Monday, September 25, 2006

Big turnouts for burials of Poso 3

Thousands of mourners attended Sunday's burial in Morowali regency, Central Sulawesi, of two of three Catholic men executed last week for leading sectarian attacks, while the body of the third was flown home to Maumere, East Nusa Tenggara.
Their executions by firing squad early Friday in the Central Sulawesi provincial capital of Palu sparked violence, with mobs vandalizing government buildings and police posts in Maumere and storming a jail in Atambua on western Timor island.
At least 5,000 mourners were present at the burial of Fabianus Tibo, who was buried in Beteleme village, Lembo district, in Morowali. The burial ceremony, led by Father Jimmy Tumbelaka, started at 11 a.m. local time and ended at 14:30 p.m. with his interment.
The body of Martinus Riwu was buried in Molore village, Petania district, about 25 kilometers from Beteleme. Martinus' burial was led by Father Jacob Adilang.
"The burial ceremony was orderly," Kinsen Lumintang, a Catholic youth activist, was quoted as saying by Antara newswire.
Soldiers and police guarded churches and mosques in Poso and along roads leading to Beteleme and Molore.
Before the burial, Poso Regent Piet Inkiriwang tried to hand over Rp 5 million (about US$525) in cash to the bereaved relatives of the men, but they refused the money.
Relatives said they were disappointed by the regency's failure to prevent the executions, and especially comments that the executions should be expedited because of security concerns.
Meanwhile, the body of Dominggus da Silva, who had been buried in Palu after his execution, was exhumed and flown back to Maumere on Sunday, his lawyer Roy Rening said.
On eastern Flores island, thousands lined the streets as his body of the 41-year-old public transportation driver was driven from Waioti airport in Maumere to Waidoko graveyard.
The arrival of his body was greeted by his family, Deputy Governor of East Nusa Tenggara Frans Leburaya, Kupang's Wirasakti Military Commander Col. Arif Rachman, East Nusa Tenggara Police chief Brig. Gen. Robert B. Sadarum, Sikka Regent Aleks Longginus and other local government officials.
After a brief stop at his family home, the body was taken to St. Yoseph Cathedral where a prayer session was led by Maumere Diocese official Father Frans Fao for about 10,000 mourners. Dominggus was later buried beside the grave of his father.
Tibo, Marinus and Dominggus were convicted of leading a Christian militia that carried out a series of attacks in May 2000 in Sulawesi, including a machete and gun assault on an Islamic school where dozens of men were seeking shelter. More than 1,000 people of both faiths died in four years of fighting.
But human rights groups have raised questions over the fairness of the trial, and questioned whether the three men were high-ranking fighters. Some analysts have suggested that Indonesia bowed to pressure from hardline groups.

Many Sulawesi Christians, who have been the target of regular terrorist attacks since large-scale clashes ended in 2002, said they wanted to see an end to the spike in tensions since the executions.
"All of us here want peace," Lapasiana toldAP before going to church in Poso on Sunday. "We do not want any more war or killings."
Meanwhile, the Sikka Police have arrested three people for alleged involvement in the vandalism and arson of government buildings on Friday.
They were accused of taking part in riots which destroyed Maumere District Court, the local legislative council building and Maumere prosecutor's office.


Yemris Fointuna contributed to this article from Maumere, East Nusa Tenggara.

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