on March 5, heard them shouting: “If the Christians will be allowed to return to Poka-Rumahtiga, that means war.” Such threatments are hardly conceivable to emanate spontaneously from women.

2. SURRENDERING WEAPONRY - The voluntary surrendering of weaponry by groups and neighbourhoods – both Muslim and Christian – is taking place according to what was hoped for.

3. RESTORING ADEQUATE LIVING CONDITIONS IN THE MOLUCCAS - It is generally believed now that the conflict in the Moluccas is over, or at least that the violence has come to an end. Christians can already freely pass Pohon Mangga to the west of the town and Galunggung at the east end of the town. Likewise Muslims from Tulehu are not afraid any more to pass through Passo.

Thus the time has come to set to work restoring adequate living conditions.

To this end we notice several plausible initiatives:

a) On March 11, a group of high functionaries and specialists from several Departments in Jakarta, arrived at Ambon in order to study certain programs that have to be checked on and worked out.

b) The Social-Economic Commission that was set up in Malino (see Report 234, February 11, 2002), too, has not been wasting its time and recently exposed its planning to all departments involved, such as Public Works, the Electricity Company, the Department of Industry, the Office of Social Affairs etc. The planning concerns the whole Moluccas and will initially be focused on:
· Smartmoney for relatives of those killed in the conflict. Up to now the administration of 1596 victims has been worked out.
· A Trauma Centre for mental rehabilitation is being established.
· The enormous problem of the refugees or IDP-s will immediately be taken care of, concerning both those inside and those outside the Moluccas, in which will be attempted to ultimately return everybody to his/her orginal homesteads.
· Construction and rehabilitation of houses, churches, mosques etc.
· Freeing the city of Ambon from its abundance of garbage.

c) The Governor, when interviewed by local TV, once again declared that he will do his utmost to ensure that ultimately at the end of next June electricity supply in Ambon will be back to normal.

d) The director of the Ambon Branch of the Bank Indonesia said that during the last couple of months the outflow of money from the Moluccas had stopped, and now has reversed to the opposite, which means – he said – that business activities in Ambon are gradually increasing.

4. CHECKING ON FOREIGNERS - The head of the Immigration Department declared that at the Pattimura Airport of Ambon and at the harbours of Ambon and Halong all arriving foreigners are investigated on their creditability and their honest purpose of visiting Ambon. When not meeting certain conditions, they are requested to leave the Moluccas. This recently happened to 13 USA citizens and 3 Algerians.

Report no. 249

Ambon, March 16, 2002

1. DOING AWAY WITH ALTERNATIVE OFFICES - Town Mayor M.J. Papilaya declared that the time has come to do away with alternative government offices in Ambon. During the conflict most government services to the public were split up in one for muslims and another for christians. In the wake of the Moluccas Agreement of Malino all of these offices must be reunited as soon as possible. To this end, about 12 office buildings that were destructed or damaged due to the conflict must immediately be rebuilt or repaired. Several Town Services have already led the way. Towards any employees that do not agree with the Moluccas Agreement, disciplinary measures will be taken. In order to enhance security, military or police vigilance can be requested.

2. TUAL: SOCCER COMPETITION - Up to now there never was a Soccer Competition in the Moluccas. “Siwalima” daily newspaper reports that on March 12, 2002, in Tual (Kei Islands, South-East Moluccas) the opening ceremony of the “Liga Indonesia Divisi Dua Zona Maluku” (Moluccas Second Division of the Indonesian League) took place, witnessed by several thousands of people. The League consists of six teams: Pesmalra (Kei-Islands), Peslaki (Western S.E.Moluccas, Saumlaki), Pes Masohi (Island of Seram), Pes Tulehu (village of Tulehu, Ambon), PSA (Ambon) and Pes Geser (East Ceram). Those involved in this activity number 350 people, i.e. the soccer players themselves, the referees, medical staff etc. For this competition 270 million rupiahs (about US$ 27,000.- / Euro 31.500,-) have already been provided by the government, by sponsors and donors The competition is regarded as an important step towards further reconciliation.


 

THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 250 - 259
(March 17 - April 11, 2002)

Report no. 250

Ambon, March 17, 2002

Three years of bloody Maluku Conflicts leave nothing but Disaster

On Masariku Network we read the following report on some highlights of the three years’ conflict in the Moluccas, as published by “The Jakarta Post” daily newspaper on January 19, 2002. The responsible reporters are Edith Hartanto and Oktavianus Pinontoan. Please notice that parts of this summary are rather Christian-oriented and that is was written prior to the Moluccas Agreement of Malino.

Three years ago, a petty dispute between a local and two migrants in the Ambon capital of Maluku degenerated into a full-scale sectarian riot which up to this year has killed 9,000 people and forced more than 500,000 people out of their homes.

The involvement of outsiders and provocateurs in the ensuing violence worsened the tension among what was once a harmonious community of various races and religions. The community became divided by blood, rage and deceit.

It all began on Jan. 19, 1999 at 3 p.m. local time when local public minivan driver Jopi Leuhery, from Ahuru, Central Maluku, became involved in a quarrel with two male migrants from Bugis-Makassar, named Nursalim and Tahang. The two men apparently tried to extort money from Jopi at the Batu Merah bus terminal and threatened to slash him with sickle. Upset by their action, Jopi ran back to his house, picked up a machete and along with several friends went after the two extortionists.

In their account before the court, where they were being tried for a purely criminal offense, both Nursalim and Tahang said they fled to the predominantly Muslim Batu Merah Kampung area near the bus terminal and yelled: "There is a Christian who wants to kill us". Asked by the judge in the case why Nursalim shouted such words, he said that a policeman told him it would attract attention and ensure help. During the trial, the unidentified policeman was called "Mr. X".

The trial was held in March and April 1999. Jopi, Nursalim and Tahang were each sentenced to three months in prison. After they served their sentences, they were not heard of again.

Nursalim's action on that fateful day led to a fierce communal brawl, in which a group of angry Batu Merah residents went after Jopi, but failed to find him. The mass then burned a welding shop and a house belonging to a Christian in the border town of Batu Merah and the predominantly Christian Mardika area.

At around 5 p.m. local time on Jan. 19, 1999, the first place of worship, the Sinar Kasih Church in Waihaong, was set alight by rioters. Rumors spread and tension began to take hold in the area, and unidentified people roamed the streets, spreading rumors of attacks. Who they were and what their roles were in the riots are still unknown.

Angered by the attacks, Mardika people with the rest of the Christian community conducted retaliation assaults on mosques in the area.

On the morning of Jan. 20, 1999 a false rumor spread that the Grand Al-Fatah Mosque was on fire. By this time people were already divided in their own respective areas according to their religion. People donned bandannas to signify their religion: red for Christian, white for Muslim.

The following days, and years, were full of rage and violence, as houses, markets, schools and business centers were either burned or vandalized by people from both Muslim and Christian communities.

"The Ambon riots actually started from a pure criminal case," then National Police chief Gen. Roesmanhadi said. Analysts have said that if the security forces and the intelligence units had been quick to respond to the situation in the early stages of unrest in 1999, widespread communal conflicts could have been avoided.

From a criminal dispute, the Maluku riots developed into sectarian conflict that was loaded with economic and political interests, while the players in the conflict freely roamed the islands.

The involvement of outsiders such as the Jihad Force, which pledged to wage a holy war in Maluku, and small elements of the outlawed South Maluku Republic (RMS) separatist movement, have also contributed to the already complex strife.

Frustrated by the prolonged violence and losses in both Maluku and North Maluku, in a desperate effort the central government imposed a state of civil emergency in the territory on June 27, 2000.

Maluku and North Maluku were previously one province -- Maluku -- before the government split the area into two provinces in 1999 in a bid to curb the unrest and to obtain administrative and security control over the vast island territory.

The implementation of the state of emergency, if not too late, was undermined by the fall of the police base in Maluku during the Tantui incident on June 23, 2000, by which time security forces on duty in the province were already divided by religion. More than 1,000 firearms and thousands of rounds of bullets were plundered by rioters from the police arsenal in Tantui. The police housing complex, hospital and everything on the base were burned to the ground.

Soon after the state of emergency took effect, the Maluku police chief, Brig. Gen. Firman Gani, and the Pattimura Military chief, Brig. Gen. I Made Yasa, were installed.

Massacres and conflict were reduced under the state of emergency, but the territory, especially Maluku, is still considered restive. "The drastic decrease in conflict was mostly due to the deployment of neutral security forces in both provinces, comprising elite and professional soldiers. "Had they been deployed sooner, peace would have been restored to Maluku as soon as the troops had the capability to quash armed rioters and at the same time enforce stability and law," a local journalist said.

Maluku Governor / Civil Emergency Administrator Saleh Latuconsina said on Wednesday that the state of civil emergency in North Maluku province and in parts of Maluku province would soon be lifted.

Observers claim that North Maluku province is relatively calm since most of the Christian have either gone or have been killed. Latuconsina, however, revealed that there were still security threats in Maluku province since many areas, such as the Ambon islands, were still targeted by armed rioters. "There are some parties and outsiders here (in the Ambon islands) who do not wish peace to return," the governor added.

In a bid to bring an end to the ongoing conflicts, a team of top Cabinet ministers and security officials will visit Ambon on Jan. 21 to Jan. 23, 2002. Among the entourage slated to attend the meeting are all three coordinating ministers, the minister of defense, the TNI commander and intelligence chiefs. Whether peace will finally return to Maluku is up to all elements of society, the local administration and the central government.

"We want peace ... and we want to be able to live side by side again regardless of religion, race or ethic background. But the wounds have cut too deeply," a local resident said.

HIGHLIGHTS AND PHASES OF THE MALUKU CONFLICT

January 1999 - July 1999
The bloody conflicts continued to spread during this period, tension was a bit degrading after the June 7, 1999 General Election but intensified again in July, 1999.

August 1999 - December 1999
The pivotal, major unrest broke out on Dec. 26, 1999, known as "Bloody Christmas". Armed rioters ransacked and burned the predominantly-Christian Pohon Pule area in down town Ambon and also destroyed the houses and business center in the Trikora area in the heart of Ambon. The Christians in Maluku considered the Bloody Christmas incident as the tragic fall of humanity, marked with the burning down of Silo Church, one of the Protestants’ icon churches, by heavily armed attackers.

April 2000 - July 2000
Months before and shortly after the implementation of civil emergency status in both Maluku and North Maluku provinces on June 27, the year 2000 witnessed the worst bloody incidents and demolition of the territory. Among the highlights were:

1. Security forces' incompetence in dealing with the conflicts and partial stance of troops to the warring camps (of Christians and Muslims) due to segregation by religious sentiments came to its peak on June 23, 2000. On that day, the elite Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) base in Tantui, some five kilometers from down town Ambon, was attacked through land and sea by rioters and rogue officers. The assailants went on a rampage and burned the whole compound, including police housing complex, arsenal, hospital, provincial and high-ranking officers’ residences. Brimob deputy commander in Maluku, Maj. Edi Susanto, was shot dead in the Tantui incident while the rioters got away with more than 1,000 weaponries and huge rounds of ammunition looted from the arsenal.

2. The mass attack and the burning of three neighboring villages of Poka, Rumah Tiga and Waai for three consecutive days starting on July 1, 2000 by armed rioters. Waai village eventually was razed to the ground on July 6, 2001. The attackers were wearing white robes and some of them were also in military-style uniforms. The target villages happened to be a predominantly-Christian area. "The sky was red, reflecting the raging blaze.. we lost everything", a witness said tearfully.

3. On the same day of the attack to the villages on July 3, 2000, the rioters also burned and destroyed the 30-hectare Pattimura University compound, including the port, gymnasium, library, worship place and all facilities, causing some Rp 500 billion in losses. The university comprises eight faculties and one poly technique school.

Analysts, based on witnesses accounts and reports from the fields, have also concluded that the conflict in Maluku is deteriorating with the interference of outsiders groups, such as Laskar Jihad which pledged to wage the holy war and defend Muslims in Maluku. The Laskar Jihads' arrival in large numbers have been detected since May 2000, entering Maluku via ports and beaches all over the islands. Few months before their arrival in Maluku, the group's military-style training camps in Bogor, West Java, and its base in Yogyakarta have been put under media spotlights for practising war training. The commander of Laskar Jihad, Jafar Umar Thalib, however, said that their goal in Maluku was not necessarily waging war, but more on social aspects to help their fellow Muslims.

Post July 2000

After July 2000, the conflicts take a new turn with the implementation of civil emergency status. The riots were no longer involving mass crowds and face to face combat but more on bombings and sniper attacks. Frequent drive-by shootings on the Maluku water towards ship passengers or speedboat travellers were evident. The condition, however, was relatively calm after almost two years of civil emergency status being implemented in the area. The area of [Central – Cr.c] Maluku and Seram islands, however, were still restive.

Could the security forces stay neutral in Maluku conflicts?

Major arrest: Five officers apprehended for Ambon rogue shooting.

Soldiers from a special joint security force, called Joint Battalion I, apprehended on January 22, 2001, five police and military officers who allegedly shot at them as they were trying to quell riots which took place for about five days in a row from Jan. 17 to early Jan. 22, 2000 which had claimed the lives of 10 people.

