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  • » 10/17/2012, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Poso: missing policemen found dead, fears of new Christian-Muslim violence

    Mathias Hariyadi

    The agents were investigating a recent attack against a Christian government official. The bodies, which had stab wounds, were found in a hole near a Muslim extremist training site. A home-made explosive device exploded near a Protestant church.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The city is back in the limelight for acts of violence and terror probably related to Muslim extremism, this after years of relative calm following a peace accord signed in 2001 by radical Muslim groups and Protestant Christian movements.

    In the past few days, the port city in central Sulawesi has been the scene of attacks against Christian-owned buildings. Two missing policemen, who were investigating one recent attack, were found yesterday, stabbed to death, their bodies hurriedly buried.

    The two officers, Andi Safa and Sudirman, were from Poso Pesisir Precinct. They went missing about a week ago and their bodies showed signs of stab wounds to the neck.

    Central Sulawesi Police Chief Brigadier General Dewa Parsana confirmed that the two men were on a special mission investigating a recent bombing against the home of Okri Mamuaya, a local Christian government official.

    The attack, which occurred on 9 October, caused material damage, but no one was hurt or killed. Investigators believe Muslim extremists were involved, trying to reignite sectarian tensions in the area.

    Early indications suggest that the two agents were on the way back to their station when they went missing. Their bodies were only found yesterday.

    The murder occurred near the village of Masani, near Tamanjeka Forest, Poso Pesisir District, a popular training for paramilitary fighters associated with a radical Muslim group.

    For investigators, Jamaah Anshorut Tauhid (JAT) is behind the two men's death. Founded by Muslim leader Abu Bakar Baasyir, the radical group is now led by one Yasin.

    The 9 October attack against a local Christian official was followed by an explosion at a building near the Imanuel Taripa Protestant Church in East Pamona, Poso.

    Now law enforcement agencies fear that tensions might escalate and lead to open conflict between Muslims and Christians.

    Between 1999 and 2001, the Maluku Islands saw a bloody confrontation between Christians and Muslims. Thousands of people were killed and hundreds of churches and mosques were destroyed. Thousands of houses suffered the same fate. About half a million people were made homeless.

    Prompted by the central government, the two sides signed a truce in Malino, South Sulawesi, on 20 December 2001. The local population is evenly divided between Christians and Muslims.

    Still, episodes of terror have continued on and off with innocent people paying the price. In October 2005, three Christian girls on their way to school were decapitated by Muslim extremists, causing a sensation and outrage around the world.

     

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    See also

    08/11/2006 INDONESIA
    Men who beheaded three Christian schoolgirls were preparing a hundred more decapitations in Sulawesi
    Hasanuddin, the first man to go on trial, masterminded the gruesome crime and now faces the death penalty. In addition to three schoolgirls, he ordered his men to behead at least a hundred Christians in Poso as an act of revenge for Muslims killed in the 1999-2001 sectarian violence.

    06/02/2007 INDONESIA
    Sulawesi: Islamic schools used as arms arsenals for terrorists
    The police discovered an arsenal of homemade bombs in a madrassah of Poso. The bombs were similar to those found on the scene of attacks in Bali and Jakarta. The authorities believe violence in the area is “orchestrated from Java and Mindanao”.

    02/02/2007 INDONESIA
    Two most wanted terrorists arrested in Poso
    They are leaders of a group linked to Jemaah Islamiah, responsible for many violent attacks on Christians, including the murder of a female pastor and two Christian students in 2005.

    04/11/2006 INDONESIA
    Three men to be tried for Poso beheadings

    Charges have been filed against three men for involvement in the murder of three Christian girls in 2005. The court must now decide when the first hearing of their trial will be held.



    03/11/2005 INDONESIA
    Indonesians against the instigators of violence
    Despite the beheading of three girls in Poso, on the eve of Eid ul-Fitr people want peace, not vengeance from the Sulawesi to the Maluku Islands. Religious leaders call for brotherhood during the celebrations for the end of Ramadan.



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