‘Shoot on Sight’ Order in Ambon
– Martial Law Not to Be Imposed in Ambon
– A bloody Sunday shatters Ambon’s two years of peace
– Bishop Mandagi makes veiled accusations against Wiranto concerning violence
– Wiranto Denies Role in Ambon Conflict
– The Situation In Ambon / Moluccas – Report No. 427
– Ex-East Timor militia gang armed to teeth set to attack
‘Shoot on Sight’ Order in Ambon
April 30, 2004 11:58 PM
Laksamana.Net – Authorities have issued a shoot-on-sight order in Ambon, the
capital of Maluku province, in an effort to contain bloody religious clashes
that have claimed 38 lives over the past five days.
“The shoot-on-sight order will hopefully prevent the conflicting groups from
engaging in more clashes, including killings and arson,” Maluku Governor Karel
Albert Ralahalu was quoted as saying Friday (30/4/04) by state news agency
He said that under the order, any people – regardless of their religion – will
be shot if they are seen inciting unrest.
The governor further said security personnel were being deployed to locations
where snipers have shot paramilitary police and innocent people over recent
days. Police have also been ordered to conduct “sweeping operations” on houses
to look for weapons.
Ralahalu said he had decided on the tough new security measures after
consultation with the Pattimura Regional Military Command, Maluku Police and
the Maluku High Prosecutor’s Office.
Violence continued in Ambon on Friday, with reports of at least one person
killed and 18 others injured as gunfire, explosions and arson attacks continued
to rock parts of the city.
Antara said six people were injured, one of the fatally, when shootings and
explosions occurred at night in Wainitu neighborhood.
Agence France-Presse earlier reported that 13 people were taken to the Al-Fatah
Hospital with burns and injuries caused by home-made bomb explosions before
dawn after fighting in three neighborhoods: Tanah Lapang Kecil, Jalan Baru and
The unrest started on Sunday after Christian separatists from the Maluku
Sovereignty Front (FKM) staged a parade to celebrate the 54th anniversary of
the outlawed South Maluku Republic (RMS). Nationalist Muslims hurled stones and
verbal abuse at the separatists, sparking deadly clashes between the two
groups. Gunfire erupted and hundreds of buildings were torched as the chaos
Radical Islamic group Laskar Jihad on Tuesday vowed to send thousands of
fighters to Maluku if the government fails to contain the violence. The
military responded by saying said it would prevent them from traveling to Ambon
to inflame the situation.
About 9,000 residents of Ambon have fled their homes and moved to safer areas
since the conflict started on April 25, Maluku Social Affairs Office head Abdul
Rahim Uluputty said Friday (30/4/2004).
He emphasized the figure does not include people who still remain internally
displaced following sectarian violence in the Malukus over 1999-2002.
Most of the refugees are being sheltered in “safe” neighborhoods, public
buildings, a sports center and at the Al-Fatah Mosque, he added.
Uluputty said his office had 350 tons of rice to distribute to the refugees and
had started handing out 18 tons since Tuesday.
“But because of the uncertain security condition we have asked the military and
police to help with the distribution,” he was quoted as saying by detikcom
online news portal.
He also said his office was awaiting assistance from the central government but
none had arrived yet.
A team from the House of Representatives’ Commission I on defense and security
affairs on Friday visited Ambon to investigate the cause of the violence. The
legislators also urged the military and police to remain neutral and
Team leader Franky Kayhatu of parliament’s military/police faction described
the situation as an emergency and said the commission would later summon
Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) commander general Endriartono Sutarto and
National Police chief General Dai Bachtiar.
He also said the commission would not blame the ongoing violence solely on RMS
supporters. “I’m certain the Ambonese will be angry if they are collectively
described as RMS.”
Kayhatu said the FKM/RMS consists of only a handful of people who should be
dealt with in line with prevailing laws. “Let’s entrust the upholders of the
law to deal with the problem. We should not personally play the role of
Meanwhile, Maluku High Prosecutor’s Office head Misri Djinin said cases were
being prepared against FKM/RMS supporters arrested after the initial violence.