Then Pattimura Military Commander Brig. Gen. I Made Yasa revealed later, after the arrests that four of the alleged snipers were policemen while the fifth was a soldier. He claimed that they "were caught red-handed at Wijaya II Hotel around 5 a.m. local time. Their guns were still hot and thin smoke was also coming out of the muzzle." They were identified as Maj. Nurdin Nontji of Pattimura Military Command and three members of the Maluku Police force: Comr. Ricky Paays, Second Insp. Syaifuddin Amsa and one mentioned only as Second Insp. A. The fifth person was identified as Adj. Sr. Comr. J. Saragih who reportedly should have been transferred to Jakarta.

"The five were holding guns in alert positions when the troops raided and paralyzed them. We seized 11 guns ranging from SS-1s, Roger Minis, revolvers, FNs and hundreds of rounds of ammunition and crystal metamphetamine Shabu," Yasa said, adding that the officers were allegedly part of the network of "players" in the Maluku conflicts. "Intelligence reports have indicated the involvement of some defiant troopers… but we have to catch them red-handed, otherwise lack of proof will let them slip away again," Yasa said. The five had allegedly shot at soldiers in a security post located about 100 meters from the hotel while the soldiers were exchanging fire with rioters. "During gunfights a sniper suddenly fired at the troops from a different direction. It came from the Hotel Wijaya building which is only about 100 meters away from the security post", Yasa explained.

The arrest was made by members of Joint Battalion I, a special battalion comprising of elite troops from Army's Special Forces Kopassus, Navy's Marine and Air Force's Paskhas. One officer was injured after being shot by sniper fire and rushed to Dr. Latumeten Army Hospital for treatment.

Besides the five officers, another 18 hotel members of staff were also questioned at the military police headquarters. Another officer who happened to stay at the hotel, Comr. Abdi Darma Sitepu, was released later in the day. Then Maluku Police chief Brig. Gen. Firman Gani said Abdi Dharma was about to be appointed as chief of Police's Mobile Brigade and was not involved in the shooting.

"Adj. Sr. Comr. Saragih had actually been assigned from Maluku to the National Police headquarters (in Jakarta) three months ago. I'm surprised that he is still here," Firman told The Jakarta Post in the interview soon after the arrest.

According to witnesses the five apprehended officers were transferred to the military police around 8 a.m. Later, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2001, they were said to be black-and-blue with bruises.

"Legal procedures against the five officers will continue. But as Maj. Nurdin Nontji's direct superior I'll recommend for him to be dismissed. But ultimately it's up to the military court", general Yasa said.

Yasa also told The Jakarta Post later after the arrest that the officers had conducted the arrest according to existing military procedure. "If somebody fired at you, would you have the time to make an arrest warrant and knock the door first? Soldiers are trained to annihilate enemies. We responded to the situation in an effective and efficient way. And our targets are clear and accurate, the rogue troops. I do not want to risk the lives of my personnel over defiant officers like them," Yasa said.

The security forces' firm action, however, triggered protest from families of the victims who were hit by stray bullets during the ensuing gunfights and raids.

The rogue officers, however, were taken to back to their base and then to Jakarta for further legal process. The fate of the [defendants in – Cr.c] case, however, remained unclear.

Defiants troopers are only small example of how hard it is for members of the security forces to keep the neutrality stance in dealing with conflicts in Maluku. Many are also taking advantage of the situation, since drugs and weaponry sellings are common in such war-torn area.

"We need professional and neutral security personnel to handle conflicts in Maluku, which are rare. Therefore, tactical troops such as the Joint Battalion, are actually needed for a certain period of time to quash conflict and restore order", Maluku Governor Saleh Latuconsina, who is also the civil emergency administrator in Maluku, said sometime after the arrest.

Strategic policy-making in security as well as intelligence and effective conflict resolution methods are needed to help rehabilitate Maluku and North Maluku. Without special care from the central government as well as full participation of the Maluku people, peace and restoration will likely be impossible.

Maluku has had six police chiefs and three military commanders since the first riot broke out in Jan. 19, 1999 but conflicts continued to rage the territory, with fluctuating rate of violence.

"We're just hoping that President Megawati Soekarnoputri will do something real to end the violence and help the Maluku people to get back on their feet again… because the previous presidents have failed to do so," Tamrin Amal Tomagola, a noted sociologist of the University of Indonesia and observer of the Maluku conflict said recently.

"Without strong political will from the government, the problems of Maluku and the recovery process will never be solved properly," Tamrin added.

Report no. 251

Ambon, March 21, 2002

1. INVESTIGATION TEAM ON VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS - On March 20, 2002, a joint team was established by the Governor as the Civil Emergency Administrator in order to investigate on the enforcing of justice in numerous cases of violation of human rights and common law in the Moluccas, that up to now have not sufficiently been paid attention to. This team is composed of members of the military and police forces and civilians. Leader of the team is Police Research Chief John Tangkudung.

2. VICTIMS OF CRIMINALITY - One has the impression that there is an increasing rate of criminality in Ambon and surrounding villages, which even can lead to violent death. This was the fate of Alexander Puasa (46) and his daughter Netty (15) from the hamlet of Mosisin, village of Hative Besar, on the northern shore of the bay of Ambon. In the morning of March 17, 2002, they were found murdered. They had left for their fields, not far from the village of Wayame, the day before. They had been shot and stabbed.

3. NORTH MOLUCCAS: NUMBER OF REFUGEES - On Masariku network we read some information about refugees in the North Moluccas as it was published in “Suara Karya” daily newspaper. The number of refugees that has been returned to their original homesteads in the North Moluccas – both Christians and Muslims – reportedly is 11.472 families or 48.233 persons. Thousands still remain in refugee camps both in Ternate, North Moluccas (43.000 persons) and Manado and Bitung, North Sulawesi (41.000 persons) and also in various other places. The government is planning to return 7.000 refugees from Manado and 2.000 refugees from Kairatu (South Seram) to the North Moluccas within short.

Report no. 252

Ambon, March 28, 2002

1. SPMM ACCUSED OF SLANDER - In a recent press conference, 19 of the 35 Muslim delegates that had participated in the reconciliation meeting at Malino on 11-12 February 2002, met with the local mass media to comment on the somewhat confusing attitude of the Muslim community towards the result of the Moluccas agreement at Malino. The delegates, led by Thamrin Ely, declared that all of the 35 Muslim delegates are united in maintaining the eleven-point agreement notwithstanding the fact that there are certain forces within the Muslim community of Ambon that disagree, even go around gathering endorsement for their disavowal of the agreement. No objection to those efforts as long as it is fair play. However, it is not fair play – they said – to take advantage of people’s ignorance or stupidity like is being done by the SPMM Radio (Radio Suara Perjuangan Muslim Maluku) broadcasts. The SPMM Radio is trying to blow up the agreement by all kinds of provocative messages, even by way of slander, among others by claiming that the delegates were lured to sign the agreement having been bribed with the enormous sum of 30 to 40 million rupiahs (US$ 3,000.- / Eur 3.500,-) each. Slander is a grave sin in the eyes of the Muslims – one of the delegates said – and those who say to defend Islam, like the SPMM does, should first of all do some introspection before presenting themselves as defenders of the Islam. The delegates have decided to bring the case to court, he said.

2. SUMMONED TO JAKARTA - On March 26, Governor M.S.Latuconsina was unexpectedly called to Jakarta to meet with the Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The Governor, who is accompanied by the military chief commander, the police chief commander and several other high functionaries, had a four-hours meeting with the Minister yesterday. A planned visit to Ambon by Coordinating Minister for Social Affairs Jusuf Kalla, has been postponed twice already.

3. CORRUPTION - On all levels there is stupendous corruption going on in the Moluccas, now that there is an inflow of billions of rupiahs in domestic and foreign aid. The local newsmedia have clever reporters that go after each case of embezzlement, and many cases are exposed extensively in the newspapers – seemingly with hardly any result; neither is there any lawsuit against the newspapers because of these pieces of news – which is a silent confession of the truth of their reports.

4. INCREASE OF TRAFFIC BY ROAD - During the last few weeks Ambon has been very calm and no shooting or bombing could be heard. This encourages people to venture into each other’s areas. The road from Ambon to Tulehu, which alternatively passes through several Christian and Muslim areas, is now regarded safe enough for ordinar minibuses, which are more and more frequently used by the citizens. It is quicker and cheaper than by speedboat. However, the stretch from Passo to Laha, where the airport is, is still regarded as “unsafe”.

Report no. 253

Ambon, April 3, 2002

1. SURRENDERING WEAPONRY - In an official statement, dated April 1st 2002, Governor Dr. Ir. M.Saleh Latuconsina declared that the final date of voluntary handing over of weaponry by civilians in the Moluccas, is postponed till April 30, 2002. The reason seems to be that socialisation of the Moluccas Agreement of Malino has not yet been implemented to its full extent, both geographically and psychologically.

Moluccas Police Chief Commander Sunarko declared to Jakarta based “Kompas” daily that up to now quite a number of weapons have already been surrendered voluntarily, scl. 1 standard rifle, 164 home-made rifles, 70 home-made revolvers, 169 bombs of own fabrication, 143 locally assembled bazookas and a large amount of ammunition.

Should be noted that the surrender of weaponry is almost exclusively one-sided: it is virtually only the Christians that surrender their weapons.

2. INVESTIGATION TEAM - As an implementation of the Moluccas Agreement of Malino, an independent Investigation Team will be established, coordinated by National Supreme Police Chief Da’i Bachtiar; it will be composed of non-Moluccans. Investigation will be carried out on what really happened on that catastrophic date of January 19, 1999, further on the existence and activities of the FKM (Forum Kedaulatan Maluku), RMS (Republik Maluku Selatan Movement), Christian RMS, Laskar Jihad, Laskar Kristus, forced conversions and violation of human rights.

3. NEW DAILY NEWSPAPER - On April 1 a new Ambon based daily newspaper was inaugurated during a ceremony at the Amans Hotel. The newspaper bears the name of “Koran Info”.

Report no. 254

Ambon, April 3, 2002

1. BOMB BLAST - At 11.30 a.m. today, a thundering bomb blast in the Christian centre of the town caused death and destruction. The exact location was on the Jan Paays Street, in front of the small “Nelayan II” restaurant, where usually many people gather on the side-walk to have a chat and to gamble. Going to see the site afterwards, we noticed that the restaurant and some adjacent shops were badly damaged. The big “Amboina” Hotel at the opposite side of the street had most of its windowpanes broken, up to the sixth floor. Local national RRI Radio reports that according to most witnesses, the bomb was thrown out of a red Toyota-Kijang passenger car, that passed along at high speed and – after throwing the bomb – fled through the Anthony Rheebock Street. Human victims were numerous. At least five people were reported to have been killed by the explosion. The number of wounded is 57. Most of them have injuries at their legs and thighs. It is not known who or what faction is behind this bomb explosion.

2. GOVERNOR’S OFFICE BUILDING SET AFIRE - About half an hour after the bomb explosion thick clouds of smoke could be seen hovering over the city: apparently the large Governor’s Office Building at the end of the Pattimura Street was set ablaze. The whole Pattimura Street meanwhile was in uproar. Frequent warning shots by security forces only added to the overall turmoil. The burning of the Governor’s Office was probably done by Christians that got fed up with all injustice done to them, among other things by the recent decision by the Governor to postpone the final date of voluntary handing over of weaponry by civilians till April 30, 2002, thus undermining people’s trust in the consequent implementation of the Moluccas Agreement of Malino.

Report no. 255

Ambon, April 5, 2002

1. JUSUF KALLA ON THE RECENT EVENTS IN AMBON - Coordinating Minister for Social Affairs Jusuf Kalla, who, together with the Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, initiated and organized the reconciliatory meeting at Malino on 11-12 February 2002, was seen on SCTV, a national commercial TV Station, being interviewed on the recent dismal events in Ambon: the fatal bomb explosion and the burning of the large Governor’s Office Building. He thought that the bombing might not have been based on a certain principle; where there are thousands of weapons and bombs among the people, it can easily happen that somebody who feels unhappy with the current tranquil situation as a result of the Moluccas Agreement of Malino, decides to use one of the bombs he has in store to create havoc. Yusuf Kalla did not despair, however, about the ultimate effectiveness of the Moluccas Agreement, notwithstanding the fact that there is a minority that seemingly rejects it.

2. FURTHER DETAILS ON THE RECENT BOMB EXPLOSION - Some people took advantage of the initial general confusion after the bomb explosion by looting some heavily damaged shops and minishop in the area, among others a Seiko-watches minishop of which the elderly Chinese owner is now in hospital having both legs amputated. Several others, too, had to have their legs amputated. The medical teams in the three hospitals where the victims are being attended to, have the assistance of a Dutch medical team from Vlissingen, which is Ambon’s sister city in the Netherlands. This team had arrived several days earlier in order to provide medical aid in the fields of eye-catarac and bone diseases, especially for the poor. It is regrettable that the Immigration Department reduced their initial permission to stay for 24 days, to 14 days.

