Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Five detained for vandalism in Atambua

This from Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang

Belu Police have detained five people for alleged involvement in recent riots in Atambua, East Nusa Tenggara, where government buildings were damaged in protest against the executions of three Catholic convicts in Palu, Central Sulawesi.
The police said Monday they had complete documentation on acts allegedly committed by the five, who are currently detained at the Belu Police Headquarters for questioning, during the attacks Friday.
"They were caught on camera when they burned the official residence of the Atambua Prosecutors' Office, vandalized the Atambua Prosecutors' Office, Atambua District Court, forced the opening of the Atambua penitentiary gate and damaged stalls, shops and kiosks," said a police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The situation in both Atambua and Maumere, where the violent protests took place after the execution of the so-called Poso 3, was returning to normal Monday.
Belu Deputy Regent Gregorius Mau Bili confirmed the arrests.
"I've just got information from the police that there are five people who have been arrested and detained in their capacity as witnesses. The police have also pledged to capture the masterminds who provoked the anarchical actions," Gregorius said.
Leaders from different faiths in Belu, under the sponsorship of the Religious Figures Communication Forum, have supported the police's endeavor to apprehend the rioters and the instigators, he said.
"All the religious figures -- be they Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist -- supported the police's actions."
Gregorius said the local district court and prosecutors' office were still not running at full capacity because of damage to computer networks and workstations, as well as the loss of important documents.
"Civil servants from the two buildings are working in other rooms which were not affected by the riots, but the trial process is not operating as expected," he said, adding that a number of prisoners who fled during the riots were recapture or voluntarily surrendered to the authorities.


"As of this afternoon, 135 of the 205 prisoners who fled have returned to the penitentiary."
All of the judges at Maumere District Court are refusing to return to work because they say they have been terrorized by an unidentified group of people.
Maumere District Court chief Parlin Hutahahean said that the Justice and Human Rights Ministry and East Nusa Tenggara High Court agreed to allowing all judges and their staff members in Maumere to remain away from work until the end of the Idul Fitri celebration in late October.
"All the judges can take a long holiday. Some of them have even left Maumere to go home and rest. Only three of the 14 judges insisted on staying here," Parlin said.
Sikka Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Endang Syafruddin said three rioters detained at the local police headquarters had been declared suspects in the attacks on the government buildings.
"The police named them suspects because they have credible proof of their activities."

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