Remembering the massacre at the Walisongo School in Poso.
On the seventh anniversary of the attack on Sintuwu Lemba village, otherwise called Kilo Nine, in Poso, Central Sulawesi hundreds of Muslims gathered at the Al Azhar mosque in Jakarta on May 28th 2007 and called on the government to improve the situation of refugees and victims of the 1998-2001 war and to rebuild the Wali Songo Muslim boarding school, which was destroyed in the attack at Kilo Nine in 2000.
On May 28th 2000 a Christian militia (which some believe was led by Catholic plantation worker Fabianus Tibo, who was executed in 2006) encircled Sintuwu Lemba, a village populated mainly by Javanese cacao farmer migrants. Some of the women were sexually assaulted and many of the villagers ran to the nearby Muslim boarding school, Pesantren Walisongo, to hide but were later found and hacked to death or shot. Some accounts of the massacre said that thirty-nine bodies were later discovered in three mass graves near the school, although Muslim sources have always claimed the total massacred was almost 200. hrw.org
Marking the occasion in Jakarta this week the leader of the Forum Umat Islam (FUI), Muhammad Al Khathath, called on the Minister for Religion to arrange for the rebuilding of the Wali Songo School, in an address titled "Remembering the Poso Walisongo Tragedy". Other figures in attendance were Abu Bakar Ba'asyir of the Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia (MMI), Habib Rizieq of the Front Pembela Islam (FPI), Ismail Yusanto of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), and Kholil Ridwan of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI).
Apart from the rebuilding of the school Al Khathath asked that refugees from the conflict be given the opportunity to return to their areas of origin, that the government apologise to the families of the victims and pay them 400 million rupiah (1000 dinars) compensation each, and that the police fully investigate the 16 Christian figures who were named by Tibo as responsible for organising the May 2000 attacks on Muslims in Poso. antara
In the past the anniversary of the Walisongo massacre has been sometimes marked by violence. The fifth anniversary, May 28th 2005, witnessed a bombing at a marketplace in the mainly Christian town of Tentena, Central Sulawesi, in which 23 people died.
The following video is a UK television report on Poso and in the early parts of it there is a brief scene of the Wali Songo School.