3. INVESTIGATION ON THE RECENT BOMB EXPLOSION - The red Toyota passenger car from which the bomb was thrown has been identified by the police. Inside several devices were found that have to do with exploding of bombs. The owner of the car and the driver are under interrogation.
It is still not clear, though, who was behind the bomb explosion. National newspaper “Suara Karya” and several other national mass media quote the statement of the chairman of the TPM Pusat (Central Muslim Advocacy Team), M.Mahendradatta, in Jakarta, that “this event is a revolutionary action of the RMS (South Moluccas Independency Movement)”. He did, however, not clarify how this has been found out.

4. FURTHER DETAILS ON THE RECENT BURNING OF THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE - Watching local TV and seeing the disastrous effect of the unruly burning of the Governor’s Office Building was really shocking: The second and third floors are totally burned out, and the magnificent building is to be regarded as total loss. Also the UN section was destroyed. The Governor said on TV that he is determined to rebuild it on the same place. Rebuilding it may cost a hefty 15 billion Rupiahs (US$ 1.500.000,- / Eur 1.750.000,-) However, more desastrous is the loss of countless archives, which is a calamity for the whole Moluccas.
Looking for an alternative location for the provincial administrative activities, the choice fell on the Public Works (PU) building in the (Christian) neighbourhood of Mardika, at a distance of about 300 m from the border of (Muslim) Batumerah.

Report no. 256

Ambon, April 6, 2002

1. FURTHER DETAILS ON RECENT EVENTS - Many people accuse the Governor that by delaying the dead-line of voluntary surrendering of weaponry by civilians – postponing it to April 30 – he triggered the bomb explosion and the subsequent burning of the Government Office Building by frustrated people. However, the Governor declared on local TV, that this delay was not contrary to the Moluccas Agreement of Malino – which in fact had fixed May 31 as the final date for voluntary surrendering of weaponry. By cutting two months he had hoped to see people’s reaction and to speed up the reconciliation process.

2. WITNESSES HEARD - According to Chief Police Commander Soenarko Danu Arianto, nine witnesses on the bomb blast are being examined by the police. No suspects have been detained up to now. He asked the people of Ambon to trust the Police to do their job thoroughly. He also asked to provide any further information that can lead to the culprits’ arrest.

3. VICTIMS OF THE EXPLOSION - The death-toll of the bomb explosion last April 3, meanwhile has risen to seven. Those wounded number 52. Many had to have one or both legs or feet amputated. Pauline Joel-Parera (observer in Ambon) reports that the only Muslim victim, Wa Ratna (43), who at the moment of the explosion with her christian friend Mrs. Etty Manusama-Lawalatta (40) was shopping at the nearby Labora Jeweler’s, lost her left leg, whereas Etty had both legs amputated.

4. REBUILDING THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE - The Governor has ordered to test the concrete pillars of the burned Governor’s Office Building: whether they are still strong enough to allow rehabilitation instead of rebuilding. Construction activities should start as soon as possible.

Much damage could have been avoided - he said - if only appropriate fire extinguish appliances were available. However, of the four local fire-cars, three do not function properly and have to be replaced by new units as soon as possible.

Many people feel uncomfortable that the common people are regarded as the incendiaries of the Government Building, whereas it might just have been set up by certain malicious elements that want the conflict to go on. It hardly makes sense that the arson happened that fast and was carried out so easily.

Report no. 257

Ambon, April 7, 2002

1. INVESTIGATION BY FORENSIC TEAM - A nine member forensic team from Police HQ in Jakarta has been sent to Ambon. Several non-final conclusions of the examination on the bomb explosion were revealed by team leader Slamet Iswanto to the mass media as follows: the bomb was rated “high explosive” and had a radius of 28½ meters (31 yds) with explosion centre confines of 30x40 cm (12” x 16”). The bomb had TNT and several other chemicalia – which will be checked at the laboratorium in Jakarta. It suggests some professionality. The bomb may have been placed on the spot before being detonated, and in that case was not thrown out of a car.

2. WHO WERE THE EVILDOERS? - There is a search going on for three suspects of the bomb explosion, of whom only their initials have been revealed. Many are inclined to point to the military as the culprits. Chairman Kyai Haji Ali Fauzi of the BIMM (Badan Immarah Muslim Maluku, union of the various Moluccas Muslim organisations and factions), however, declared to the mass media that obviously both the bomb explosion and the burning of the Governor’s Office had been carried out by a group “that want the desintegration of Indonesia” (read: RMS).

Up to now 13 witnesses have been heard on the bomb explosion and 10 witnesses on the Governor’s Office burning.

3. VISITORS FROM JAKARTA - Several Cabinet Ministers and other high functionaries, at a total or more than 30, are scheduled to visit Ambon today.

Report no. 258

Ambon, April 9, 2002

1. ENCOURAGING VISIT BY CABINET MINISTERS - Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono together with Coordinating Minister for Social Welfare Yusuf Kalla, the Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno, National Supreme Police Commander (Kapolri) Da’i Bachtiar, Indonesian Military (TNI) Chief Adm. Widodo A.S. and other high officials, totalling 38 persons, arrived at Ambon on Sunday, April 7, 2002. Their visit was meant – thus was said by Minister Yudhoyono – to obtain firsthand information on last week’s terrorist activities, to assist and back up the authorities in Ambon in coping with these sad events and to stress the implementation of the Moluccas Agreement of Malino. In the afternoon they witnessed the burning of more than 9.000 home-made weapons at the Lapangan Merdeka (“Independence Square”) in the centre of the city, adjacent to the destroyed Gubernatorial Office. The assembled bombs were to be destroyed in the sea, whereas standard rifles and pistols were entrusted to the military and police to be used as regular weaponry.

2. MEETING WITH OFFICIALS AND MALINO DELEGATES - During the evening the visitors from Jakarta had a meeting with the Governor of the Moluccas and other high officials and also with both 35 member Malino delegations, at the Governor’s mansion in the neighbourhood of Manggadua. Msgr. P.C.Mandagi MSC, bishop of Amboina and member of the Christian Malino delegation, told us that in fact the Malino delegates have intermingled in such measure, that in fact it is now more appropriate to speak of one 70 member Moluccas delegation than of two 35 member delegations. They were also unisonant in their complaints to the Indonesian Government. Because too many post-Malino incidents have occurred that have not had sufficient concern by the Government. Some samples: (1) The attack on the car that brought MUI chairman Haji Kyai Polpoke home when he returned from Malino and the precarious situation of some Muslim delegates up to now (Report 237). (2) The shooting at a Government bus in Galunggung on Febuary 25 (Report 242). (3) The unhampered opportunity that is given to the SPMM Radio Station to continue its provocative and slandering broadcasts. (4) The sudden postponing of the ultimate date of voluntarily surrendering of weaponry by civilians without consultation with those that should have been asked for their opinion (Report 253). (5) The lethargy of the on March 20, 2002, established local Investigation Team on violation of human rights (Report 251). (6) The terrorizing by the military of so-called RMS suspects without any proper inquiry.

“If the government seems to ignore all this injustice and neglect, we had better cancel the whole Molucas Agreement of Malino”, so was said by the delegates (applaus). The Government’s focus should first of all be directed to real reconciliation, and only then talk about all kinds of rehabilitation – so was said.

Special alertness should be given to any threat endangering security towards the 25th of April, and the hoisting of the RMS flag on that date (as is whispered the FKM is planning to do on occasion of the anniversary of the RMS). By the way, in this context the Governor of the Moluccas as the Civil Emergency Administrator, has already issued a letter forbidding any activity that is contrary to the unity of the Republic of Indonesia, among other things the hoisting of any flag that is similar to the FKM or RMS flag.

3. DUTCH MEDICAL TEAM LEAVES AMBON - The Dutch medical that recently started its activities (see Report 255 – 5 April 2002) providing medical aid in the fields of eye-catarac and bone diseases, especially for the poor, has left Ambon, since a local newspaper accused them of spying activities. Of the 300 cases of catarac that had been presented to them, only 18 were operated upon; of the 30 cases connected with bones diseases, only 3 were attended to.

4. SEARCH FOR THE TERRORISTS - The names of two suspects in the case of the recent bomb blast in the Yan Paays Street, have been disclosed to the public: Chief Police Commander Sunarko showed their photographs on local TV and mentioned their names i.e. Idi Amin Thabrani Pattimura alias Ongen Pattimura, and Syafruddin alias Zaza.

Report no. 259

Ambon, April 11, 2002

1. DEMONSTRATION BY ANGRY MUSLIM CROWD - On April 10, 2002, an emotional Muslim mass of about 500 people went up to the Precinct Police Headquarters (Mapolres) at Perigilima, Ambon, to protest against the detention of Irwan Patty. Irwan Patty is the leader of the IKSAMUNI (Ikatan Persaudaraan Muslim Nusa Ina = Nusa Ina Muslim Association [“Nusa Ina” = the island of Seram]). He had been under arrest for three days already in connection with the bomb explosion of last April 3. On that occasion the mass uttered also protest against the initiator of the Moluccas Agreement of Malino, Coordinating Minister for Social Welfare Yusuf Kalla, calling him a traitor of the Muslims, even altering his name to “Jesus Kalla”. The Governor himself, too, was called a traitor, being paid for his treason by the RMS (Sovereign Republik Maluku Selatan Movement). Neither did the military and police escape from being besmirched as traitors that wanted the Moluccas to be separated from Indonesia. Police Chief Commander Sunarko then came and talked with eight delegates of the demonstrators. The situation meanwhile got more and more out of hand, but at last could be bridled by several Muslim leaders. After hurried consultation with the Governor by telephone, at last the crowd was appeased by the promise that Irwan Patty would immediately be released and brought back to his home at Gadihu – Kebun Cengkeh, Ambon.

2. UNREST ON SAPARUA ISLAND - For whatever reason, two Protestant-Christian villages on the island of Saparua, East of Ambon island, namely Porto and Haria, went to war against each other last night. The shooting and bombing started at 7.30 p.m. It was only one hour after midnight that the fighting could be restrained by the police security forces, though incidental shooting could be heard up to 9.00 a.m. this morning. Police Chief Commander Sunarko himself went there and succeeded in bringing the opposing parties to talk one with another, ending the strife. The sad harvest of this conflict was: Haria saw three of its residents killed and eight wounded. Porto had one killed and three wounded. Several dozens of houses went up in flames.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 260 - 269
(April 13 - 27, 2002)

Report no. 260

Ambon, April 13, 2002

1. AMBON CLOSED TO FOREIGNERS - In connection with the possibly precarious situation around next April 25th (annual commemoration of the RMS Separatist Movement) the Governor does not allow any foreigner to enter Ambon during the period between 11 and 30 April 2002. There is a visibly growing tenseness among the Christians in Ambon because of possible unwanted confrontations around April 25th.

2. FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE CONFLICT ON SAPARUA - Yesterday’s Suara Maluku daily paper provides the following further information on the recent fight between the Christian villages of Porto and Haria on the island of Saparua. Three people (not four as we reported earlier) have been killed: one from Porto and two from Haria. Twelve people have been injured. Apart from the community building (Baileo) of Haria and the elementary school building of Porto, a total of 44 residents’ houses have been burned down. Fearing for renewed attacks by Haria, those from Porto have fled into the woods or to neighbouring villages. The conflict is a result of old mutual resentment in connection with the exact borders of the grounds belonging to each of these villages that lie close to one another. Another reason was the conflict that arose last March 30 on occasion of a boat-race; Haria then had protested against the Jury’s decision that Porto had won the race. On that occasion several people had been wounded.

3. VICTIM OF VIOLENCE - On April 11, in a well at the back of Hotel Wijaya II – at the border of the Mardika and Batumerah neighbourhoods – the body of Paulus Wattimena (72) was found. A severe wound at his neck must have caused his death; after the murder his body must have been thrown into the well.

4. THE GUBERNATORIAL BUILDING - Governor M.S.Latuconsina declared that the burned-out Governor’s Office Building, which was built in 1956, most probably cannot be rehabilitated. The ruins will have to be pulled down, and a totally new building has to be constructed. A rough estimation of the costs: some 30 to 40 billion rupiahs. The main Provincial services, which since the burning were housed in the Public Works (PU) building at Mardika, will move over to the recently restored PLN (electricity Company) building on Diponegoro Street, opposite the Silo Church, not far from the Pohon Pule Bridge.

Report no. 261

Ambon, April 15, 2002

1. INCREASING TENSENESS - As April 25th (the annual commemoration of the RMS Separatist Movement) is coming near, tenseness in Ambon is growing. In the Christian neighbourhood of Kudamati the number of security forces has been stepped up forestalling any irregularities in this area which by the government is considered to be a nest of separatist RMS / FKM supporters. Ordered by the TPG (Tim Penyidik Gabungan = Joint Investigation Team), the judicial leader of the FKM (Forum Kedaulatan Maluku), Semmy Waeleruny, last Thursday, April 11, was called and met at his home by the Military Police, backed up by three truckloads of soldiers, in order to explain on rumours concerning the hoisting of the RMS flag next April 25th. He was questioned at the TPG Office for two consecutive days. However, the interrogation was said to be caried out in a “relaxed way”.

