Violence in Ambon Coming to an End, Meetings To Discuss Cause of Uprising a Failure

(ICC) The general situation in Ambon has improved during these last few days. Many refugees have returned to their homes (insofar still intact). The road that connects Ambon city with the western neighbourhoods of Manggadua, Batugantung etc. is open to traffic again. Police chief commander Bambang Sutrisno said that he hoped the citizens of Ambon would cooperate in recovering peace and mutual understanding, among others by removing the barricades and by not letting oneself be provoked. In the late afternoon of Monday, April 3, National Police chief General Da’i Bachtiar arrived in Ambon in order to meet civil authorities and Muslim and Christian leaders, totalling about 100 persons. The meeting was held in the Aula Masariku 733 of military HQ, Ambon. However the meeting, which lasted for only one hour, ended in disarray. Those present were addressed by speakers, including Da’i Bachtiar himself, Muslim preacher Abdullah Gymnastiar (better known as “AA Gym”) and Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) chairman Nathan Setiabudi. Not surprisingly, AA Gym had his own way of reading the Moluccas conflict. He said: “The people of the Moluccas are brave. It needs courage to burn some hundreds of houses and other facilities. Now prove your courageousness as well in rebuilding what you have destroyed.” Never-the-less, the meeting was a failure.

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