Ongoing clashes in C. Sulawesi leave administration baffled

from Jakarta Post
Published on 04 Dec 2012 View Original

Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post, Palu | Archipelago | Tue, December 04 2012, 10:00 AM

Clashes in Central Sulawesi are showing no signs of abating despite the continued peace talks facilitated by the government, community organizations and community figures, which seem impotent to stop the inter-village clashes.

Central Sulawesi Governor Longki Djanggola said the administration had made its utmost efforts, but the communities appeared unable to ignore provocation from parties that do not want peace in the province.

“In the past year, I actively made visits from one village to another to mix with the community. I urged them to stop fighting and become involved in village development together. They accepted what I expressed, but a few days later another clash broke out in another village. What’s behind this?” Longki said in Palu.

Longki acknowledged that the peace efforts might not address the actual root of the problem.

Longki once assembled residents of Sigi regency who were involved in a clash. They held a meeting in Polibu hall at the gubernatorial office and the governor asked them what it was that they really wanted.

They said they needed attention, and fair treatment and law enforcement.

“I hope parties experienced in conflict management can help us resolve the issue, which needs comprehensive handling,” he said.

Sigi Regent Asadin Randalembah said he had repeatedly made efforts to resolve the conflict in his regency, such as the last time when it was facilitated by the Alkhairaat, a security institution in eastern Indonesia.

“The peace meeting facilitated by Alkhairaat in a particular village was apparently effective, but then a clash broke out in another village,” said Aswadin.

According to him, the local slogan of belo rapovia belo rakava (doing good deeds today will result in good deeds later) is no longer heeded by residents. They have instead added the phrase bongi-bongi kita mosibaga (every night we fight).

“I suspect there is a grand design being prepared by particular parties to create a sense of insecurity among the community,” said Aswadin.

In Sigi regency, for instance in February 2012, a clash broke out between residents of neighboring Watunonju and Bora villages. Residents from both villages have family ties with each other. The situation calmed down at one point after the local administration brought both warring sides together in a peace meeting in the regency hall.

A month later, the fighting resumed, claiming the life of one resident and injuring dozens of others. The fighting continued until May 20.

The House of Regional Representatives’ conflict area caucus chairman M. Ichsan Loulembah told The Jakarta Post via email that there were two aspects that could be used in perceiving the conflicts involving people from the grassroots level in Central Sulawesi: sociohistorical and socioeconomy. This is associated with culture and level of prosperity.

He said there was no dominant ethnicity in the ethnic structure of the major Kaili tribe. He added that there was no dominant kingdoms of yore, unlike the Bone and Gowa kingdoms in South Sulawesi.

“An independent team of researchers, consisting of members of the provincial administration and police, must be formed to study the issue,” said Ichsan, who is also a founder of Sigi regency.