Meanwhile we can see trucks full of Christian youngsters riding through the Christian neighbourhoods of the city, loudly singing songs like “Onward Christian Soldiers” in its Indonesian rendition, thus adding to people’s anxiousness.
DPRD Vice-Chairman John Mailoa asked the authorities to be watchful on any disturbances around public facilities such as the Town Mayor’s Office, the State's Attorney’s Office, even the RSU (Rumah Sakit Umum = Government Hospital), forestalling any damaging actions towards these indispensable facilities.

2. ANOTHER BOMB BLAST - In the late afternoon of April 14 a bomb exploded in the Christian neighbourhood of Urimessing, Ambon. It was thrown coming from the nearby Air Mata Cina area. Since the bomb happened to land and explode in an open water reservoir, it did not cause any damage.

3. ONGOING SEARCH FOR THE TERRORISTS - The two suspects in the case of the recent bomb blast in the Yan Paays Street, Idi Amin Thabrani Pattimura alias Ongen Pattimura, and Syafruddin alias Zaza, are thought to be hiding in South Sulawesi now. South Sulawesi Police Commander Firman Gani has ordered an intensive search for them, with special watchfulness at airports and harbours.

Report no. 262

Ambon, April 17, 2002

1. VISIT OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS - A nine member team of religious leaders came to Ambon on April 15 and will leave today. Members of the team include Deputy Minister for Social Affairs Syarul Udjud SH, Chairman of the NU (Nahdathul Ulama) Kyai Haji Hasyim Muzadi, Chairman of the PGI (National Association of Protestant Churches) A.A. Yewangoe, Representative of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference Fr. Ignatius Ismartono SJ and the Secretary of the Department for Religious Affairs H.Faizal Ismael. They had meetings with the Christians, with the Muslims and with both conflicting parties together. Some relevant subjects that were dealt with included:

(1) Explaining the purpose of their coming to the Moluccas, i.e. assisting the National and Provincal Governments to enhance the implementation of the Moluccas Agreement of Malino.

(2) Much to the relief of the Christians, Chairman of the NU (Nahdathul Ulama), Kyai Haji Hasyim Muzadi, acknowledged that those that support the RMS (South Moluccas Independency Movement) in the Moluccas are just a handfull of Christians. The vast majority of Christians in the Moluccas – he said – were unquestionably opposed to the RMS. During the meeting with the Christians he promised to spread this fact everywhere, in order to free the Christians from false perceptions among the Muslims both in the Moluccas and elsewhere in Indonesia.

He urged all Muslims, especially the NU members, to abstain from any violence and to accept wholeheartedly the Molcucas Agreement of Malino.

He told the press that he will send a number of Da’i-s to the Moluccas. A Da’i is a specialist in matters of dakwah, which means propagation of the faith. They will help the Muslims in matters of mental rehabilitation. Minister A.A.Yewangoe confirmed that the PGI (National Association of Protestant Churches) will do the same if requested by the GPM (Protestant Christian Church of the Moluccas).

(3) The Secretary of the Department for Religious Affairs, Prof.Dr. H.Faizal Ismael, declared that they had been informed on the existence of a small group that rejects the Moluccas Agreement of Malino, most of whom are to be found among employees of the Department for Religious Affairs and among STAIN (Muslim Academy for Religion) components. They will be called by the Minister of Religious Affairs for further schooling – he said.

2. CRIMINALITY - Market business near the large Amans Hotel at the Christian-Muslim border of Mardika-Batumerah is decreasing since these last few days on three occasions a total of four persons have been murdered in the area.

3. BIMM - For the perfectionists among us: BIMM stands for “Badan Immarat Muslim Maluku”. It was established at the Great Muslim Conference which was held in Ambon from 19 to 22 June, 2001 (see Report 191). It is meant to unite the various Muslim organisations and factions in the Moluccas. Recently we asked the aging and most amiable caretaking MUI chairman Kyai Haji Polpoke what exactly is the meaning of “Immarat”. Immarat (or Immarah or Amaran), he answered, means: regulations, command, order to fulfill. Thus BIMM is short for “Association that manages/coordinates the Muslims of the Moluccas”.

Report no. 263

Ambon, April 17, 2002

1. PRESENT SITUATION IN AMBON - Tenseness towards the decisive date of April 25, the annual commemoration of the founding of the RMS Separatist Movement, is building up. Yesterday we read on a billboard in the Muslim Galunggung area: “Hoisting the RMS / FKM flag means war!” The christians of the Christian Kudamati neighbourhood feel annoyed by the significant increase of military security forces in their area, since they have always mistrusted the military. They would have preferred police forces. The Governor warned that “repressive measures” would be taken against anyone that attempts to create havoc. The security forces have been instructed to watch attentively any gathering of masses or other irregularities. Local civil leaders of town areas and neighbourhoods have been asked to organize nocturnal vigilance by civilians. The Governor tried to convince the people that all of these measures were taken for the benefit of the people, i.e. forestalling any renewed outbreak of violence.

2. ALEX MANUPUTTY SENTENCED - In November 2001 FKM leader Dr. Alex Manuputty was sentenced to 4 months detainment because of his separatist activities (see Report 208). He then immediately appealed to a higher court. Now this court has come to its decision: Dr. Alex Manuputty is sentenced to 6 months detainment.

3. FKM LEADER DETAINED - This afternoon FKM leader Dr. Alex Manuputty was taken to the Police Headquarters. We were told that he was met at his home by a four vehicle military convoy. He will be detained for 24 hours for interrogation on any planned action of the FKM. A crowd of several hundreds of mostly male youngsters has been keeping watch in front of the Police Headquarters since about 5.00 p.m., loudly singing religious songs. It is 8.00 p.m. now and from our window we can see that many are still there, maybe with the intention to have a 24 hrs. watch. It is difficult to know what exactly is their motivation. To some extent it is certainly an expression of sympathy towards the person of Alex Manuputty. Maybe some of them sympathize with Manuputty’s ideas. It may also mean a silent protest against injustice that is done to the Christians. Why are Christians thus repressed whereas Muslim provocators, such as the SPMM radio, go unhampered?

Report no. 264

Ambon, April 19, 2002

1. ALEX MANUPUTTY ADMONISHES HIS FOLLOWERS - When in the afternoon of last April 17, FKM leader Alex Manuputty was detained to be interrrogated on any separatist aspirations and planned actions, he was allowed to address the several hundreds of young sympathizers that had gathered outside the Police Headquarters were he was being confined. According to Paulien Joel-Parera’s report he said: “My dear and beloved brothers, young Moluccans! I am grateful to the Lord that you remain faithful, being one great nation, if only this nation has its leaders in high esteem. No strive goes without sacrifice. All strive means sacrifice. I remind you of the first USA President’s struggle; he said that freedom does not come by itself. So we must strive, strive and strive. It is like at school: there, too, we must strive to attain our goals. That is why I fight in a moral way. You have already uttered your emotion in a decent and acceptable way and by your singing you have praised the Lord. Indeed without the Lord all efforts are in vain. He that sows in tears, will harvest in joy. After I have finished talking to you, please go home quietly. As for me, I am sound and safe; my safety is guaranteed by the Police Commander and all of his men. You may come back tomorrow in a polite way. Show yourselves as brothers with high moral attitude and do not do anything that leads to anarchy, do not do anything against the law”.

Indeed the following morning many gathered again around the Police Headquarters. It was only when in the afternoon at last Alex Manuputty was released, that they broke up quietly.

2. CRIMINALITY (CORRECTION) - On April 17 (Report 262) we reported the murder on four persons near the Amans hotel. This report was based on widely spread gossip, but now has proved to be incorrect. According to “Siwalima” daily, confirmed by police officials, not any murders have taken place there lately. It is thought that this rumour was spread by provocateurs in order to discourage Muslims and Christians from socializing at the vendors’ site.

Report no. 265

Ambon, April 23, 2002

1. DISCIPLINARY MEASURES - In order to avoid any regularities on and around April 25th, the annual commemoration of the RMS Separatist Movement, Governor M.S. Latuconsina as the Civil Emergency Administrator announced that there will be a curfew starting on April 23 until at least April 27, each night from 10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. the following morning.

Meanwhile military chief commander Mustopo declared that anybody that will hoist the RMS-flag, and does not pay heed to an initial warning, will be shot.

Two foreign NGO members were given a sharp warning, because they had been found to carry out questionable activities, such as drunkenness, showing unnecessary films on unrest in foreign countries, and behaving like newsreporters.

Since all of the Muslims and most of the Christians are opposed to RMS, FKM and any other separatist movements, all of these measures enhance a general feeling of security among the population of Ambon.

2. SOME RECTIFICATIONS - Opening the www.fkm-europa.nl website, please be aware that in its reports on what is happening in Ambon these days, it is little trustworthy and has a tendency of grave exaggerating.

On April 19 (Report 264) we erroneously wrote that FKM leader Dr.Alex Manuputty was released from confinement at the Police Headquarters: he was not, and has been in detention for interrogation up to now. Police Chief Commander Sunarko Danu Ardianto declared to the press that in fact he is not being detained by the police but by the Joint Investigation Team. The Governor has also called two influential Muslims in order to be investigated by the same team, namely Mohamad Atamimi and Abdullah Latuapo. However, up to now they have not turned up and it is not clear why they have not been gone after like was done in the case of Dr. A.Manuputty.

In several newsmedia there was a report on two Kopassus (military Army's Special Forces) servicemen, who during the investigation on Dr.Alex Manuputty had irregularly intruded into the Police Headquarters, after which they allegedly had been searched on weaponry, resulting in the finding of two grenades on them. Police chief commander Sunarko stressed that indeed the two of them had strayed into Police HQ, but that it had just been a simple mistake and lack of coordination, that not any grenades had been found on them and that after a short clarification they had been allowed to leave.

3. BISHOP’S GRAVE LOOTED - A befriended Muslim soldier went up to the jihad site of the totally destroyed neighbourhood of Ahuru to investigate on the situation at the catholic graveyard. He found the cement grave of Monseigneur Jacobus Grent MSC, Bishop of Amboina 1947–1965, opened and destroyed by looters. The bones were gone.

Report no. 266

Ambon, April 23, 2002

GETTING READY FOR APRIL 25th - The annual commemoration of the RMS Separatist Movement the day after tomorrow is being prognosticated in various ways:

1. COUNCILMAN FROM JAKARTA - Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sent his secretary, Lieutenant General Sudi Silalahi, to prove the central Government’s attention to the present situation in Ambon. Today, in a meeting with the local newsmedia, Silalahi urged the reporters to be aware of their responsibility in connection with the conflict and public security and to present the real facts. Vice Governor Paula Renyaan, who was also present at this meeting, acknowledged that the newsmedia often got to know various events earlier than the authorities. On the same occasion she urged especially the residents of the Christian neighbourhood of Kudamati, to which is attributed the reputation of being a nest of FKM fans, not to panic and to go along with their ordinar daily business.

2. FKPM INSISTS ON PROTECTION - The Christian Forum Komunikasi Perempuan Maluku (Moluccan Women’s Communication Forum) has urged the authorities to provide special protection for women and children and for the elderly and ailing people, now that we may be on the brink of an outbreak of violence wherein it is difficult to predict from which quarter the storm will rage.

3. DEMONSTRATION - This afternoon once more there was a demonstration by Christian youngsters in front of the Police HQ at Batumeja.

4. RUMOURS ABOUT HOISTING RMS FLAG IN TULEHU - It was said that in Tulehu – mind: a Muslim village! – the RMS flag had been hoisted. Based on this rumour, Christians even did not risk to pass through the Muslim neighbourhood of Galunggung yesterday. On radio broadcast we heard the Police Chief Commander declare that nothing of the kind had happened, though he acknowledged that the allegation was still being checked upon. He said that recently there was a football match in nearby Suli, in which the Tulehu team brought along their team flag, which happens to bear colours that are similar to the RMS flag. So some people may have mistakenly thought it to be the banned flag.

5. FKM WORLDWIDE - We were honoured to find in our mailbox a Press Release in English by the “World Wide Network Front Kedaulatan Maluku” (FKM). It was addressed to Leaders of the Print and Electronic Media, the Leaders of Human Rights Organizations, the Leaders of Friendly and Democratic Countries, and to Individuals involved in Human Rights Issues. It was signed by FKM Jakarta Chairman Drs.Luis Risakotta, FKM Europe Chairman Umar Santi (a Muslim!) and FKM USA Chairman Drs. Helmi Wattimena. It was titled “Establishment of a Militia to Defend for Indonesia (NKRI) in the Moluccas” (NKRI stands for Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia = the Undivided State of the Republic of Indonesia). It says that the civil emergency authority on April 19th had established a militia, consisting of a bunch of hoodlums led by a Bertie Loupatty in order to defend the NKRI. They are assumed to create public disorder, so that the military has an excuse to slaughter the FKM supporters. Etc. Etc.

6. THE “ELEVEN” TEAM - Christians feel betrayed now that Alex Manuputty is in detention whereas the Group of Eleven goes free. Meant is the group of eleven Muslims, calling themselves “Forum Musyawarah Umat Muslim Maluku” = Moluccas Muslim Meeting Forum (See Report 241 – Febr 24, 2002), that (also) ostensibly oppose the Moluccas Agreement of Malino.

