Indonesia: Religious and Tribal Violence

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September 10, 2006: Violence is flared up in Central Sulawesi. Over the last few days, two bombs have gone off, killing two people. Police have also found a bomb making factory. Religious violence in the area has been suppressed, but tensions remain. The about half the population on the island is Christian, but the Moslem half has many Islamic radicals, who have urged attacks on the Christians, to force them to convert to Islam, or get out of the area. Christians have fought back.
September 9, 2006: In Aceh, a Moslem mob burned down a Christian church. Militant Moslems preach that any Moslem who converts be executed, according to Sharia (Islamic) law. Islamic conservatives are very powerful in Aceh, which may adopt Sharia law for everyone.
September 4, 2006: Australia has told East Timor it will not keep troops in police in East Timor indefinitely to maintain order, and that the people and government of East Timor must get their act together and take care of themselves. Australian public opinion is down on Melanesian unrest in the arc of countries north of Australia (East Timor, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands). These countries are unable to govern themselves, and are constantly asking Australia to come restore order and help rebuild infrastructure that the Melanesians have destroyed. While the Melanesians blame it on a culture still steeped in tribalism, and often just a few generations out of the stone age, the Australians are getting tired of paying for it, and not seeing much improvement, or personal responsibility, up north.
Indonesia has sent several hundred additional police to Papua, in an effort to halt spreading tribal warfare. There are about 250 tribes in Papua, but some of the larger ones are involved in the fighting, which is apparently over personal issues, and real estate.
September 3, 2006: Shots were fired at a mining operation in Papua, but no one was injured. There are rumors of another tribal uprising against the government by separatists. Meanwhile, there is a war between two (and, recently, three) tribes which has so far left a few dead, and nearly a hundred wounded. The fighting has been going on for about a month. Most of the weapons used are bows, knives and spears.
September 1, 2006: Major Alfredo Reinado, the former army commander and main rebel leader in East Timor, escaped from jail along with 56 other prisoners. Reinado has become something of a folk hero to the unemployed young men who have been causing most of the mayhem over the last year. Reinado called for continued "resistance", while counseling the lads to ease up on the boozing and spending more learning how to use computers. Australians, and many East Timorans, consider Reinado a self-promoting blowhard. The jail escape was followed by another outbreak of violence in the capital, which left at least eight wounded.

 

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