Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Jakarta, Oct 31, 2012 (ANTARA) - At least 14 people were killed in a two-day clash, which was triggered by a trivial issue, involving inhabitants of several villages in Waypanji and Kalianda sub-districts, South Lampung district, Lampung province.
         The clash took place after two native Lampung girls from Agom village, Kalianda sub-district, were reportedly harassed by some young men of Balinese descent from Balinuraga village, Waypanji sub-district, on Sunday (October 28).

        The girls fell down from their bicycle and were injured. The incident led to hundreds of armed Agom villagers launching an attack on Balinuraga village.
          Four villagers were killed in the communal clash that broke out on Sunday. Despite the presence of police officers, the violence continued until Monday, claiming the lives of 10 more people.
         The Head of the South Lampung Police Resort, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Tatar Nugroho, said on Tuesday that the 10 bodies were found when police officers were combing the area¿s plantations and farmlands.
          Nine people were injured in the clash, he noted, adding that most of them sustained gunshot and stab wounds. He said a total of 116 houses, 11 motorcycles and two school buildings were set on fire during the clash. Two Isuzu Panther vans and a Honda CRV jeep were also destroyed.
         "We are still guarding the scene until security conditions return to normal," Tatar said.
         A spokesperson for Lampung provincial police office, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Sulistyaningsih, stated that security had been stepped up in and around the violence-hit villages.
        "Investigations are ongoing, particularly to find the masterminds behind the conflict," she said.
         Personnel from the National Police headquarters in Jakarta and the Banten provincial police office have been deployed in South Lampung to restore security, particularly in Waypanji sub-district.
          "1,500 personnel are stationed in the area. In such cases, everyone is on the alert," National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said.
         Earlier, Deputy Police Chief General Commissioner Nanan Sukarna visited the strife-torn villages in South Lampung district by helicopter on Tuesday. He inspected the State Police School in Kemiling, Bandarlampung, where at least 2,000 villagers, who fled from their homes during the communal clashes, have taken refuge.
         The Lampung health service authorities have deployed 25 doctors and paramedics to take care of the health of the refugees, particularly of women and children.
        "We have been on the alert since Monday evening. The paramedics will be available 24 hours a day," said Raihana, the head of Lampung health service office, in Bandarlampung on Tuesday.
         President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed concern over the violent clash in South Lampung before leaving for London on Tuesday.
        "All parties should play an active role in preventing conflicts among communities. It should not be solely left to the police and military personnel," he said.
       The head of state added that regional administrations and local communities must make joint efforts to prevent conflicts.
           Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto called on prominent local civil society figures to help prevent communal conflicts in their respective regions.
         "The point is that everything should not be left to the Indonesian Defence Forces (TNI) and the National Police. All prominent figures, local administrations, governors and district heads should participate in this," he said.
         National Police Chief Timur Pradopo stated that security officials have been deployed at the site of the clashes in Lampung to implement security measures and carry out investigation.
         Sharing Minister Suyanto's opinion, Pradopo also emphasized the importance of the roles of local prominent figures and regional governments in preventing conflicts.
         "However, legal enforcement will also be there to maintain security and order in the conflict-hit area," he added.
    The rector of Lampung-based Raden Intan Islamic University, Dr Mohammad Mukri, called on all parties to exercise self-restraint in order to end the violence in the area.
         "In any conflict concerning race and religion issues, everybody would lose," he said in Bandarlumpung while commenting on the violent clashes in South Lampung.
        He expressed deep concern over the communal violence in the area and offered his condolences to the families of victims.
        Mukri urged the government and security authorities to act quickly to stop the clash "lest the conflict expands into racial and religion one".
         "The authorities must prevent the conflict from spreading to other regions and invite local prominent figures to find a solution to the problem," he said.
         "Similar clashes had happened in the past because the native people and newcomers did not mingle and interact properly," the rector noted.
         "The seeds of conflicts have been there for long time and have been ignored so far," he added.
         Lampung Governor Sjahcroedin ZP expressed regret that South Lampung's villagers were "easily provoked to engage in violence".
         Earlier, in January this year, a violent clash had broken out between native South Lampung people and Balinese migrants.
         The conflict stopped after the Lampung governor intervened and played the mediator between the two conflicting ethnic groups. He later held a meeting in which a peace agreement was finally reached.
         Lampung security authorities have made no arrests so far, as they are focusing on mediation efforts in order to bring prominent figures of the two ethnic groups to the negotiating table. ***1***

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