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Saturday, 6 February 1999

Terror by phone and pamphlets worrying the Ambonnese

Ambon, Kompas Online

Terror by phone informing about attacks of one group against the other is worrying the society of Ambon. Due to those phone information the society of Ambon city since Friday (II/5)from 01.00 till the morning were on the alert in certain areas. But the issue about attacks was not realized.

On Friday morning a neatly typed clandestine pamphlet informed about the attack from certain groups against other groups. The pamphlet also mentioned the areas as target.

The police chief of Maluku Col (Pol) Karyono answered when the press asked about the terror by phone and the pamphlets that the phones were since long. "The pamphlets are maybe a new form," he said sided by the Chief of the Center for Operation Control lieut. col. (Pol) Riswandhi and the head of the Directorate for Social guidance lieut. col. (Pol) Sisno Adiwinoto.

"Those pamphlets are incorrect," said the police chief while appealing to the society not to be misled either by information by phone or by clandestine pamphlets. He said that it depended on ourselves whether we would be set up against each other or not,

The atmosphere in Ambon city was since Friday morning gripping. Kompas who went around Ambon witnessed groups of people sitting on the side walks, The security apparatus from Kostrad and the Mobile Brigade patrolled continuously.

The police increased the patrol on Friday early in the morning by motor bike and even by walking. The police chief asked not to burn garbage and to clean the graffiti on the walls. About the suspects he said that it reached 102 suspects with various crimes like burning, killing, carrying arms and spreading lies.

Spreading pamphlets

When asked about the developments of the riots in Kairatu the police chief said that the situation was fully under control. Yesterday the Information Service from the Police was spreading pamphlets with the peace agreement signed by prominent persons of the religions, of the society and of the government.

The Kairatu region was deserted viewed from the helicopter. No city transportation was evident. Places where people evacuated could be seen. About 115 houses from Waitasi village were ravaged and burnt by the mass, 2,000 persons evacuated to a safe place.

But in general the condition of the district of Kairatu and surroundings was Friday (II/5) safe. Particularly the handling of a small incident, Thursday (II/4) morning at 05.00 at the village of Kamariang and the village of Waralohi

According to the Deputy governor of Maluku Paula Renyaan, the Kamariang incident started with the burning of some shacks in the gardens owned by inhabitants from the Kamariang village. Some suspected that it was done by neighboring villagers from Waralohi. This accusation caused ultimately a physical clash.

Meanwhile the governor of Maluku M Saleh Latuconsina stated Friday (II/5) afternoon that urgent handling of the post riots era in Ambon were reconstruction of houses, schools, places for worship, and markets. Therefore he proposed supporting funds from the related department for immediate realization. The condition of the evacuated persons started to become concerning and it was feared that epidemics would spread.

From the 3,400 burnt houses, 2,153 are found in Ambon. If it will be rebuilt the government will support with Rp five million per house, part of which in building material. Houses of worship will receive Rp 50 million with a total of 3l. Three markets will each get Rp 25 billion. For four elementary schools and one junior high school is reserved about Rp 1.4 billion.

"The Ministry of Education and Culture is attempting school for 1,778 pupils from elementary schools, 879 pupils from junior high schools, 799 pupils from senior high schools and 353 students.

The amount of support till Friday afternoon was Rp2.6 billion. More than Rp1.5 billion comes, from the Department of Forestry and Apkindo.

Meanwhile the Justice minister Muladi stated that the riots in Ambon disturbed justice activities in the region. There are even two staff members of the Justice Ministry who were assigned in the region killed during the riots. There is however no withdrawal ,of employees from said region.

"They are asked to stay alert and take care for the safety of themselves and their family. They are asked to perform their duty as much as possible. Thank god there is no prisoner or detainee who run away from the detention house in Ambon's Correctional Institute," the minister said to reporters in Jakarta on Friday (II/5).

Gus Dur

The general chairman of the Union of Churches in Indonesia (PGI), Dr Sularso Sopater pointed out that the provocateurs were clever in utilizing all matters, so that it is very exact as detonator. "We see it like that," said Sularso after witnessing the delivery of support from the Wallet Caring for the People in cooperation with the Economic Institute of the Nahdlatul Ulama (LPNU), the PGI and the Suara Pembaruan Daily at the home of the general chairman of the PBNU, KH Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur). Ciganjur, Friday (II/5).

In a region where the ratio of the believers is balanced, said Sularso it is ever more critical that riots occur. "That is what is drawing our attention now," he clarified.

"We appeal to PGI members to be able to filter information more critical and mature, so that what is heard must be rechecked. This can avoid riots," he said.

According to Gus Dur, this help has a very important meaning as sign that the NU considers the struggle for humanity important.

The donation was 9,000 packages Indomie noodles and Rp 10 million for the victims of riots in Ambon, Rp 3 million for scholarships of orphans from Pondok Pesantren Buntet (Cirebon), Rp 3 million for victims of a fire in Pulogadung and Rp 2 million for a school for handicapped children (SLB) in Arjawimangun, Cirebon. (*)

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