He said the suspects may have to be tried in Jakarta if peace is not restored
More than 30 people, mostly Christians, have been arrested in connection with
Acting Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Hari Sabarno
has said the leaders of the separatists would be flown to Jakarta for
Imagine No Religion
Religious Affairs Minister Said Agil Al-Munawar, speaking in Cairo on Thursday,
said the Ambon violence was not sparked by a religious dispute but was due to
separatists campaigning for the secession of Maluku from Indonesia.
“The Ambon riot was not religiously motivated. It was purely triggered by the
act of a separatist group in Indonesia’s Maluku province,” he was quoted as
saying by Antara.
He urged all parties to exercise self-restraint and said the government was
trying to prevent the violence from spreading.
The minister had arrived in Egypt on April 27 to attend the 16th International
Islamic Conference. He returned to Jakarta on Friday.
Martial Law Not to Be Imposed in Ambon
Saturday, 01 May, 2004 | 00:56 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:The Indonesian Government has decided not to impose
martial law status in Ambon following the conflict that is currently taking
place in the city.
Minister of Home Affairs and ad interim Coordinating Minister for Political and
Security Affairs Hari Sabarno said that such a change of the status required
time and could not be imposed just like that.
“Actually, what people in Ambon need is to feel secure, peaceful and fair.
Changing the status of Ambon will not automatically provide this,” said Sabarno
following a coordination meeting on political and security affairs in Jakarta
on Thursday (29/4).
According to Sabarno, the most important thing now is to enforce the law and
settle the conflict.
The government has therefore deployed four police companies as well as two
Indonesian Military (TNI) battalions and also sent Sinjo Harry Sarundayang as
the liaison officer between the central and Maluku governments.
TNI chief Gen. Endriartono Sutarto has instructed XVI Pattimura Military chief
Maj. Gen. Syarifuddin Summah to shoot dead all snipers seen in Ambon.
“They have shot people. So, we have to shoot them back if we meet them,”
He added that the TNI would prevent the Laskar Jihad from entering Ambon.
In the cabinet meeting held on Thursday (29/4), the government also decided
that questioning regarding the Maluku Sovereignty Front (FKM) and South Maluku
Republic (RMS) will be conducted in Jakarta.
So far, the Maluku Police have arrested 32 suspected FKM/RMS supporters,
including the FKM executive secretary-general, Moses Tuanakota.
The situation in Ambon on Thursday (29/4) was still tense following shooting
and explosions that led to an increase in the number of victims.
However, in general, the situation has improved a little bit compared to the
first days of the conflict.
— (Yandhrie Arvian/Fajar WH/Deddy Sinaga/Mochtar Touwe/Yusnita-Koran Tempo)
Sydney Morning Herald
A bloody Sunday shatters Ambon’s two years of peace
May 1, 2004
— The outbreak of violence is being blamed on the military, writes Matthew
Moore, who visited Ambon this week.
On the drive from the airport towards the smouldering town of Ambon, you pass
the only place on this lush tropical island where Christians and Muslims are
not trying to kill each other.
In the town of Wayame a thousand families of both religions live in houses
shuffled together with no regard to faith.
Since 1999, when Ambon in remote eastern Indonesia was consumed by three years
of bitter religious turmoil, Wayame has fought to be different.
Its Muslim and Christian communities valued the good relations they’d always
enjoyed and charged a group of 20 respected leaders with keeping the town free
of the sectarian violence that killed 5000 Ambonese.
For five years, groups of Muslims turned up every Sunday to clean the church.
On Fridays Christians did the same at the mosque just 100 metres away. At
night, Christians and Muslims guarded the town.
A few months back, the committee was disbanded, the cleaning rituals stopped
and the guards stayed home, such was their confidence.