Report no. 267

Ambon, April 25, 2002

1. SITUATION IN AMBON ON THIS 25TH APRIL - It is 2.00 p.m. now. During the whole morning there has been hardly any activity in Ambon, at least in the christian quarters of the city. Offices, schools and shops are closed, traffic is sparse. In the early morning at some places surreptitiously the RMS flag was raised and some balloons with the RMS colours could be seen in the sky.

A large muslim crowd gathered at the border of the christian neighbourhood of Kudamati, causing many Kudamati residents to flee for safer places. Up to now the locally stationed security forces seem to hold out.

At 1.15 p.m. a bomb explosion could be heard, immediately followed by the burning of the Silo Church which is under construction after the original church had been devastated by fire. We went there but could not come close enough to see the damage, for the road was blocked by security forces. At this moment a lot of shooting can be heard. It is said that there are several victims. Are we starting all over again?

2. THREE GOVERNORS IN THE NORTH MOLUCCAS - On July 5, 2001, Abdul Gafur was elected to be the first governor of the new Province of the North Moluccas, replacing caretaking governor Abdul Muhyi Effendi. However, when it was discovered that Gafur, in order to obtain this office, had practiced money politics, the House of Representatives of the North Moluccas annulated the election result and on March 7, 2002 chose Thayib Armayin instead. But on April 19, 2002, Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno installed a certain Sinyo Harry Saundayang as acting governor to replace Abdul Muhyi Effendi. Then an alliance of mass based organizations and non-governmental organizations installed Abdul Gafur as the new Governor. All three sides claim that their action was in line with the Autonomy Law of governors, regents and mayors. The one who now in fact is staying in the governor’s residence is Sarundayang. He is being protected by hundreds of security personnel, due to the presence of several hundreds of Gafur’s supporters who want to hand over their petition to the acting governor. Meanwhile influential Djafar Sah, the sultan of Tidore, expressed full support for Gafur’s installation as governor (summary of report in The Jakarta Post daily, April 23, 2002).

3. NORTH MOLUCCAS REFUGEES TO RETURN ON OWN EXPENSES - Jakarta based Sinar Harapan daily newspaper provides some information on the situation of the refugees of the North Moluccas, which we may summarize as follows. The interreligious conflict in the North Moluccas caused a mass exodus of refugees – both Christian and Muslim – towards the end of 1999. The number of those killed then was 2.083, whereas 1.767 were seriously injured. As many as 97 governmental, educational and medical facilities were destroyed. The number of mosques destroyed was 97, churches 106, residents’ houses more than twenty thousand. The number of refugees was 44.423 families or 199.605 persons. These fled to various other places in the North Moluccas, among others to Central Halmahera and to the city of Ternate. Many fled to safety in Bitung and Manado (North Sulawesi). Others to Sorong (Papua), S.E.Moluccas, Java etc. Especially Ternate is still crammed with Muslim refugees. Those that are not shielded in theatres, churches, schools and barraques, are staying in Christians’ empty houses. That is the main reason why Christians cannot yet return to Ternate, their houses either being destroyed or used by refugees from Halmahera. Though good mutual understanding between the erstwhile conflicting parties is rapidly growing, returning to one’s homestead is very much hampered by insufficient funds for travel expenses, rehabilitation and empowerment efforts. Thus most of the refugees are expected to return and rebuild their lives on their own account. For the year of 2002 the government focuses its attention and fincancial help to the refugees staying in Ternate (Muslims) and the Tobelo area (Christians).

Report no. 268

Ambon, April 26, 2002

1. APRIL 25th - The 52nd commemoration of the RMS Separatist Movement, yesterday, brought along unwelcome commotion as we reported earlier. The damage to the Silo church, that was set to fire by a Muslim crowd at 1.15 p.m., was restricted to wooden items such as scaffolding.

The whole day long there was hardly any activity in the city. Judging by TV-spots, neither in the Muslim areas there was much activity. The usually bustling Muslim-Christian market near the Amans Hotel was totally deserted.

2. RMS FLAG RAISED - The bursts of gunfire we reported yesterday, turned out to have been directed at a gas balloon floating in the sky and trailing an RMS flag. On TV could be seen that the flag at last was brought down and drowned in the Bay of Ambon. Two other similar balloons “escaped”. At five places in the city of Ambon the fateful flag was raised. Security forces arrested several persons suspected of hoisting the flag. RMS flag raising outside Ambon was reported to have taken place on two locations in the western part of the island of Seram, namely in Amahai and Waisarissa, also on the islands of Saparua and Haruku.

3. VICTIMS - A total of three bombs exploded. One of them fell in the Christian Karang Panjang area and was thought to have been launched from Batumerah. It caused serious injuries to two people. Another one caused minor injuries to two Muslims. There have been no reports of any other casualties.

4. JIHAD LEADER VISITS AMBON - Laskar leader Jafar Umar Thalib arrived in Ambon last Wednesday April 24. In the evening, by Muslim SPMM radio, he urged the Muslims to make war on the Christians.

Report no. 269

Ambon, April 27, 2002

1. STANCE OF THE INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT - Jakarta based daily newspaper “Kompas” in its edition of April 26, 2002, reports on the concern of the Central Government regarding the recent disturbing events in Ambon, notably the raising of the RMS flag at some places and the furious reaction of Muslims. Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono meanwhile has sent two additional Brimob Police Companies to Ambon. Yudhoyono declared to the press that the actual development in Ambon has the incessant attention of the Central Government. On learning about any unruly happening in the Moluccas he will immediately gather the Coordinating Minister for Social Welfare Yusuf Kalla, the Minister of Home Affairs Hari Sabarno, National Supreme Police Commander (Kapolri) Da’i Bachtiar and Indonesian Military (TNI) Chief Adm.Widodo A.S. in order to evaluate the situation and take appropriate steps to face these challenges. He said in this attitude he was confirmed by President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

2. AMBON YESTERDAY - Yesterday during the morning there was the usual bustling activity in Ambon. However shortly after noon the security forces in Ambon started to block several roads, among others the Pohon Pule bottleneck to Kudamati and Benteng. Consequently the streets became more and more deserted. The reason was the announced tabliq akbar (“religious” speech) by Jihad Leader Jafar Umar Thalib in the afternoon.

The chairman of the GPM Synod, Dr. I.Hendriks once again stressed that the Protestant Church of the Moluccas has no relation what so ever with the RMS and has been consistent in this attitude ever since the RMS was established in 1950. So the recent burning of the Silo church as a reaction to the RMS flag raising on last April 25, does not make sense.

Meanwhile Governor M.S.Latuconsina declared that 27 people have been arrested in connection with the recent RMS flag raising.

3. TABLIQ AKBAR - Jafar Umar Thalib’s tabliq akbar started at 5.00 p.m. yesterday and took place in the large front yard of the Al-Fatah Mosque. He did not spare anybody, defiling everybody from the President down to the military. The Moluccas Agreement of Malino was treason, the Governor a traitor etc. He urged a no-reconciliation program and to wage war on the RMS Christians, to zealously fabricate bombs etc. He was incessantly interrupted by endorsing shouting and applause by the large Muslim crowd that attended the meeting.


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 270 - 279
(April 28 - May 7, 2002)

Report no. 270

Ambon, April 28, 2002

1. AGAIN FLAG HOISTING - Yesterday again two balloons - one with an RMS flag - were launched over Ambon. Christians do not react positively on these exhibitions of fanaticism. However, several crowds of muslims in the city of Ambon reacted emotionally, but they could be brought under control by the security forces. This morning, too, two similar balloons were spotted.

2. VILLAGE OF SOYA ATTACKED - From own sources we learn that last night the Christian mountain village of Soya, at a distance of about 5 kilometers East of the city of Ambon, was bombed by mortars and attacked with gunfire. The upper village (Soya-Atas) went up in flames. Eleven residents of Soya reportedly have been killed. Brimob Police forces have been sent up to the site.
Unrest in Masohi (South Ceram) has been reported as well.

This morning several mortars were launched at Christian areas in Tanah Lapang Kecil / Batugantung in Ambon.

Report no. 271

Ambon, April 29, 2002

1. SOLDIER KILLED - On April 26 a passenger car with three military servicemen was halted by a Muslim crowd at Kapaha/Tantui at the eastern end of the city of Ambon. One of the soldiers was killed by a bullet.

2. INTERNAL CONFLICT SECURITY FORCES - On the same April 26, Brimob policeman Robinson Eirumkuy was trapped by ten soldiers and mishandled. The usual rivalry between army and police has escalated due to this event.

3. FURTHER NEWS ON SOYA - Local Radio and TV provided further details on the attack on the Protestant-Christian village of Soya we mentioned yesterday. When early in the morning of April 28 it was Soya’s turn to have its electricity turned off, i.e. at 3.45 a.m., a fulle-scale attack was launched on the mountain village with mortars, bombs, gunfire and other weaponry. The attackers (whether “ordinar” Muslims or Laksar Jihad) entered the rather small village and went from house to house, while proclaiming Allah’s Greatness, murdering anybody they could lay hands on, not sparing women and children, including a nine months old baby that was killed by bullets. The total number of residents killed is twelve. Nine others were injured. The old, beautiful protestant church was burned down together with some dozens of residents’ houses. The community building was badly damaged. The attackers withdrew at about 5.00 a.m. Though the village is close to Ambon, nevertheless security forces needed 2½ hours after the attackers had left, to arrive at the site. TV showed the residents of Soya conducting worship on the open space beside their ages-old destroyed church, despite it was raining.

The whole day long the atmosphere in the city of Ambon was tense. At about 9.00 a.m. three mortars were launched at the Christian Wainitu / Talake area, of which only one exploded, however, without causing significant damage.

At 1.30 p.m. a bomb was thrown at the Silo church in the centre of the city, again causing wooden appliances to catch fire.

4. MASOHI CALM - Initial disturbance in Masohi, South Seram, after the burning of two houses the day before yesterday, could be curbed. On several locations roadblocks have been placed anticipating unwanted confrontations.

Report no. 272

Ambon, April 29, 2002

1. ATTACK ON SOYA: FURTHER DETAILS AND ADJUSTMENTS - The TV Report that security forces needed 2½ hours after the attackers had left, to arrive at the site, was corrected by “Siwalima” newspaper: the attack on Soya in the early morning of April 28, was launched at 3.45 a.m. Police forces arrived at the site at 5.00 a.m., followed by military forces at 6.00 a.m.

One of the totally burned-down houses was the Raja’s house (local “king”) with its unique traditional artifacts.

“Siwalima” puts the number of injured Soya residents at 21.

One of the villagers, Demi Hitijahubessy, when interviewed by “Siwalima”, declared that the attackers undoubtedly were Laskar Jihad since he heard them shouting and talking in Javanese dialect and accent. He himself broke his leg in the general confusion, so that he could not prevent his wife, his child and a grandchild being slaughtered. Somebody else vented his angriness towards those who had induced the people of Soya to surrender their weaponry in accordance to the Moluccas Agreement of Malino.

2. DISTURBANCE AROUND THE AMANS HOTEL - The large Amans Hotel (Amans is short for “Ambon Manisé” = Sweet Ambon) lies in the Christian area of Mardika, immediately bordering at the Muslim area of Batumerah. Since quite some time it has been a busy location for mostly Muslim vendors and Christian buyers. “Siwalima” newspaper reports that on April 27 there arose a conflict between local Muslims and Laskar Jihads, the latter ordering to stop that intermingling with RMS people. At 9.00 a.m. on Sunday April 28, while the nearby protestant “Bethel” community was having worship, a bomb exploded near the Amans hotel, setting fire to a resident’s house. Security forces succeeded to get the ensuing confusion under control.

3. FKM SUPPORTERS - Ichsan Malik, coordinator of the interreligious “Baku Bae” platform, estimates that the local FKM (Front Kedaulatan Maluku) supporters number just about 250-300 people, probably even dwindling now to a mere 100. He also said that not all of the Muslims are of the opinion that all Christians support the RMS / FKM.

4. THAMRIN ELLY: JAFAR WAS JOKING - Up to now no comments have been expressed by local authorities on Jafar Umar Thalib’s presence in Ambon and his provoking tabliq akbar last Friday. The leader of the Muslim Malino delegation, Thamrin Elly – according to “Siwalima” newspaper – said (prior to the attack on Soya): “Jafar was just joking (bercanda). Do not let yourself be provoked. He orders his followers to wage war. But war is only possible if both sides agree to make war on each other. In this case this condition is not fulfilled, since there is only one party that wants war”. After the devastation of Soya, christians might ask Thamrin what actually he meant by “joking”.

Report no. 273

Ambon, May 1, 2002

1. CIVIL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATOR SHOULD WITHDRAW - Up to now the Civil Emergency Administrator, governor M.S.Latuconsina, has not been available for any commentary on recent events. John Mailoa, deputy chairman of the Ambon House of Representatives (DPRD Kota Ambon), declared that the Governor should acknowledge at last that he has failed as the Responsible for the Civil Emergency State and should withdraw as the Governor of the Moluccas. The President then could appoint a caretaking Governor. No objection if this caretaker would be recruited from the military.

