Monday, October 30, 2006

Hundreds of protestors demand Brimob pullout from Poso

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Hundreds of Indonesian Muslims protested Monday in the religiously-divided town of Poso, demanding the pullout of police paramilitary units sent as reinforcements to maintain order, a report said. Poso has been hit by a resurgence of unrest since three Christians were executed a month ago in Central Sulawesi province for inciting violence against Muslims in 2000.

About 700 protestors from various Islamic organisations also demanded that lawmakers set up a fact-finding team to look into the possible involvement of Indonesia's feared paramilitary unit, Brimob, in the latest violence, AFP reported. Shops and businesses were closed as a precaution during the protest. ElShinta radio reported from the town that several protestors were allowed to meet with Poso's local council members.

These Islamic organizations ( read: Islamic militants) are trying to divert attention away from the actual terrorists and putting the blame on Brimob.

The protestors were heard reading out their version of events alleging Brimob involvement, with one claiming police had initiated an upsurge in violence since October 22 by shooting into a crowd.

The only ones causing the violence are the Muslims involved in the Islamic militant groups.

National police spokesman Anton Bahrul Alam was quoted by the Koran Tempo as saying Sunday that police had evidence that the mob was responsible for kickstarting the unrest on the day by shooting at a police armoured vehicle.At least one civilian was killed and two injured in the melee which police say began after Muslim residents attacked police who were about to conduct a search for weapons and ammunition.

The police are exactly correct! The protesters do not represent the Muslim community and represent militant groups Islamic Defenders Front and Islamic Struggle Brotherhood of Poso. They are cause of the recent terrorism and conflict with police. As I have called for before, if these two groups are removed from the situation then peace will return to Central Sulawesi. Local Muslims want the militants out.

A week earlier a Christian minister was shot dead in broad daylight in the Central Sulawesi capital of Palu. Muslims in Poso have accused Brimob of favouring the Christian camp.

Poso and its surrounding district became a focal point of communal violence between Muslims and Christians which claimed about 1,000 lives in 2000-2001 and unrest has continued intermittently since then.

Vice President Yusuf Kalla, who was behind a government-sponsored peace pact that ended the bulk of the violence, met with Muslim and Christian leaders in Palu on Sunday in a bid to ease tensions.

And Kalla also understands who the cause of the problem is. If Brimob is removed then the Islamic militants are free to terrorize Christians and try to drive all Christians out of Central Sulawesi. If Brimob stays, then the militants will protest, cause civil disharmony and attack the police. The only solution is to get rid of the militants.

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