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ICC Note

Military and police in Indonesia continue fighting amongst themselves, which only makes the situation for Christians more dangerous and it increased the chance that militant Muslims may take over.

One More Step To Martial Law

Paras Indonesia (01/17/06)

By: Lian Gogali

For the full article, go to: Ambon Berdarah On-Line

“How are they going to catch the perpetrators if the government sent in the henchmen themselves?” asked a number of residents in the two most dangerous towns in Indonesia at the moment, Palu and Poso. But the government insisted on sending in TNI troops and even formed the Poso Security Task Force, followed by a Security Operation Command. Also on hand was the 88th Detachment that handled the second Bali bombings. The arrival of these elite military commands however was no reaction to the latest bombing. It was actually part of the implementation of the Presidential Decree No. 14/2005 on the comprehensive measures for Poso which was issued earlier on October 12, 2005. But could they bring order to Central Sulawesi ? Or would they make matters worse?

Like a bad recording, Central Sulawesi police repeatedly announce that those responsible for terrorising people in Poso and Palu are part of an organized group. They are not from the Christian side, nor Muslim. So who are they? To make things worse, on January 9 this year, the deployed soldiers, instead of securing the area, clashed with police officers. They cited personal sentiments among the armed personnel. Or could this be just a training for the Central Sulawesi people that they now share their homes with armed forces with various political and economic interests?

For the many peace workers in Poso in Palu, the presence of KOOPSKAM is more like a preconditioning before the government changed the civil emergency status into martial law in particularly Poso. In other words, it is remilitarization. Furthermore, the operation command also makes way to the possibility to establish a regional military command or KODAM in Palu, instead of the initially planned city of Manado . The concern is based on the degrading state of security in Poso and Palu, therefore legitimizing the flow in of troops. But again, people in this area continue to question the effectiveness of these troops. On January 10, five government offices were burnt to the ground just 50 meters from the District Military Command 1307 in Poso. Proximity to these command posts seems to have no effect on the security. In fact, military posts have boomed for the past years in Poso. Most of them are also in close distance to one another.

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