2. STANCE OF THE TOWN COUNCIL - The Ambon House of Representatives expressed its disappointment on the recent surge of violence in Ambon. It denounces the flag hoisting on and after last April 25, it utterly condemns the savage slaughtering of human beings in Soya and the burning of the village. It reminds the government that the Moluccas Agreement of Malino also involved the government as partner with full responsibility. The 35 members intend to leave for Jakarta (on everybody’s own expense!) to meet with the President.

3. ARRIVAL OF ASSISTANCE TEAM - The government in Jakarta has despatched a special four member team to Ambon to assist the Governor and his closest aides in their efforts to end the conflict in the Moluccas. This team is composed of senior functionaries from Police, Army, Home Affairs Department and Prosecution Counsel. It arrived in Ambon on Monday, April 29. One of its members, retired military officer Syamsiar W., while interviewed on TV, explained the purpose of their coming. They have hotline connection with the government in Jakarta in order to report on the situation in Ambon and on local proceedings in coping with the unrest. He said they had already advised the governor to take uncompromising measures towards those that try to continue the conflict.

4. MILITARY EMERGENCY STATE? - Cabinet Minister Yudhoyono and other authorities in Jakarta, while pondering to replace the Civil Emergency State in the Moluccas by a Military Emergency State, acknowledged that to that end they needed the advice of the Civil Emergeny Administrator of the Moluccas and of the Assistance Team that recently was dispatched to Ambon. John Mailoa probably verbalizes the general feeling of the Moluccans by pronouncing his conviction that there is no need to apply the Military Emergency State.

5. SHOULD NOT JAFAR BE ARRESTED? - The Joint Investigation Team is ready to arrest and interrogate Jafar Umar Thalib on his recent provoking tabliq akbar, if only it is ordered to do so by the Civil Emergency Administrator – thus was stated by its chairman Johny Tangkudung. Asked how he possibly could expect to be able to arrest Jafar when even minor conspicuous opponents of the Moluccas Agreement like Muhammad Atamimi and Abdullah Latuapo could not be laid hands on, he only answered that they would try and do their best.

National Police Chief General Da’i Bachtiar said that investigation will be done on Jafar Umar Tahilb’s tabliq akbar speech in Ambon on Friday April 26, by the Assistance Team that recently arrived in Ambon.

Meanwhile Semmy Waeleruny, judiciary leader of the Front Kedaulatan Maluku defending the rights of the RMS, has been indicated as defendant; his case will be brought to court as soon as possible – said Johny Tangkudung.

6. SPEEDBOAT SHOT AT - At about 8.00 a.m. on Tuesday April 30, speedboat Melios with (Christian) passengers travelling in the Bay of Ambon from Benteng to Galala, was shot at by another speedboat. Accompanying Brimob and Marine servicemen answered by firing at the attacking speedboat which thereupon fled to safety.

7. MYSTERIOUS INTRUDERS - At several places in and around Ambon (Batumeja, Gonzalo Veloso, Kayu-Putih etc.) unidentified intruders in military outfit enter the christian areas (maybe also in muslim areas?) for nocturnal visits, thereby terrifying the local residents and causing the male population to be on the alert with any weaponry that might not have been surrendered yet. It is said that several of them have been arrested, even have been saved from being lynched. Last time this phenomenon happened was during May-June 2001.

Report no. 274

Ambon, May 2, 2002

1. INTERVIEW WITH THE GOVERNOR - Close-tongued for about a week, Governor M.S. Latuconsina on May 1st at last let himself be interviewed again. Some topics:
- SWEEPING: Starting on May 2nd sweeping will be carried out among civilians on illegal possession of weaponry, military and police outfits, and anything that may lead to further conflict.
- ROADBLOCKS: All roadblocks must be cleared, except at several precarious places, such as at Pohon Mangga at the west end of the city of Ambon.
- ON THE SOYA CASE: It is still not known who the attackers were.
- ON YAFAR UMAR THALIB: We have ordered to arrest him. This command seemingly cannot be carried out yet, because the strength of the security forces may not be adequate to cope with any consequences of such arrest: it may result in unwelcome bloodshed.

2. SUSPECTS OF RMS FLAG HOISTING - Of the 27 people that have been arrested in connection with recent RMS flag raising, 15 have been indicated as “suspects”. They thus have the same status as Dr. Alex Manuputty and Semmy Waileruny SH. All of these are now in detention at the Military HQ in Ambon.

3. POLICEMAN KILLED BY COMRADE - In the early morning of May 1, a policeman named C.Kewilaa was shot dead accidentally by another police serviceman. Influence of alcohol may have played a role in this tragic event that happened in de Christian OSM area of Ambon.

Report no. 275

Ambon, May 3, 2002

PLEADING THE MOLUCCAS CAUSE IN JAKARTA - Perceiving that the conflict in the Moluccas – notwithstanding the people’s longing for peace – is deliberately being protracted, even revitalized, according to a certain political design, the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD Maluku) on Thursday May 2, unanimously decided that all of its 45 members will leave for Jakarta on Saturday May 4, to plead the cause of the Moluccas with the central Government. Main topics that will be put forth are:

Appropriate handling of the RMS / FKM separatist movement

The Governments’s stance and action in relation to the recent abominable attack on the village of Soya

Refusing the Civil Emergency State to be replaced by Military Emergency State in the Moluccas. Those who do not know the Moluccan mentality as the Moluccans do, should not decide on such issue. The people of the Moluccas know that the Military Emergency State will only aggravate their suffering.

DPRD Chairman Z. (Etty) Sahuburua SH declared that the Council was utterly disappointed with the easygoing attitude of the government in Jakarta towards the suffering of the people of the Moluccas. He estimated that they would stay in Jakarta for about one week. Bishop P.C.Mandagi, who was present at one of their recent meetings, told us that he felt most comforted when he noticed their unhampered harmony. This applies to the Town’s Council as well.

BRINGING THE GOVERNMENT TO COURT - The 35 member Town’s Council, too, intends to leave for Jakarta on first opportunity, with as predominant goal: officially accusing the Government of violating the Moluccas Agreement of Malino, in which it was agreed upon that the government would see to the implementation of this Agreement and take firm measures against anybody that would act contrary to this Agreement. Towards all violations that have happened since February 12, the Government has not or has not sufficiently fulfilled its pledge and thus should be brought to court.

Report no. 276

Ambon, May 4, 2002

1. AMBON AGAIN CLOSED TO FOREIGNERS - From May 2nd on, Ambon again is closed to foreigners that want to come in. No time limit has been fixed this time. A CNN team, on arriving at Ambon Pattimura Airport a couple of days ago, was refused permission to enter Ambon.

2. JAFAR’S RESPONSE TO THE ORDER OF SWEEPING ON WEAPONRY - Listening to local SPMM (Muslim) radio broadcasting, almost every day one can hear Jafar Umar Thalib’s preaching against the RMS Christians, against the army and against the USA. He orders the Muslims – including office employees and schoolchildren – to stay at home as long as the sweeping on weaponry is taking place, and everybody should withstand any sweeping being carried out on them.

Anticipating the entering of military forces into laskar jihad HQ at the Kebun Cengkeh area, laskar jihads have erected a brick wall blocking the road from Galunggung to Kebun Cengkeh. Chief Police Commander Brigader General Sunarko declared he will see to it that the wall will be pulled down.

3. YAFAR’S TABLIQ AKBAR - Several subscribers of these reports asked for the complete text of the tabliq akbar (“religious speech”) that was delivered by Jafar Umar Thalib in front of the Al-Fatah Mosque last April 26th. Since he talked for about one hour, we lack the time that is needed to transcribe let alone translate the whole text. Anyway, here are some excerpts just to give an impression. Note that after virtually every sentence loud approving shouting could be heard (spontaneously? staged?). “Woe you, listen to me, you beguiled Malino heroes, listen to the word of Allah, being a command to all of us. Muslims, get your warriors ready to face those enemies, with any devices you can contribute, get your horses ready to launch an universal war towards those your enemies. They are also Allah’ enemies. Any expenses you do in preparing this war will manifoldly be rewarded by Allah. Get your weaponry ready, discard any riches in order to make grenades… To the security forces that are to carry out sweeping on us, woe you, balloon shooters, woe you! Listen to me: you that have proved to be unable to guard the Governor’s Office building, how could you be capable to protect us, Muslims! Go on sleeping with your wives and stop pretending you are the people’s protectors… Woe, you Governor! Listen to the voice of Jafar Umar Thalib. Please denounce Jafar Umar Thalib to your Megawati as a provocateur and tell your Megawati that the Muslims will not stop waging war… Listen, oh rows, Allah’s cherished ones, listen you, Mudjahidin… Don’t fear anymore the teachings of the Civil Emergency Traitor, do not recoil for the utterances of this coward. It is only Allah’s threat we fear… If we withdraw, Allah menaces you with his wrath…

Report no. 277

Ambon, May 5, 2002

1. JAFAR UMAR THALIB ARRESTED - Yesterday at 4.00 p.m. (W.-Indonesia Time = 6.00 p.m. Ambon Time) Laskar Jihad Commander Jafar Umar Thalib was arrested at Juanda Airport, Surabaya. He was immediately sent on to Jakarta, where he subsequently was detained at Police HQ, whereas his seven accompanying aides were detained in Surabaya.

2. REACTION IN AMBON ON JAFAR’S ARREST - As soon Jafar’s arrest was known in Ambon, masses convened and moved threateningly towards Christian quarters. We could hear the frightening sound of exploding bombs and gunfire. People in the endangered areas fled to safety. Security forces succeeded in preventing major bloodshed. In the turmoil one person was killed and more than a dozen were wounded.

3. DPRD-s LEAVE FOR JAKARTA - In accordance with what had been decided last Thursday, May 2, the members of the Provincial House of Representatives (DPRD Maluku) left for Jakarta yesterday, to plead the cause of the Moluccas with the central Government. Of its 45 members only 34 departed, but others will follow on first opportunity. On their flight from Surabaya to Jakarta they were on the same plane as Jafar Umar Thalib.

DPRD Kota Ambon, the 35 member Town’s Council, will leave for Jakarta today.

For the purpose of these visits, see our Report No. 275 (May 3rd). The Governor meanwhile acknowledged he did not mind the Government being impeached by the Town’s Council (see Report No. 275).

4. LAND MINES - It seems that those who attacked and destroyed the village of Soya last April 28, upon leaving the village early in the morning, placed a number of land mines near the village. One of these exploded wounding Yongky Pesulima (30) severely at his left hand.

Report no. 278

Ambon, May 7, 2002

1. FURTHER DISTURBANCE IN AMBON FOLLOWING JAFAR’S ARREST - During the evening and night of last Saturday, May 4, following the arrest of Jafar Umar Thalib at Surabaya Airport, the situation in Ambon was tense. In the various Christian quarters of the city of Ambon many roadblocks were erected (barbed wire, empty barrels, stones, pieces of wood etc.) to obstruct or at least to slow down any unwanted entering of the areas by unfriendly masses. The whole night long the sound of exploding bombs and mortars was heard. For some reason especially the Setiabudi Road became target of mortir launchers. For the third time within a few weeks the Silo church was burned, causing minor damage to the unfinished two story building. Two males (18 and 50 – inclusive the one we mentioned in our 5 May report) were killed, 22 people were wounded, in most cases by mortar scraps. Five rioters were arrested.

2. ARRESTS - Three people suspected of playing an active role in the burning of the Governor’s administration office last April 3, have been detained. Their names have not been revealed yet.

3. UNSUCCESSFUL ATTACK ON CHRISTIAN VILLAGES - The christian villages of Amahusu and Eri lie on the northern coast of the southern peninsula of the island of Ambon, about 15-20 km S.W. of the city of Ambon. There are only a few security forces stationed there, because the area is considered to be tucked away safely in a completely christian area. However, yesterday, at about 04.00 a.m., two speedboats drew near the site shielded by the darkness, probably with the intention to drop anchor at the about 4 km long sparsely populated stretch between both villages. When they were discovered by the civilian nightwatch and shot at, the terrorists withdrew emptying their guns on those on the shore, fortunately without causing any casualties or significant damage. It is remarkable that those terrorists have a virtually exclusive preference for christians as targets of their actions.

4. AMBON CALM - During the last couple of days (Sunday and Monday, May 5-6) the situation in Ambon is relatively calm, but Muslim vendors still suffer due to the absence of Christian clients. Security forces are constantly in full alert.

Both military chief commander Brig.Gen.Mustopo and Assistence Team spokesman Syamsiar (see Report 273), when interviewed by local reporters, declared – to the relief of many citizens – that they, too, were opposed to replacing the Civil Emergency State by Military Emergency State in Ambon.

Every evening on the local 9.00 p.m. TV news bulletin, there is life contact by phone with a Moluccas reporter or a member of one of both Councils (Provincial and Urban) that are in Jakarta now and have already succeeded in holding preparing meetings with several high functionaries.

