12/17/2005, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Gus Dur urges President Susilo to intervene in Poso

by Benteng Reges

The Muslim leader described the special commission conducting the investigation as "useless" and said: "In Sulawesi, the conflict was not inter-religious, but orchestrated by someone who had specific interests there."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Gus Dur, a Muslim leader with a large following in Indonesia, yesterday called on President Susilo to take a direct hand in ongoing investigations into violence in central Sulawesi.

Abdurrahman Wahid – the real name Gus Dur, former president of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Indonesian Muslim organisation – described the special commission led by the Security Minister, Admiral Widodo, as "useless". He said the violence which broke out in Poso in 2000 had become "too important an argument, at national and international level, to be managed like this".

"The violence in Poso was not of an inter-religious nature," he said. "It was orchestrated by someone who had specific interests in the area. The population loses its faith in a government which is incapable of reacting to something like this. There is a time when enough is enough. I do not believe in special squads anymore. My patience has its limits."

The statement was made yesterday from the NU central office: Gus Dur spoke out after a visit from Reverend Rinaldy Damanik, president of the Synod of Churches in Central Sulawesi, and a Muslim, Adnan Arsal, chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood Forum in Poso.

The two religious leaders called once again for the revoking of the death sentence hanging over three Catholics defined as "fomenters of violence". "They are eye witnesses," they said. "They cannot die."

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