The same confidence was seen across the island. For two years a peace deal had
stuck, guns had gone and rebuilding was under way everywhere.
Sunday changed everything.
Sunday was April 25, the 54th anniversary of the ill-fated proclamation of the
Republic of Maluku as a separate state from the new nation of Indonesia.
A march by supporters of the tiny independence movement called Republic of
South Maluku (RMS) turned violent when mainly Christian marchers and mainly
Muslim onlookers pelted each other with rocks and abuse.
Hendrik Maruanaya was in his new house cooking lunch when he heard a roar he
thought was the local kids playing soccer.
“I went outside and a group of people were running towards me throwing stones,
carrying machetes and shouting,” said the English lecturer from the State
Within minutes, his recently built house was looted and torched.
It was the second time Maruanaya’s house had been burnt by a Muslim mob.
Hundreds of other houses went up that afternoon along with the United Nations
and other aid offices and the Christian University.
Since Sunday, sniper fire, machete attacks and shrapnel-packed home-made bombs
have killed more than 35 people, mostly Muslims, and left five times as many
Within hours roadblocks divided the two communities and the sleepy seaside town
became a patchwork of unmarked borders separating Christian and Muslims. The
road to the airport was cut. A speedboat, followed by a walk through the hills
out of sniper range, is the only safe way to town.
Young men hide in burnt houses at the front line using slingshots to lob
homemade bombs at people they would have shared jokes with less than a week
ago. Everyone is stunned by what has happened, and many believe the security
forces are fuelling the mayhem.
Thamrin Amal Tomagola, a University of Indonesia lecturer and Ambon expert,
believes the sudden uprising is linked to the presidential elections in nine
The leading team, former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and vice-presidential
candidate Yusuf Kalla, were both involved in negotiating the peace deal which
ended Ambon’s conflict.
Their main rival, former General Wiranto, has campaigned on Indonesia’s need
for a strong leader like him to control breakdowns in security.
Maruanaya says members of the military provoked the conflict because the
violence was so sudden.
Ambon’s Bishop Mandagi said a very dangerous development was how Christians,
who make up half Ambon’s population, were now being portrayed as supporters of
RMS and independence.
Athough most experts say RMS has a membership of just 200-300, Christians are
increasingly characterised as separatists.
30 April, 2004
Bishop Mandagi makes veiled accusations against Wiranto concerning violence in
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Behind all the episodes of religious clashes on the
Moluccas Islands, there is the sly craftwork of “certain presidential
candidates” helping to step up violence to promote “their own political
interests”, said Msgr. Peter Canisius Mandagi, bishop of Amboina, when speaking
to journalists about prolonged conflict in the capital of the Southern Moluccas
Speaking in Batu Meja, in the center of Ambon, the bishop said: “Such
politicians are interested in gaining popularity among the people of Ambon and
use conflict as part of their strategy.”
Creating this situation, the prelate added, people then are forced to choose a
presidential candidate with a stable past and long military experience, capable
of guaranteeing security amongst the population.
The bishop said that “conflict (in the Moluccas) risks influencing the
collective interests prior to the July 5 presidential elections
use violence as means of heightening people’s emotions.”
Some observers say Bishop Mandagi was referring to former army general Wiranto,
a presidential candidate running under the Golkar party ticket.
Many analysts believe that Wiranto is linked to the Islamic Defenders Group, an
organization that attacked students during pro-democracy demonstrations in
1998. He is also blamed for conflict that erupted upon the referendum launched
for East Timor’s independence and fostering religious conflict in Jakarta in
1998 and the Moluccas in 1999.
After the fall of the Suharto regime, the country’s birth of democracy led to a
decline in the army’s influence in the national government and economy.
Army spokesman, Major General Sjafrie Samsoedin, refused to comment on
Mandagi’s words while speaking at a special press conference held in Jakarta.
