Causes of Poso Strife

Oct 27th, 2006, in News, by

Some see the roots of the conflict in Poso as a struggle between militarism and democracy.

Radio Nederland recently talked to George Junus Aditjondro, the head of a group called Poso Centre. George says that the outbreaks of fighting, and periodic bombings and murders, which have plagued the religiously divided area of Central Sulawesi since the signing of a peace agreement in December 2001, a peace agreement brokered by the current vice-president of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, are not the result of sectarian or inter-communal hatreds between the common people of both faith groups, but rather are a conflict between terrorists and the people.

George Junus Aditjondro
George Junus Aditjondro.

He says that although the current targets of attack are members of the Christian community Christians do not view their Muslim neighbours, on the whole, as the source of the problem. Instead they see trained, professional men as the actors, whether from inside the security forces themselves, or from civilians who have received training from elements in the police and military.

Jusuf Kalla appears to agree with George, saying on several occasions recently that the makers of mischief in Poso were “terrorists”, likely the leftovers from past movements of Islamic jihadists, such as members of Laskar Jihad and similar groups from Java and Sumatra, into the area in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, men who just decided to stay on after the ceasefire but continue to cause trouble. Today Kalla went further and said the authorities even knew who they were, and shortly the police and army would “finish them”.

Jusuf Kalla
Jusuf Kalla.

George Junus Aditjondro however says that, although Kalla is right, the vice-president himself is to blame for being one of the people most enthusiastic about carrying out the executions of Fabianus Tibo, et al, last month. What’s more, says George, the more tenseness there is in Poso and the more security forces that are needed to guard the place, the more that businesses owned by Kalla’s family benefit.

What’s clear is that the escalation of the tension in Poso is to the benefit of Jusuf Kalla.
(Yang jelas dengan eskalasi ketegangan di Poso, yang untung juga Jusuf Kalla.)

George claims that Kalla’s business empire has recently opened a controversial hydro-electric power plant (PLTA) along the river that runs through Poso.

George goes on to say that the violence in Poso benefits certain groups and figures in the government and that therefore they have no wish to see an end to it. Police and military men, having lost their playgrounds in Aceh and East Timor, need Poso now for training purposes, he says, and for the search for profitable business opportunities.

Aside from military adventurists and profit seekers are those organisations and government officials who see endless ways of siphoning off the aid funds that inevitably come rushing into Poso after each outbreak of violence and destruction. The size of the aid money is no small matter – from 2000 to 2004 two hundred billion rupiah was earmarked in special relief funds for refugees in the area, but, George claims, only a quarter of this amount ever reached those in need.

Thirdly there are the large corporations, such as PT Bukaka Teknik Utama of Bogor, the builder of the aforementioned hydro plant, who benefit from strife, by bypassing all sorts of regulations, and many other smaller companies whose businesses thrive if there are large numbers of security forces in the area.

George also mentions the words of the murdered human rights activist Munir Said Thalib, who is supposed to have said that the sectarian conflict in Poso, and also in Ambon and Maluku, were simply means by which certain political and intelligence figures attempted to “fire up” radical Muslims in Java, energise them. If Muslims were seen to be under attack in Poso and Ambon, then radical Muslims on Java would deliver their payback by burning and closing down churches on Java.

Finally George says that the overall strategy of the military is to keep their special political role in the country. The more trouble there is in places such as Central Sulawesi, and recently in Nusa Tenggara Timur, the more the military are seen to be justified in interfering in political and other affairs. The real battle in Poso, he says, is not a localised conflict between Christians and Muslims, but is a national struggle between democracy and militarism.

Meanwhile Muhammadiyah chairman Dien Syamsuddin, who a commenter on this site pointed out recently is unable to keep his mouth closed for even a very brief period, it seems, believes that foreigners are at least partly to blame for the problems in Poso. He said on the 22nd that foreign aid organisations that were ostensibly in Poso to help with the economic recovery process were also likely to be trying to sow the seeds of hatred between Christians and Muslims, for unstated purposes. He urged the government to keep a close watch on them.

10 Comments on “Causes of Poso Strife”

  1. jack_hartawan says:

    Mostly Islamic people in Indonesia, isnt really understand Quran, they only can singing but do not know the meaning of Quran, so they always act emotionally and not make sense.

  2. Riccardo says:

    Where there are Muslims, there is trouble, violence and cowardly murders of schoolgirls. When they are Javanese Muslims, even more trouble….

  3. Fanglong says:

    Where there are men there are problems.
    Bad Muslims & bad Christians practice revenge for their personal interests, that’s all.
    Some chronology for Poso here :

    Can any one tell me why it’s impossible since one week to reach The Jaktarta Post website ? Have you got the same problem, saudara Patung ?

  4. David says:

    Can any one tell me why it’s impossible since one week to reach The Jaktarta Post website ? Have you got the same problem, saudara Patung ?

    I don’t know why Fanglong and it’s the same for me. Very peculiar.

  5. mat saleh says:

    The comments of George Aditjondro is really “eye opening” for more people! I am glad this site has this news. I cannot agree more on his opinion about Poso’s militarism that has many things to do with moolah. In Bahasa Indonesia, the acronym is called UUD (Ujung Ujungnya Duit) OR ALL IS ABOUT MONEY! WELL, SHAME ON YOU, JUSUF KALLA, MILITARY ROGUE ELEMENTS & BUSINESS BONANZAS WHO TAKE ADVANTAGE FROM THE DISPUTE AREAS INCLUDING POSO, EAST NUSA TENGGARA & MORE AND MORE AREAS IN INDONESIA!!! Business as usual! That’s all there is, as far as I am concerned regarding Indonesian Rogue Military Elements!!! Trigger a blatant conflict (be that religious, ethnic and other unexplainable-cause conflicts), supply with the weapons and trained military personnels and all of these keep the business running. And ka-ching sounds get even louder!!!

  6. Fanglong says:

    More & more convinced of the “lobby militaro-industriel” (to say it in French) which is invading the world, & of course good ol’ Indonesia. Some clever guys who don’t want to dirty their hands get all kinds of jobs done by all kinds of manipulated people, from charity mimics to suicide-bombings : clever scumbags remote-controlling dumb filthballs. I’m so sorry. Here in France it’s just the same : different words, same music. Puppets manipulating puppets : between single people things are all right ; mobs & states are the baddies.

    Yeah, I wonder what’s happening with the JP website…

    Wassalam !

  7. Fanglong says:

    Fatally endless hysterical rashes…

    I just wish peace to everyone !


  8. Riccardo says:

    According to this story just published by AKI news agency (and Fabio Scarpello), it says much the same thing, but names the companies that are being forced to pay protection money to the security forces…

  9. sawunggue says:

    It’s a common secret that military-bussiness-government elite is always behind all conflicts in Indonesia. It’s time for the people to be more critical and smarter not to emotionally response of any kind of provocations. No one in Indonesia wants violence and live in misery!

  10. Cheryl Hilario says:

    Let’s save our children from violence. Let not the evil of selfishness cover their eyes. Children are innocent but once they are taught by evil, used by evil, they could also be the nightmare of our children in the future. It’s just a cycle.
    What happened to violent, ruthless, selfish people before is happening to them now.What’s happening to them now will maybe cause harm in the future.

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