Tanah Runtuh Marches

Oct 31st, 2006, in News, by

The residents of Tanah Runtuh in Poso march to demand the withdrawal of outside police units from Poso, Central Sulawesi.

On the 30th a large rally of up to 4000 Muslims took place, organised by the Forum Silaturahmi Perjuangan Umat Islam Poso, and held to demand the withdrawal of police Mobile Brigade units (BKO) from Poso, and the withdrawal of four police generals and the disbanding of the fact-finding team of which they lead (Tim Pencari Fakta (TPF)). There was one report of shooting being heard during the rally. Detik

Muslim Women Protestors in Poso
Muslim Women Protestors in Poso.

The governor of Central Sulawesi province, Bandjela Paliudju, seems to support the demands of the protestors. He said today that there was a possibility that the Mobile Brigade special command would be withdrawn by next week. Media Indo

The force under the command of the BKO must be withdrawn immediately in order to prevent misunderstandings with the people which can lead to the situation getting out of hand.
(Pasukan di bawah kendali operasi (BKO) harus segera ditarik untuk menghindari kesalahpahaman dengan masyarakat yang bisa menimbulkan situasi memanas kembali.)

The rally was largely attended by residents of the Tanah Runtuh district of Poso, a mainly Muslim area, a place thought to be where many of the troublemakers in Central Sulawesi live and operate from. Tanah Runtuh is where, last week, a number of firefights and brawls erupted between residents and police, after the police had begun a house-to-house search operation. One person was killed, Syaifuddin. This event led to the holding of today’s demonstration.

A well known figure in Tanah Runtuh is Adnan Arsal, the head of the Forum Silaturahmi Perjuangan Umat Islam Poso, and the principal of the Amanah Islamic boarding school, in which about 120 children receive their education. Amanah has a similar reputation to that of another school, Al-Mukmin, in Ngruki, Central Java, which was founded by Abu Bakar Baasyir, for being a place of radicalism, with a number of graduates going on to commit terrorist crimes.

Adnan Arsal
Adnan Arsal.

Responding to charges that his school has become an organisational centre for militants and mujahidin Adnan Arsal says non:

This is just a school and orphanage.
(Kegiatan di sini untuk pesantren dan panti asuhan)

Whenever an “attack” occurs, presumably from the police, he says, residents have long been instructed to gather at the school, and thereafter receive instructions. Some say that during the last outbreak of violence gun shots were heard coming from the school. Adnan fiercely denies that the firing came from his own people.

Where would we get guns? It’s hard enough just to buy rice.
(Dari mana kami mendapatkan senjata. Mau beli beras saja susah.)

Adnan claims that some policemen had entered the school grounds, and it was from them that the gun shots emanated from. Liputan6

Meanwhile MMI, Mujahidin Council, chief Fauzan Al Anshori says that the general tenseness in Poso can be blamed on the upcoming visit in November to Indonesia by US president George Bush. The authorities in Jakarta want to score brownie points with Bush, by showing that they are tough on terrorism, the MMI man says. Gatra

The head of state intelligence agency, Badan Intelijen Negara (BIN), Syamsir Siregar, says that there are groups operating in Poso who do not have a basis in religious loyalties, whether Christian or Muslim. Such events as the murder of Christian pastor Irianto Kongkoli recently could be put down to the work of small radical groups who sought to create hatred among the people. However Syamsir Siregar did not elaborate on the possible motives of such groups, if religious feeling or identity were not a factor. (See Causes of Poso Strife.) Antara

Ja’far Umar Thalib, the former leader of the Laskar Jihad, seems to agree with the BIN head. He says religion no longer plays a role in the violence in Poso, rather there are certain groups who benefit if the area is not at peace. He did not support the demands of the Tanah Runtuh Muslims that the security forces leave the area, but rather that the police should work together with Poso people to solve the problems. Metrotv

Today police general Anton Bachrul Alam announced that fifteen men had been arrested, and that a further twenty-nine were being hunted, in connection with attacks in Palu and Poso. The men are said to come from two different groups, one in Tanah Runtuh, and another called Kaya Maya, or Kompak. Anton said that the men were arrested in connection with various crimes, beginnning in the murder of a Hindu man, I. Wayan Sumaryasa, in 2001, and continuing up to a robbery in Tomini village in 2006. Antara The names of the fifteen men are: Hasanudin, Abdul Haris, Irawanto, Ipong, Yusuf Asapa, Rahmat Djindra, and Sudirman, all from the Tanah Runtuh group; and from Kompak: Fadli Barsalim, Yusman Sahad, Syakur, Farid Ma’ruf, Iswadi Maraf, Rusli, Tawil and Ifet. L6

Meanwhile on the 29th a memorial service took place for the one-year anniversary of the schoolgirl beheading case in which three teenage girls, Alvita Poliwo, Theresia Morangkir, and Yarni Sambue, were beheaded by Muslim militants. The sole survivor of the attack, Noviana Malewa, attended. Three of the seven men responsible for the attack have been arrested, the identities of the other four are known but they are still on the run. Liputan6

4 Comments on “Tanah Runtuh Marches”

  1. Andrew says:

    If they didn’t have anything to hide, why should they be worried about the Brimob being there?

  2. Ismail says:

    offcourse Andrew, they have something to hide.

  3. Hassan says:

    because history had taught them, during the previous poso conflicts the police and brimob who were supposed to mediate the clashes turned out taking sides according to which religion they belonged. hence those police had only added to the problems there.


    andrew: read the “causes of poso strife“, that’s the reason why the local civilians doesn’t want the police or the military to intervene.

  4. Andrew says:

    asking the armed forces to leave won’t solve the issue; it might worsen the situation. Indonesians take matters in to their own hands nowadays, will the local police be able to handle that?

    whether they like it or not, justice needs to be served, even if that is harsh for them. and yes, when i say justice, it’s justice for everyone, not just for a particular group.

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