Yet while referring to Wiranto (without mentioning his name), he said: “We can
do nothing about the interference of certain presidential candidates in
outbreaks of fighting in Ambon, since –despite being (military) generals in the
past – they are no longer in charge of the army.”
Samsoedin added that the TNI (Indonesia’s national armed guard) does not want
to interfere anymore in politics. “The TNI is merely the country’s means to
maintain security and we don’t want to get involved in political agendas. If we
do, we risk casting a poor light on the TNI.”
Wiranto, however, issued his own comment: “Firing accusations at presidential
candidates, especially when Ambon is in such difficulty, is very, very
dangerous.” Wiranto said these words while at a Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) meeting.
NU is the most widespread Islamic organization, whose leader KH Hasym Muzadi,
the Golkar Party wants to nominate as Wiranto’s vice-presidential running mate.
According Wiranto, regarding what has been said about the involvement of
presidential candidates in Moluccas violence, “this is all a big lie”. “I hope
that nothing more will be said,” he concluded.
Wiranto Denies Role in Ambon Conflict
April 30, 2004 09:03 PM
Laksamana.Net – Presidential aspirant/former military commander Wiranto has
strongly denied rumors the deadly religious conflict in Ambon, Maluku province,
was masterminded by one of the contestants in the upcoming July 5 presidential
“These rumors are very dangerous, even more so given the current conditions in
Ambon city, which could easily cause people to jump to conclusions,” the
retired general was quoted as saying Friday (30/4/04) by detikcom online news
At least 37 people have been killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians
in Ambon since April 25, sparking fears of a return to sectarian violence that
left about 6,000 people dead in the Maluku islands between 1999-2002.
Analysts blamed much of the past carnage in the Malukus on provocateurs,
including radical Islamic group Laskar Jihad and military officers loyal to ex-
Wiranto, who was earlier this month selected as Golkar Party’s candidate for
the July presidential election, has promised to deal firmly with security
Analysts say the latest Ambon violence could further Wiranto’s popularity,
while reducing support for his rival presidential candidate, former chief
security minister/retired general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Yudhoyono and his running mate, former welfare minister Yusuf Kalla, played a
key role in drafting a 2002 Maluku peace accord. The two also designed a peace
treaty that helped to significantly curb religious violence in Central Sulawesi
Wiranto, speaking to reporters after a meeting with Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Muslim
organization leader Hasyim Muzadi, said the rumors that rivalry between
presidential candidates had sparked the Ambon riots were false and must be
“No one with a conscience could have carried out such engineering to damage the
peace of Ambon,” he said.
“All parties should not blow such rumors out of proportion to discredit a
presidential candidate, whoever the candidate may be. This must not become a
polemic that leads to slander, especially when the law enforcement situation
remains weak,” he added.
Bishop Blames Elite
Bishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi, head of the Catholic Church in Ambon, made the
allegation that political rivalries in Jakarta may have sparked the Maluku
The bishop on Friday said he believed one of the presidential candidates might
have masterminded the conflict as a strategy to boost his popularity.
“It’s possible he had the desire to look for popularity by using the Maluku
conflict as his strategy,” he was quoted as saying by detikcom.
He said the mastermind had used extremely violent methods to strike fear into
the hearts of the people, which would prompt them to choose a presidential
candidate deemed strong and capable of restoring peace.
“I had predicted things would be like this,” said the bishop, who has also
blamed the 1999-2002 Maluku carnage on a “diabolical conspiracy” by elements of
the government and military.
Mandagi declined to name the alleged mastermind of the latest violence, saying
he had no hard legal evidence and did not want to make the public become
prejudiced against presidential candidates from the military.
The bishop also said he was unwilling to create a dichotomy between the
military and the public. “I do not want to create such a condition,” he
However, he said “proof” of the conspiracy was that a certain presidential
candidate’s “accomplices” had recently flown to Maluku.
The Ambon violence started on April 25 after Christian separatists from the
Maluku Sovereignty Front (FKM) staged a parade to celebrate the 54th
anniversary of the outlawed South Maluku Republic (RMS).