Report no. 279

Ambon, May 7, 2002

1. POLITICAL ASYLUM - A large picture of the bishop, Msgr. P.C.Mandagi, adorns the front page of today’s local “Suara Maluku” newspaper with the headline “The christian community will ask for political asylum”. This somewhat disturbing news item had been quoted a little inaccurataely, but nevertheless was his ultimate conclusion if the Military Emergency State would be applied to Ambon. Mgr. Mandagi fears that, if this system is to be carried out by an immoral, unjust and corrupt government that puts own ambitions above common welfare, an ethnic cleansing might be the result. “In that case” – he said – “we hope that large vessels will be ready in the bay of Ambon to take the population of the Moluccas out of here”. Msgr. Mandagi, together with several other Church leaders, is now in Jakarta to assist the Town’s Council in its discussions with national government authorities.

2. CONTROVERSY AROUND THE ARREST OF JAFAR - The arrest of Jihad leader Jafar Umat Thalib in Surabaya last May 4, has evoked emotional reactions from certain Muslim groups and factions nationwide. In Ambon itself it may have been the principal cause of the various destructive terrorist actions towards Christians during the last few days.

Asked for his opinion, however, Assistance Team spokesman Syamsiar (see Report 273) said that the police had been correct in capture this man. Ambon citizens that do not agree – he said – need some time and befitting clarification, so they will understand.

Governor Mohamad Saleh Latuconsina, Civil Emergency administrator of the Moluccas, when meeting with news reporters, blamed the national newsmedia, most of all the electronic media, to have blown up the case of Jafar’s arrest inproportionally and in an unbalanced and discriminative way. On national level it is being displayed as if only Jafar Umar Thalib is under arrest; however, two FKM separatistic leaders and 15 of their followers had already been arrested in Ambon much earlier. He asked specifically the SCTV (Surabaya based commercial TV) not only to report on the arrest of Jafar Umar Thalib but also to cover the detainment and judicial process on FKM leader Dr. Alex Manuputty, which is going on in Ambon now.

In an SOS letter d.d. April 29, 2002, signed by the leaders of 12 Christian Churches of Ambon – including the Catholic Church – addressed to the Secretary General of the United Nations, is said: “Under the pretext of fighting the RMS separatists, which in fact is a very small group of people who even do not have any weapons, the innocent Christians are under constant attack again”. Likewise a day earlier an extensive letter was sent to the President of the Republic of Indonesia by the same Church leaders.

3. SWEEPING POSTPONED - In connection with the actual unstable situation in the city of Ambon, house-to-house sweeping on weaponry is adjourned. (Had not the people of Soya surrendered their weapons, they might have had a chance to defend themselves when their village was attacked. Had the people of Eri surrendered their weapons, the fate of their village might have been like Soya’s…).

4. ACTIVITIES OF THE MOLUCCAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN JAKARTA - The 45 member Provincial House of Representatives this morning met with Vice President Hamzah Haz. Among other matters, the need of immediate realization of the promised independent National Investigation Team was stressed. This team is meant to investigate on all hapless events since the unrest in the Moluccas started on January 19, 1999. Also the common refusal of the effectuation of the military emergency state in the Moluccas was put forth. Commenting on the former item, Hamzah Haz promised that within short the team would be established. Expounding on the latter item, he said that it was never the Central Government’s plan to replace the Civil Emergency State by the Military Emergency State: “It was just outsiders that wanted that change of strategy”, he said.

Following the meeting with the Vice President, the Moluccan delegates had an encouraging meeting with the Minister of Welfare (“Menko Kesra”), Jusuf Kalla, who will be responsible for the National Investigation Team that is being composed and will consist of both Muslim and Christian non-Moluccans.

For tomorrow are planned meetings with the Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, with Supreme Police Commander General Da’i Bachtiar, with Indonesian Military (TNI) Chief Adm. Widodo A.S. and with House Speaker Akbar Tanjung.

5. SCREAM OF THE WOMEN - Sister Brigitta Renyaan asked us to disperse an English translation of the letter that was sent by the “Concerned Women’s Movement” (GPP = Gerakan Perempuan Peduli) to the Indonesian Government in Jakarta, and to various other obvious persons and institutions, including “Women’s Organisations in the whole world”. For that reason we provide here the complete text as follows:

SCREAM OF THE WOMEN (Jeritan Derita Kaum Perempuan)

Ambon, May 4, 2002

(1) The Concerned Women’s Movement expresses its most sincere condolence to the residents of the village of Soya on the slaughtering of eleven of their fellow residents. Most fittingly the deceased are called victims of slaughter, because they did not die as a result of warfare, but as the result of a one-sided attack on women, children and other citizens while they were asleep.

(2) It is most hurting to perceive that 75% of those slaughtered were women, including two helpless female babies. What we want to ask is: why were these innocent women and babies murdered? Were they involved in any forbidden political movement? Did they obstruct the State so that they had to be killed?

(3) We convey this scream of the people: based on the loyalty to the undivided Republic of Indonesia and their support of the Malino Agreement, these women admonished their men to voluntarily surrender their weapons. This obedience sadly turned out to have a high price on it.

(4) We state that this brutal carnage – especially because aimed at women and children – is a hideous crime against human rights, which should not be tolerated by civilized and in God believing people.

(5) That this butchering of innocent women, children and others, is an offense of human rights that cannot possibly be tolerated by the government of the undivided Republic of Indonesia.

(6) That no reason whatsoever, be it religion motivated or by motivation of maintaining national unity, can justify any group of persons to slaughter fellow human beings, especially if those are innocent women and children. Thus these criminals must be brought to court.

(7) We still trust that the military and police are institutions that guarantee the people’s security and safety and maintain the national independence. Therefore we demand them to restore their image by acting honestly, professionally and transparant in guaranteeing security for all.

(8) We also are convinced that the Law still can be upheld in this our Indonesia. So we request that those responsible for law and order, act accordingly in honest, professional and unyielding way, without any discrimination.

(9) Don’t let the Indonesian civilians in the Moluccas go on with this endless suffering. Be aware that the stigma RMS cannot generalizingly be applied to all Christian communities and that likewise Laskar Jihad cannot generalizingly be applied to all Muslim communities.

(10) As women that acknowledge responsibility towards the formation of the future generation, we are utterly concerned with the present milieu, especially in connection with the children that show symptoms of psychical trauma due to the violence that they incessantly witness.

(11) We demand improvement of capability and sense of responsibility of those who are entrusted with the application of correct citizenship,.especially of those who are responsible for maintaining security and law for everybody in Indonesia, especially for women and children that in the Moluccas are called to achieve the fervently desired prosperity of the undivided Republic of Indonesia.

(12) We reject any military emergency state to be applied to the Moluccas, especially to the city of Ambon, for we do not want the women and children endlessly being victimized.

Coordinators: (signed) Mrs. M.M.Hendriks, Mrs. Retty Assagaff, Sister Brigitta fdnsc


THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS – Reports 280 - 289
(May 9 - 25, 2002)

Report no. 280

Ambon, May 9, 2002

1. ADJUSTMENT OF BAN ON VISITORS - The government is still wary on visits by foreigners to the Moluccas. The governor’s spokesman declared on local TV last night that:

Tourists are only allowed to visit relative stable areas. These areas include the South East Moluccas, the Western S.E.Moluccas and the Banda Islands, however with previously granted permission of the governor and after thorough screening.

Those with a diplomatic mission and officially recognized international NGO employees that already had been given permission to enter the area prior to April 30, 2002, are allowed to enter the Moluccas, however, they will be screened meticulously. Of course there is no objection that those that have no previous permission, contact the Governor in order to obtain permission to enter the Moluccas, specifically Ambon, if they have a specific reason.

There was no mentioning of any likely permit being granted to foreign newsreporters. We have the impression that for them there is no way of entering the area. They deserve better!

2. REPORTS FROM OUR LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVES IN JAKARTA - The 35 member Ambon Council yesterday met with the Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Among other items, the subject of the Independent National Investigation Team (see Report 279 no.4) was raised. The Minister declared that the team will consist of eleven members: five Muslims, five Christians and one Hindu. The Provincial House of Representatives meanwhile had a meeting with House Speaker Akbar Tanjung. Next May 10 – Tanjung said – a mission of parliamentarians will be dispatched to Ambon for a brief visit.

Yesterday afternoon the Provincial and Ambon Council members - totalling 80 – were received in audience by President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

3. INTERNAL CONFLICT ON THE ISLAND OF SAPARUA - The Christian villages of Porto and Haria on the island of Saparua once again went to war one against the other yesterday, like they did earlier on April 10, 2002. On that occasion three people were killed. Now again three persons were killed. Seven persons were injured by bullets, three of them critically. Six houses were burned.

Report no. 281

Ambon, May 10, 2002

1. VICTIMS OF THE HOSTILITIES BETWEEN PORTO AND HARIA - Evaluating the sad harvest of the recent conflict between the Christian villages of Porto and Haria on the island of Saparua we count four people killed, eleven wounded. Fourteen houses have been destroyed by fire. Meanwhile the situation is fairly under control now. The conflict was sparked by a quarrel between schoolchildren.

2. THE HARDSHIP OF SWEEPING – Sweeping is not always easy. When in the evening of May 9th a suspiciously behaving young man from the hamlet of Mamala, Mochtar Harun (24), was approached by security forces in the village of Telaga Kodok (halfway between Nania and Hitulama on the Northern peninsula of Ambon island), he threw a home-made grenade at these servicemen, however wounded a woman that happened to be around. When he fled, he was shot in his leg and could be arrested. Upon searching another grenade was found on him together with a colt pistol and 49 bullets.

3. COSTS OF REBUILDING THE GOVERNMENTAL BUILDING - The government in Jakarta will set apart 53 billion for a new Governmental Office to be built in Ambon. This sum equals about US$ 5,400,000.- or Eur 6.300.000,-

Report no. 282

Ambon, May 12, 2002

1. DISCIPLINING THE RMS / FKM AND THE LASKAR JIHAD - The Minister for Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in Jakarta on May 10, that according to both the Central Civil Emergency Administrator (in Jakarta) and the Provincial Civil Emergency Administrator (in Ambon) the recent acts of violence in the Moluccas have their roots in the activities of the RMS / FKM and the Laskar Jihad.

Concerning the RMS /FKM, Yudhoyono said, that. though inside and outside Indonesia there are many voices that say that the RMS / FKM in the Moluccas are not guilty of acts of violence, are not an armed force and are not a real danger to the national unity, nevertheless they have carried out activities that endanger national unity, so the law should be applied to them according to the Constitution.

Commenting on the presence of the Laskar Jihad in the Moluccas, he said that time and again they have proved to involve themselves actively in the conflict in the Moluccas. So the government has decided that they must leave the Moluccas.

As soon as the RMS/FKM will have been disbanded and the Laskar Jihads will have left the Moluccas, the Civil Emergency Administrator of the Moluccas together with his staff must be able to guarantee protection for every community in the Moluccas. “Thus”, he said, “there will be no reason whatsoever for any group from outside the Moluccas, like the Laskar Jihad, to come to the Moluccas in order to protect the local Muslim community there”. Thus was reported by “Media Indonesia” national newspaper of May 10.

Amien Rais, chairman of the national House of Representatives (DPR-RI), when speaking in Yogyakarta, was of the same opinion. Vice President Hamzah Haz, speaking in Batam (industrial centre island near Singapore) said that at least the Laskar Jihads in Ambon should surrender all of their weapons.

2. LEGISLATORS VISIT AMBON - A team of five legislators of the national House of Representatives, led by deputy House Speaker Soetardjo Soerjogoeritno, arrived at Ambon on May 10 for a brief visit. This visit was mainly intended to gather firsthand information from the authorities in Ambon on their efforts to forge peace and restore order in the city of Ambon and in the Moluccas as a whole.

3. VICTIM OF VIOLENCE - In the evening of May 9, at Air Salobar (western end of the city of Ambon) the body of Yohan Hattu, resident of the Skip area, was found washed ashore. He had stab-wounds on his body and must have been dead for about three days already.

4. NOCTURNAL UNREST - There is hardly a night without sparse sounds of bombs and sometimes gunfire. During the night of May 9 three mortars were launched, obviously aimed at the Maranatha Church. This large church is for the Protestant Church of the Moluccas (GPM) what the cathedral is for the Catholics. It lies at the beginning of the Pattimura Street, opposite the destroyed Governmental Office building. The first mortar landed not far from the Governmental building but did not explode. The second one landed near the Protestant Baileo Community building to the right of the church, but did not explode either. The third one landed in front of the Synode Office building to the left of the church and exploded, however without causing serious damage. The SCTV commercial TV supposed the Governmental Office building to be the target.

Correspondent Paulien Joel-Parera reports that during the night of May 9, a “ninja”-like person intruded into the village where she lives, Kusu-Kusu Sereh, a village not far from Ambon. In the Christian Batu Gajah neighbourhood of Ambon a similar intruder was caught.

NB. One of our subscribers, who happens to forward these reports to several thousand others, informs us that he always receives our reports mixed up with extraneous computer codes, which makes an unpleasant reading if he thus would send it on. We would like to ask readers of our reports that have a similar experience, to tell us about it, and – more important yet – those that know about any treatment of this nuisance, to advise us on what to do about it (we use hotmail.com, not MSN). Thank you.

