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From: Islamic Human Rights <ihrc@dial.pipex.com>
To: ihrc@dial.pipex.com <ihrc@dial.pipex.com>
Date: Saturday, 8 January 2000 7:43
Subject: URGENT ALERT: Mass murder in Indonesia
Telephone (+44) 208 902 0888
Fax (+44) 208 902 0889
e-mail: ihrc@dial.pipex.com
web: http://www.ihrc.org
Mass murder in Indonesia
Date: 7th January 2000
Suggested Action
Please write to the Indonesian Ambassador in your country, and the President
of Indonesia c/o the Embassy, demanding that the state intervene
in the matter, and that those responsible be brought to justice.
(If you need a specimen letter please contact IHRC)
     38, Grosvenor Square
     Telp. : (44-171) 499-7661
     Fax.  : (44-171) 491-4993
For embassies in other countries, visit:
Courtesy Association of Muslim Lawyers
Another Bosnia Tragedy in Indonesia#
Republika*, Tuesday 4 January 2000
Three Villages Raided, Women Raped in Halmahera.
In a single night, 800 Muslims massacred
JAKARTA- The worst and the most heartbreaking human tragedy
has occurred in North Maluku on 28 December 1999. Not less
than 800 Muslim men in three villages in the district of
Tobelo, Halmahera, North Maluku Province were massacred in a
single night, while the women were raped in the streets.
Yesterday, Thamrin Amal Tomagola of the Faculty of Social and
Political Sciences, Indonesian University, said," I was
informed that some 80% of men living in three Muslim villages
of Tobelo were massacred. Mr. Tomagola, who is a sociologist
and was born in Galela, Halmahera, added that each of the
villages was inhabited by around 200 to 300 family units.
Therefore, the number of the Muslim men killed would be around
800. The massacre happened all of a sudden following social
tension which has been escalating in North Halmahera.
According to the Vice President of Assembly of Muslim Scholars
of Indonesia (Majelis Ulama Indonesia - MUI) H Adjit bin
Taher, since the tension sparked up on 26 December 1999,
nearly 2000 Muslims from Tobelo were killed and four mosques
burnt down, including Islamic Affair Offices (Kantor Urusan
Agama-KUA) and all buildings associated with Islam. "Muslim
women   were also raped in the streets," he said. In this
region, Muslims were indeed minority. Out of 50000  Tobelo
population, only 5000 are Muslims.
According to Thamrin, the indication that there would be
attack on the Muslims in Tobelo was noticed on 25 December
when there was a huge people gathering in Tobelo. The crowd
came from some districts in North Halmahera and Ternate and
the number reached about 10  to 20 thousands people.
Thamrin said that he did not know who provoked them to carry
out the attack. "For sure, on 26 December 1999, they did the
attack on the Muslim enclaves in the city of Tobelo after
[Ramadan] break fast," he told.
On 28 December 1999, he continued, a convoy of trucks laden
with people were roaming the streets. They were thought to
have come from groups of people who had celebrated Christmas
in Tobelo on 25 December. They came not only from three
districts in North Halmahera (namely Tobelo, Galela and
Jailolo) but also from Kao and Pidiwang districts as well as
Christians from Ternate who had sought refuge in Tobelo.
When the convoy was underway, he said, the convoy leader kept
agitating speech using a loud speaker mounted on the truck.
The mobs on the trucks did no action when passing through
Christian villages. But, he said, when coming to the Muslim
areas, the mass immediately got off the trucks and then poured
petrol on Muslims' houses before set on fire. "In this
situation, the inhabitants left the houses and went outside.
And they [the Christians] then slain the men," he said.
Apart from victimising Muslims, he added, the Christians also
attacked the residents of Chinese  origin. Both the Muslim and
Chinese people who were under attack run toward Jami Mosque in
Gamsuni Village  and any mosque in Dufa-Dufa village seeking
for refuge. Nonetheless, the Christian mass put the people
who were inside the mosques under their siege. "They  then
poured the mosques with petrol and burnt the   people inside
alive," he said.
Thamrin disclosed that since a sectarian conflict erupted in
Makian Malifut district on 18 August 1999, the death toll has
reached 2500 people. The tension that built up in North
Halmahera started when Christian community in Kao expelled
Muslim inhabitants of Makian Malifut from their villages to
Ternate Island.
The Muslims then took revenge by driving out Christian
inhabitants in Ternate who then took refuge in North Sulawesi
and in majority-majority areas of North Halmahera. The social
tension which has currently turned into inter-religious
clashes in the upper part of the northern region of Halmahera
island, Thamrin said, is the follow-up of the conflicts in
Makian Malifut district on 18 August.
At present, Thamrin said, the Muslims in North Halmahera were
besieged. They were driven out from Tobelo and Kao districts.
Only around 3000 people remains in Galela district, where
Muslims are majority, whereas some 5000 of the inhabitants
have  fled to Ternate. About 400 [Muslim] youths have
determined to defend Soa Siu City. "Apart from that,  Muslim
enclaves in Jaelolo district are currently  under siege by
Christians," he added.
The Indonesian Government and the National Commission  for
Human Rights (Komnas HAM): Too SluggishÉ!!!!!
Although the conflict in North Halmahera was extremely tragic,
with thousands of people dead, Thamrin sees the Government
being too slow in giving response. Indonesian Army (Tentara
National Indonesia-TNI), Thamrin admitted, reacted quickly by
sending additional troops from Malang, Solo and Madiun. But,
he continued, no real help from Government has been given to
deal with the social catastrophe in the region. "I have not
seen any proper coordination and arrangement  from the
Government. Indeed, the real aids came from local NGOs," said
Furthermore, Thamrin was also dismayed by Komnas HAM which was
less responsive with this extraordinary human right violation
in North Halmahera.
To illustrate the enormous scale of the human right violation,
Thamrin mentioned that the conflict has been going on for
about five months, yet the dead victims have reached 2500;
whereas Ambon conflict [which is relatively longer] caused
merely 1200 people  died. "Komnas HAM just came over during
the first  conflict on 18 August 1999, but they did not even
set  up a special team [to investigate the following]
conflicts on 26 November and end of December 1999," he  said.
>From the reports he continuously receives, Thamrin said that
hostility is still there despite of the deployment of
additional troops. Muslim mujahideen have now gathered around
the corridor regions of North Halmahera to launch a counter
attack. They came from Tidore, Ternate, Bacan, Sanana, Galela
and South Halmahera. "The Government must set up immediately a
special team for and investigate this grotesque human rights
violation. It has become a tragedy for humanity," he stressed.
Pangdam XVI/Pattimura (=the Army Chief for Maluku Province),
TNI Brigade General Max Tamaela, the Chief Commander for
restoring peace and public order, has    vowed to leave his
position if he cannot stop this prolonged bloodshed. "I am
ready to run the risk [of   being sacked from my position] as
a Pangdam [in my   effort] to stop this human tragedy," he
said in Ambon  this Monday.
The instruction letter of Kodal numbered TR/1291/1999, dated
28 December 1999 was implemented on the following Wednesday
morning, 29 December 1999. The letter mentioned that the
Indonesian Army Chief had granted permission to allow
additional troops when, based on evaluation in the field, the
personnel already deployed were felt insufficient to stop the
clashes and restore the peace and order.
"So, looking at the nature of the present conflicts, it seemed
necessary to crush the attackers, regardless who are they
since the facts have told that non-violence and negotiation
approaches are not welcomed by the two sides.
Meanwhile, Sultan Baabulah Airport in Ternate was closed
temporarily since Monday to anticipate any situation caused by
the series of sectarian conflicts that have occurred in North
Maluku since last week.

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