A crowd of Muslim nationalists responded to the parade by hurling stones and
verbal abuse at the separatists, sparking deadly clashes between the two
religious communities. Hundreds of buildings have since been torched and
unidentified snipers on tall buildings have killed several people.
Mandagi urged the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and National Police to take
harsh action against the FKM/RMS separatists in line with the law. “They must
be dealt with in line with prevailing laws, otherwise there will be no respect
for the law in Indonesia,” he said.
TNI spokesman Sjafrie Sjamsuddin on Friday declined to comment on the rumors
that a presidential candidate with a military background had engineered the
“TNI will not respond to that because TNI is an instrument of the state. We do
not want to enter the political arena or TNI could be destroyed,” he told
reporters at military headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.
“We do not engage in politics, so the military cannot respond to the matter of
rumors about the involvement of an ex-military presidential candidate,” he
Sjafrie further pointed out that TNI’s leadership is only responsible for
serving officers, not for those who have retired and become civilians.
Military Denies Fanning Unrest
TNI on Thursday dismissed allegations that troops were involved in an arson
attack on a church in Ambon.
Reports said soldiers from the Army’s Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) had
on Tuesday night warned residents to evacuate the Nazareth Christian church in
Ambon’s Karang Panjang neighborhood, just moments before the building was set
ablaze by unidentified assailants.
Responding to the reports, Ambon’s military commander Colonel Tony Husodo
said: “Soldiers were in no way involved in that attack.”
“There are no TNI traitors. There was nothing. We did the investigation on the
day it happened,” he was quoted as saying in a report by The Australian daily.
The report cited an unnamed witness as saying soldiers from Kostrad 413 had
initially promised to protect the church but then asked everyone sheltering
inside to leave.
Husodo said the allegation was baseless because it had not been proved in a
court. “If we want to think rationally, why would TNI come here just to destroy
churches and houses of religion? We were not indoctrinated, trained and
educated for that.”
Asked why civilians would lie about such a matter, Husodo said it was because
they were poorly educated.
Crisis Centre Diocese Of Amboina
Jalan Pattimura 32 – Ambon 97124 – Indonesia
Tel 0062 (0)911 342195 Fax 0062 (0)911 355337
E-mail crisiscentre01 at hotmail.com / puspaskup at yahoo.co.uk
Ambon, April 30, 2004
The Situation In Ambon / Moluccas – Report No. 427
1. MUI Secretary On The Conflict – Muslim Clerics Council (MUI) secretary Nasir
Rahawarin declared: “The situation is critical. I’m afraid that this is going
to continue. The security forces are not reacting quickly enough.” Mr.
Rahawarin said if security forces failed to control the violence it could
spread, with hardliners from both sides forming well-armed militia, just as
they did three years ago. “There are many youths who have no established way of
living, they have no work, no money and it is very easy to mobilise them,” he
said. Both Muslim and Christian leaders say that the conflict was ignited by a
small number of radicals from both sides, and that most people just want peace.
2. Puan Maharani Comes With A Message From Megawati – President Megawati
Soekarnoputri’s youngest daughter, Puas Maharani, came to Ambon yesterday on a
humanitarian mission and in order to send a message of comfort from her mother,
Megawati, to the citizens of Ambon city. She visited the Al’Fatah hospital and
Bhakti Rahayu hospital and refugees sites of both communities.
3. Nocturnal Fighting – Once again the neighbourhoods of Tanah Lapang Kecil
(“Talake”) and Waringin became the targets of criminals and terrorists. The
attack was launched at 01.00 a.m. this morning and went on until dawn. Several
dozens of houses opposite the Rehoboth Church were destroyed by fire. There are
no reports of any casualities. Many people assure and testify that in most
Muslim attacks regular soldiers are involved – also that it was them that
burned down the Nazareth Church the day before yesterday. Time and again
Christians, either in small groups or big crowds, go up to police headquarters
demanding that soldiers from outside Ambon be withdrawn.
