International Christian Concern
Indonesia: Laskar Jihad Lands in Ambon
Day 5: Will the Army Provide Safety for the Christians?
For Immediate Release
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(4/29/04) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org, has learned through our sources that jihad warriors from the Laskar Jihad have landed in Ambon and are surging toward the Kuda Mati neighborhood of Ambon. Police were lined up on the edges of the Kuda Mati neighborhood to prevent them from reaching the Christians and massacring them. We unsure how many have landed in Ambon, but Laskar Jihad had been threatened to send 9,000-12,000 warriors.
The pretense of the Muslim/Nationalist attacks is that the people are separatist and anti-Indonesian. To counter this viewpoint, residents of Kuda Mati had a meeting with governor Ralahalu together with deputy governor Latuconsina, Military Chief Suma, Police Chief Sutrisno and Attorney Masridjinin. The representatives read a four-point statement in which they (1) rejected all separatism, (2) refused to be stigmatized as FKM/RMS (separatist.org) adherents, (3) asked the military and police to deal with the conflict according to the law, (4) asked the central and provincial government to take appropriate steps to end the conflict.
Indonesian authorities have taken steps to clamp down on information coming out of Ambon, and at this point only the governor and his public relations manager are allowed to make comments. Police and civil authorities yesterday declined to give detailed information on the religious conflict. The latest figures ICC received are 36 killed and 159 wounded with 200 homes destroyed.
On a positive note, heads of national security agencies have arrived in Ambon, demonstrating that the pressure being applied through public relations is working. The security chiefs are minister for Political and Security Affairs (MenKo PolKam), Military Chief General Endriartono Sutarto and Police Chief Dai Bachtiar. The downside is that the police and military have a mixed record in protecting Christians from the Muslims. In some areas, ICC has seen evidence that indicates their complicity at lower (local) levels of the Police and Army. Some reports have come in that the army and police units did nothing as Christians were attacked in their presence.
ICC implores all interested parties to immediately call or fax the Indonesian Embassy and plead for the Indonesian army to be sent to Ambon to prevent a massacre. They have responded favorably before and will do so again if pressure is applied. Please take a minute out of your day and help save the life of an Indonesian Christian. The Indonesian Embassy can be contacted by phone: (202)775-5200 or by fax: (202)775-5365.
Also, please make a call to your elected representatives to urge them to ask Indonesia for protection for the Christians of Ambon.