CRISIS CENTRE DIOCESE OF AMBOINA
Jalan Pattimura 32 - Ambon 97124 - Indonesia
Tel 0062 (0)911 342195 Fax 0062 (0)911 355337
Ambon, 20 December , 2000
THE SITUATION IN AMBON / MOLUCCAS - Report no. 112
- PRAYER AND FASTING - Yesterday the 21 christian denominations in Ambon held a
day of mourning, repentance and prayer. It was a day of fasting and abstinence,
abstaining also from daily work. A similar action had already earlier been done on
September 26, 2000.
- CORRECTION - Msgr.Mandagi MSC, Bishop of Amboina, informed us that during his
recent visit to Vatican City (see Report 111 no. 2), he did not meet the Pope personally,
he only met the Pope in general audience. Whom he met personally was the head of
the Congregation of the Evangelization ( Propagatio Fidei ), Cardinal Josep Tomko.
- MSGR. MANDAGI DEMANDS THE KESWUI CHRISTIANS TO BE FREED - On
December 18 Monseigneur P.C.Mandagi MSC, bishop of Amboina, went to the Sacred
Heart Church complex at Batugantung/Ambon to meet the recently freed christians from
Keswui. He declared to Suara Maluku newspaper that he insisted to both the local
government and the Indonesian government that immediate steps must be taken to free
those christians who are still being confined on Keswui and meanwhile have been forced
to embrace islam. If not, he will call out a fierce protest to the world. He said: "I have no
weapons but my moral influence, by which I will call on President Abdurrahman Wahid,
and if he does not heed this appeal, I will call on the United Nations and the international
community." He beseeched the endangered christians of Keswui not to be afraid to
inform everybody, including reporters, about what is happening to them.
- DETAILS ON INVESTIGATION IN KESWUI - In our Report 106, no. 2 we reported on
the result of the mission to Keswui of the first investigation team. It was sent there by
the governor and did investigation on December 9-10. The catholic priest who was with
the team, Fr. Ferry Binsasi SVD, on his return, declared:
- Having arrived at the village of Utta, the (former) christians were gathered on an
open space in the middle of the village, in order to answer the questioner. Of the
165 victims that were held in Utta, only 51 could be questioned. The others were
absent for whatever reason. (The questioner is to found in our Report 110, no.1).
- Next location was the village of Tanah Baru. The (former) christians were
gathered in one of the houses, in the presence of local leaders. Of the 311
people, only 98 could be questioned. The others were absent.
- The three other locations could not be visited due to lack of time.
- All victims said that they had become islam of their own free will. They also said
they did not wish to be evacuated from Keswui.
EVALUATION: The mission was to be considered a failure, because:
- The composition of the team was not proportional (5 muslims, 2 catholics, no
- The questioning of the (former) christians was not carried out in a secluded
location, their answers could be heard straight away by the muslim onlookers.
This, of course, hampered those questioned to answer freely. Apparently they
were frightened, which was obvious by the way they proffered their answers:
some answered while trembling all over, others answered in tears, others furtively
shot their eyes to the left and the right before answering, etc. They already knew
what on December 1st had happened to two protestant teachers, named
E.Rumatora and David Balubun, who had been abducted by the muslims and
consequently been killed in a neighbouring village because they had refused to
abjure their Christian religion.
- There had been no appropriate protection during the questioning.
- Only a minority of the victims had been questioned.
- It was then decided that a second investigation would be sent, which has taken
C. J.Böhm MSc,
Secretary of Crisis Centre Diocese of Amboina
Received via e-mail from : Crisis Centre Diocese of Amboina
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