Monday, October 30, 2006

Government appeases Islamic militants in Poso

Palu, Central Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - The government agreed with Muslim figures in terror-riddled Poso town to set up a reconstruction team to look into a clash between mobile brigade personnel and Poso residents last week, a spokesperson said.

The decision to form the team which would also be tasked to investigate bloody crimes in the former sectarian conflict-wrecked town was made in a meeting between Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Muslim figures here Sunday night.

Kalla and Malino declarator for a peaceful Poso of Muslim group, Adnan Arsal, also agreed that the proposed team would be placed under coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs and that its members would comprise local administration officials and public leaders.

"We also suggest that the reconstruction team comprised Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) members," Adnan said.

Why are the fascist, racist, anti-Christian MUI being dragged into this?

Adnan said the government promised to study Poso Muslim organization leaders` ultimatum that the government must withdraw all non-organic mobile brigade personnel from Poso.

"The government promised to withdraw all mobile brigade personnel if security condition in Poso is conducive," said the Poso Muslim People Struggle Brotherhood Forum chairman.

He also said thousands of Poso Muslims would stage a protest in Poso on Monday to urge the government to withdraw the mobile brigade personnel from Poso.

Adnan said the closed-door meeting between Kalla and 30 Poso Muslim leaders, most of them were Malino declarators, gave positive contribution to efforts to create a peaceful Poso although other public leaders of different faith notably Christian group were not invited to the gathering.

"It doesn`t matter that the meeting between vice president and the Poso Muslim leaders was separated from a meeting with Kalla and Poso Christian leaders," Adnan said.

Meanwhile, other Poso Muslim leader who attended the meeting Sofyan Farid Lembah said Adnan pledged to hand over wanted Muslim people suspected of being involved in deadly crimes.

Malino declarator team was set up by the government to end sectarian conflict that beset Poso town years ago.

The closed door-meeting took place for more than two hours beginning at 9.15 p.m. at a Central Sulawesi development planning office hall.

Kalla held a similar meeting with Poso Christian leaders following the meeting with Poso Mulim leaders at a adjacent gubernatorial hall.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo AS, National Police chief Gen Sutanto, National Intelligence Body (BIN) chairman Syamsier Siregar, Social Affairs Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah, Justice and Human Rights Affairs Minister Hamid Awaluddin and Home Affairs Minister M. Maruf were present at the two meetings.

In the meantime, Reverend Lies Sigilipu of the Poso Christian camp asked the government to help revive economic sector in Poso.

Many Poso residents still live in poverty as there was no all-out effort to bring economic life back on track following years of sectarian conflict, he said.

"Economic recovery should be felt by grass-root level. They have witnessed that officials can buy super Kijang vans while they can only afford SuperMie instant noodles," he said. Meanwhile, Central Sulawesi Christian Church Synod Council acting chairman Rev. Ishak Pole asked national police chief to give the people information on an investigation into a series of deadly crimes in Central Sulawesi notably killing of two reverends in Poso and Palu.

Masked men shot reverend Susianti Tinulele to death when she was delivering a sermon in Poso in July 2004 and Rev. Irianto was killed when he was buying building material in Palu two weeks ago.

Two Christian school girls were multilated by unidentified men in Poso last year.

And three high school girls were beheaded a year ago.

The meeting between Kalla and 20 Poso Christian figures was held for about one hour starting 00.15 Monday.

Kalla wanted to gather the Poso Muslim and Christian figures and convey result of agreements for signature before he return to Jakarta on Monday.

Why weren't both Muslims and Christians consulted at the same time? What are the Muslims hiding? VP Kalla was supposed to come in and help find those Muslims responsible for the recent acts of terrorism. He is also supposed to make a task force to bring to light those who were responsible for the conflict in the first place. This smells of a conspiracy by the government with miltant Adnan Arsal. His group is responsible, along with the Islamic Defenders Front, for the recent terrorism in Poso. The Islamic Struggle Brotherhood Forum has ties to the suspects of the beheadings of the three high school girls and bombings throughout Central Sulawesi and a teacher from Adnan's school is a main suspect in the beheadings. Why is the government even dealing with this militant? I can see where this is going. Brimob will be pulled out, attacks on Christians will increase, Christians will have to defend themselves and the conflict will start up again. We'll be right back to square one again and the cycle of violence will continue. If the conflict starts up again you can bet it's because the government wants it to start up again.

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