4. U.N. Personnel Withdrawn From Ambon – Following the burning of the Moluccas
HQ of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(UN OCHA) at the start of the conflict last Sunday, all UN personnel have been
withdrawn from the Moluccas. Though for the time being outside the Moluccas,
nevertheless there will be some coordination of activities in cooperation with
the local government, thus was said in a press release by Laksamita Noviera
from the OCHA Information and Advocacy Department.
5. Various Shortages – Due to blocked roads and vanished shared markets,
shortages emerge in various fields. Hundreds of traders in Mardika/Amans
market, considered a neutral area, have now moved to other markets in their own
communities: Muslim traders moved to Batumerah, while Christian traders shifted
their activities to the Batumeja and Batugajah roadsides. Most conspicuous is
the lack of petrol for cooking stoves: people have to wait in long queues for
some bottles of petrol, of which the price has gone up drastically. Also the
supply of cooking oil, vegetables and fish is restricted. Stocks of rice and
noodles, too, within short will be done with.
6. Persisting Rumours On Arrival Of Muslim Warriors – Though probably untrue,
however, people, especially the Christian community, are terrified by rumours
that 12.000 Laskar Jihad warriors should have left Java for Ambon. Authorities
assure that – if this should be true – these warriors will not be permitted to
disembark in Ambon (L’ histoire se répète: these and similar songs were also
sung four years ago, without being implemented).
C.J. Böhm msc
Crisis Centre Diocese of Amboina
The Jakarta Post.com
May 01, 2004
Ex-East Timor militia gang armed to teeth set to attack
Yemris Fointuna, Kupang
A joint military and police force in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) are keeping a
watch on pro-Indonesia militiamen suspected of attempting to create chaos in
neighboring East Timor.
The militia are hoarding thousands of firearms, grenades and ammunition in NTT
territory bordering East Timor, the Indonesian Military (TNI) said on Friday.
“There is the intention on the part of militia to create chaos in Timor Leste
(East Timor). They still have many guns buried in border areas,” said Wirasakti
161 military commander Col. Moeswarno Moesanip overseeing security in NTT
He said soldiers and paramilitary Mobile Brigade police stationed in the border
area were intensively monitoring the activities of around 20 militia leaders
and members reported to be gathering there.
The men often smuggle Indonesian goods into East Timor, while studying security
conditions in the newly born country, Moesanip said, quoting TNI intelligence
It was not clear why the militiamen were not immediately arrested when it was
discovered they were smuggling goods into East Timor.
Why nor Moesanip divulged the plans of the pro-Jakarta militia group to launch
an attack on East Timor, instead of keeping them secret to search for their
guns and arrest them was not clear.
It had widely been reported earlier that the TNI hired militiamen to help
soldiers challenge independence fighters in East Timor during Indonesia’s
occupation of the territory between 1970 and 1999.
The military-backed militia were blamed for the rampage that followed East
Timor’s vote for independence in August 1999. Only a number of militia leaders
were jailed for the mayhem, while senior TNI officers who were then responsible
for security in the territory remained free.
However, Moesanip refuted claims that the TNI and police backed militia to
destabilize East Timor, and vowed to shoot them on sight should they perpetrate
new violence there.
The most effective measure to prevent militia attacks, according to him, would
be to reopen the three traditional markets in the NTT-East Timor border area,
which were closed after a shooting incident last year.
“The Timor Leste government should support the reopening of the three legal
markets, so the activities of traders including militiamen can be controlled,”
Otherwise, illegal markets would increase and security forces would be unable
to curb militia activities at border areas, he added.
Moesanip said the East Timor authorities were worried about increasing militia
operations at border areas ahead of the pullout of the United Nation
Peacekeeping Force from the neighboring country, which is scheduled for early
With the planned UN withdrawal threats of militia attacks in East Timor have