Report no. 283

Ambon, May 12, 2002

1. LASKAR JIHAD ARRESTED - Christians of the Diponegoro-Atas / Manggadua neighbourhoods, together with military volunteers, were busy “gotong-royong” (traditional voluntary work for common benefit) this Sunday afternoon, cleaning up a plot of land on the hillside, West of the Pohon Pule Bridge. They decided to cut down some trees that hampered their view downwards. This was thought important, because two Laskar Jihad posts are stationed not far off. What happened then, we learned from one of our Crisis Centre members who by chance was there and witnessed all of it. Some muslims came to the spot, protesting against this felling of trees of which – they claimed – they were the owners. The discussion became rather hot-tempered, and the military gotong-royongers started to run for their weapons, then fired in the air in order to thwart off the protesters. However, these answered by throwing a bomb, wounding one of the soldiers at his leg. His comrades then went brengsek. Military servicemen guarding the nearby governor’s mansion, learning about the bloodshed of one of their own, came to aid. The Pohon Pule bridge passage was sealed off, thus trapping at least seven of the assailants. Within moments these were caught and badly mishandled before being carried off on a military truck. Our witness said that at least several of those arrested were jihads, judging by their usual sparse beards and light skins. Though extra military protection has been sent to the area, nevertheless many residents have fled the area, fearing further escalation.

2. FIVE-FOLD RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GOVERNOR - The Central Government in Jakarta has instructed the Civil Emergency Administrator for the Moluccas (i.e. Governor M.S. Latuconsina) and his aides to restore law and order in the Moluccas according to the following stages: (1) Disbanding the FKM / RMS; (2) Sending the Laskar Jihad out of the Moluccas; (3) Carrying out sweeping on illegal possession of weaponry; (4) Solving the disastrous incidents of last April 3 (fatal bombing and burning of the Governmental building, see Report 254 sqq.); (5) The hoisting of the RMS flag last April 25 and ensuing tragic events (see Report 267 sqq.).

3. TEMPORARY LOCATION OF GOVERNOR’S OFFICE SERVICES - Contrary to an earlier decision to house the Provincial administrative services in the recently restored PLN (electricity company) building at the Trikora crossroads, at the end of Diponegoro Street (see Report 260.4), this building, though representative, was regarded as rather unsuitable after all. It has now been decided upon to rent the Telecommunication (Telkom) building in the Tanah Lapang Kecil (“Talake”) neighbourhood, situated between the (Muslim) Waihaong and the (Christian) Batugantung/Kudamati areas as alternative Office for at least two years. The building was badly damaged in June 2000 (Report 1, June 22, 2000), but will now immediately be rehabilitated.

Report no. 284

Ambon, May 14, 2002

1. THE DIPONEGORO INCIDENT - After the confrontation of the military versus some Muslims in the Diponegoro area during the afternoon of Sunday, May 12, in which a soldier was wounded at his thigh by a home-made bomb, security forces carried out intensive sweeping in the area. Hereby one person, named Yuswan, was shot dead when he refused to hand over a bomb he was holding in his hand. Those that were arrested numbered eight people (not seven as we reported earlier), varying in age from 18 to 31. Five of them turned out to be Javanese; the other three are from Ambon. Various weaponry was found on them, among other things 20 home-made bombs. They will be interrogated by the Joint Investigation Team.

2. MALINO DELEGATION MEMBERS THREATENED - In the evening of Sunday, May 12, the house of the leader of the Muslim delegation to Malino, Thamrin Elly, which lies in the Kebun Cengkeh area, was burned by an unidentified group of people. Thamrin Elly excluded the possibility that his house was burned by FKM/RMS people. He said his house was being protected by a policeman, following earlier threats by Muslims that do not agree with the Moluccas Agreement of Malino. Those that set fire to his house – he said – numbered about ten masked people in black outfit. His wife managed to escape with her two years old child to a neighbour’s house, though chased by gunfire.

All of the 35 members of the Muslim delegation to Malino are under threat of being killed. Military chief commander Mustopo, in cooperation with the police forces, now provides protection to them according to capability. However, those members that have their houses at rather far-off sites, have been advised to evacuate to safer surroundings.

Another reaction to the detention of the eight culprits was the burning of a government owned speedboat in the early morning of Monday, May 13.

The governor has urged to enforce the curfew more seriously.

3. STANCE OF THE NU - Chairman of the influential NU (Nahdathul Ulama), Kyai Haji Hasyim Muzadi, acknowledged that the conflict in the Moluccas will not be solved as long as the FKM / RMS Movement is not bridled and the Laskar Jihads stay on in the Moluccas.

Report no. 285

Ambon, May 15, 2002

1. OPINIONS ON THE ROLE OF RMS AND JIHAD FORCES IN THE CONFLICT – The (Laskar Jihad) National Communication Forum Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah (FKAWJ) is holding a national workshop in Jakarta from May 13 to May 22. In his opening speech, FKAWJ chairman Ayip Syafruddin said that the Laskar Jihad would be withdrawn from the Moluccas if the following two conditions were fulfilled: (1) Guarantee of protection of the Muslim community in the Moluccas by military and police forces; (2) Disbanding of the RMS separatist movement, to be effectuated by the government.

Vice President Hamzah Haz, after opening the workshop, confirmed that first of all the FKM (Front Kedaulatan Maluku) separatist movement should be broken up, after which the Laskar Jihad must leave the Moluccas.

Commenting on this statement, Brigader General Mustopo, the military chief commander of Kodam XVI Pattimura in Ambon, said that ousting the Laskar Jihad from the Moluccas could be hampered by certain complications, since a lot of them after these two years have already struck roots in Ambon because of their involvement in social welfare and in educational activities in the Muslim community.

Religious leaders in Jakarta, joined in the Gerakan Moral Nasional (National Moral Movement), too, discussed the problem. The three leaders of this forum (Kyai Haji Hasyim Muzadi of the Nahdathul Ulama, Fr. I.Ismantoro SJ in name of the Catholic Church and Minister A.A. Yewangoe of the union of Protestant Churches in Indonesia) then reported to Vice President Hamzah Haz on their conclusion, like afterwards was explained by Hasyim Muzadi to the press: it is the government’s responsibility to investigate and state clearly the performers of the unrest in the Moluccas. It is most likely that the unrest is fomented by people from outside the Moluccas, but one should not hastily conclude that it is the RMS or Laskar Jihad (leaving it to professional investigators to find out what other outsiders are to be found in the Moluccas).

Mahmud Md, former Cabinet Minister of Defense, now chairman of the Partei Kebangkitan Bangsa (National Reawakening Party), declared on May 13, that he agreed to the ousting of all RMS and Laskar Jihad forces from the Moluccas. Even all outsiders should be expelled, especially the Dutch, for these are likely to support the RMS.

2. MINISTERIAL VISIT – Cabinet Minister of Social Affairs Bachtiar Chamzah recently came to visit the Moluccas. After visiting Masohi, capital of the Central Moluccas, island of Seram, he came to Ambon, where among other things he went to survey the burned down Governmental Office building. He warned not too hastily erect a new Governmental Office building. As long as the conflict has not come to a solution, it might be burned again (which happened already to the new Silo church: while still being under construction, it has been set to fire three times!).

3. ARRIVAL OF NATIONAL INVESTIGATION TEAM – The Cabinet Ministers of Economic Affairs, of Welfare and for Political and Security Affairs have dispatched the long awaited eleven member National Investigation Team to Ambon.

4. BRUTAL SWEEPING IN KUDAMATI – Yesterday sweeping was carried out in the Christian neighbourhood of Kudamati, specifically in the area where FKM leader Alex Manuputty’s house is situated. Local TV showed civilians that were utterly angered by the savage, even traumatizing way this sweeping was carried out from house to house. Finding no weaponry in Alex Manuputty’s house, they took away his computer and modem, his communication facilities (HT) and other irrelevant odds. We noticed that the only road through Kudamati was heavily barricaded by civilians.

Report no. 286

Ambon, May 15, 2002

1. CONTROVERSY BETWEEN BRIMOB AND KOPASSUS - In the Christian Kudamati neighbourhood, city of Ambon, is a Christian militia group called “Coker”. Coker is short for Cowo-Cowo Keren (Ambonese, meaning “Bold Youngsters”, see Report 89 no.4). Last Monday, May 13, Brimob police, assisted by regular police forces, went after Berty Loupatty, leader of this group. Berty was suspected of certain recent “irregularities” in relation to the Moluccas conflict. Due to mutual misunderstanding, some police servicemen got in conflict with locally stationed Kopassus military forces. Two Kopassus members were caught and taken to Police HQ in Batumeja. There they were mishandled by certain police servicemen in such atrocious way that they needed intensive medical care; one of them was even set on a plane to Jakarta.

Following this incident the harsh sweeping we mentioned in our latest report was carried out. It was executed by several hundreds of military of the Yonif 503 Brawijaya, Yonif 741 Udayana and Kopassus troops. In a radio and TV interview their commander complained about lack of understanding and cooperation among the local residents. Reportedly several weapons were found – among others in A.Manuputty’s house – and an FKM/RMS activist was arrested. The following day, May 15, Berty Loupatty, too, was detained and surrendered to the TPG (Tim Penyidik Gabungan – Joint Investigation Team) of the Military and Police for further interogation.

2. THE POOREST PROVINCE - Coordinating Minister for Social Affairs Jusuf Kalla declared that the Moluccas meanwhile has become the poorest Province of Indonesia.

3. PEACE BETWEEN PORTO AND HARIA - The 3rd anniversary of Kodam XVI Pattimura was celebrated today in a festive ceremony by the residents of Porto and Haria together, thus ending the feud between these two Protestant Christian villages on the island of Saparua.

Remarks:

(1) Rectification: In our Report 285 no.1 we mentioned Fr. I. Ismantoro SJ. This should be Fr. I. Ismartono SJ.

(2) Suggestion to those that prefer the Indonesian language to English, to provide a periodic summary of these reports in Indonesian: Telah beberapa kali kami diminta untuk menyediakan laporan-laporan ini juga dalam bahasa Indonesia. Jika ada yang berminat menerimanya, mohon diberitahukan kepada kami, lalu akan kami kirim rangkuman laporan sebulan satu atau dua kali. Selama belum tersedia, silakan kunjungilah www.malra.org/posko dan klik “Lintas Peristiwa Kerusuhan di Maluku”. Terima kasih.

Report no. 287

Ambon, May 18, 2002

1. FKM LEADERS REMOVED TO JAKARTA - On May 16, 2002, both leaders of the FKM separatist movement, Alex Manuputty and Semmy Waeleruny, were flown to Jakarta. The authorities had succeeded in keeping it a secret from any FKM supporters. It is unknown yet whether the legal process against them will be held in Jakarta. The official reason of both FKM leaders being taken to Ambon is ensuring security and the need of professional investigators.

2. NEED OF COOPERATIVE ATTITUDE OF CIVILIANS - Town Mayor for the city of Ambon M.J. (Yopi) Papilaya urges the residents of Ambon to facilitate the governments efforts to implement one of the Malino decisions, namely the sweeping on illegally possessed weapons. There is an understandable aversion among the civilians to let go of their weaponry, leaving them defenseless towards certain groups that are regarded as not likely to be deprived of their supply of weapons.

3. TABLIQ AKBAR BY JAFAR UMAT THALIB ON SPMM RADIO 1-3 MEI 2002

BBC Monitoring International Reports – May 16, 2002: Text Of Laskar Jihad Leader's "Declaration Of War"

Ja'far Umar Thalib, leader of the Islamic militant Laskar Jihad movement, has accused the Maluku provincial administration and the Church of conspiring to drive out Muslims and establish a Christian state in Maluku. He said all attempts at peaceful lobbying with the authorities had failed and called on Muslims to prepare to fight to defend the unity of the Indonesian Republic. He ordered members of his organization "get the bombs... ready" and to "write their will and testament and prepare themselves to take up the position of martyrs".

Read it here (as published by Indonesian newspaper Berdarah web site on 8 May; subheadings inserted editorially)

Report no. 288

Ambon, May 20, 2002

1. STATEMENT OF ADAT CHIEFS - A party of about 150 people went up to the Governor’s residence at Mangga Dua last Saturday, 18 May. It consisted of Muslim Adat Chiefs (so-called Latupati), religious leaders, leading civilians and delegates from youth organisations, coming from Ambon and some other parts of the Central Moluccas area (Leihitu, Hatuhaha, Laha, Salahutu, Batumerah, Banda-Eli, West Seram etc.). They said to have come to communicate their stand, especially in connection with post-Malino unrest in Ambon. Their five-point statement focused on: (1) Condemning all anarchism and the recent acts of violence and terrorism; (2) Supporting the government in its efforts to end the violence, to exert law and order and reestablish safe living conditions in the Moluccas; (3) Urging the Muslim leaders to bring about reconciliation within the Muslim community itself by sincere dialogue; (4) Activating the muslim community to take care and maintain ukhuwah Islamiah (Islam brotherhood). (5) If no heed is paid to these four items, the Muslim community will apply punishment according to local adat. The statement was signed by a number of