Thursday, October 26, 2006

No Brimob withdrawals from Poso

Makassar (ANTARA News) - The chief of the 7th/Wirabuana Military Command, Major General Arief Budi Sampurno, said on Wednesday there would be no withdrawals of Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel from the Poso region in Central Sulawesi. In a statement to ANTARA News after a closed-door meeting between security officials and regional community and religious figures in Poso, he said their number would even be increased because people there still wanted the military (TNI) and the police to maintain security in the region. "They asked that cooperation between the TNI and the police as well as the community be improved further in the future," he said. The meeting was attended by the chief of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), Syamsir Siregar, as well as several high-ranking officials from the TNI and Police Headquarters and the office of the coordinating minister for political , legal and security affairs. The meeting was held following increased tension in the region which was the former scene of communal conflicts. Unknown gunmen killed a Christian priest in the region recently.
Sampurno said during the meeting Syamsir Siregar did not talk much as he focused on listening to information from the community leaders. Syamsir immediately left for Jakarta after the meeting. Sampurno said the situation in Poso was in general peaceful. "There are no obvious signs of unrest," he said, adding that if there were any, they were shown by a small group of people who were not satisfied with the security maintenance efforts made by the authorities. "They are not satisfied because local security has been tightened," he said. He said the TNI would even send an army engineers` unit to Poso to rebuild people`s houses burned during the conflict of several years ago. He said the project would target 1,000 houses and be started in November.

The only ones who are not happy with security being tightened are the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and its supporters. Sugiyanto Kaimudin made it quite clear that FPI demanded national troops withdraw from the area, threatening to disrupt the activities of the local government, markets and people's lives if they refused. "We will paralyze activities in Poso" said Sugiyanto. Security hampers their mission of terrorism and continuing the conflict in the area.

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