Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Indonesians demand truth in pastor's death

(Asia News.it) Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and human rights activists condemn this morning’s murder of Rev Kongkoli in Palu. The authorities are urged to find those behind this act and the 1999-2001 violence. Bomb goes off in Poso but there are no reports of casualties.
The Catholic Church and Indonesian Christians along with human rights groups, Muslim organisations and local government officials have condemned the murder of Rev Irianto Kongkoli which occurred this morning in Palu (Central Sulawesi). They all demand that those responsible for the violence that gripped the area in the last few years be brought to justice.
“Let an independent taskforce or fact-finding team be established to disclose the facts,” said Fr. Benny Susetyo, secretary of the Interfaith and Religious Dialogue Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia. “
Without any strong commitment from local government and Jakarta, peace and order in Poso will not be achieved”.
A few hours ago, in the predominantly Christian village of Kayamanya, which is near Poso, a bomb exploded. So far there have been no reports of casualties or damages.
Between 1991 and 2001 Poso and Central Sulawesi province were the scene of bloody sectarian clashes between Christians and Muslims that left 2,000 people dead.
Three Catholics were executed by firing squad on September 22 in Palu for some of the massacres. But their death has reignited tensions in the province. Fears are growing that Idul Fitri (end of Ramadan on october 24-25) celebrations might be marred by further violence.
Rev Kongkoli, chairman of the Central Sulawesi Churches of Synod (GKST), had publicly opposed the execution of three Catholics. And today gunmen killed him with a shot at the head in front of his wife as they were leaving a store in Palu.
Palu’s deputy mayor, Suardin Suebu, described the murder as “a brutal act “of terrorism.
Hany Tikualo, head of the Law and Human Rights Advocacy Agency, said that act was meant to instil terror in the population.
For the Jakarta-based Indonesian Churches of Synod (PGI), a “thorough investigation is needed to find the reasons behind the murder.”
For Rev Andreas Yewangoe, a top PGI official, today’s murder “is a serious crime that has the potential of destroying peace and order”. He added: “We call on Christians not to react to the provocation that these acts of terror represent; they are only meant to set one community against the other”.
Indonesia’s national security agency, the BIN, agrees that the clergyman’s murder was intended to undermine religious harmony.
Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organisation, also strongly condemned the murder. Its chairman, Din Syamsudin, said security forces “must keep the peace and bring to justice the murderers” of Rev Kongkoli.

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