ABC AUSTRALIA, 28/04/2004 09:57:35
INDONESIA: Ambon tense after sectarian violence
The eastern Indonesian city of Ambon in the Maluku islands is reported to be tense
but calm after violence erupted on Sunday, claiming at least 30 lives. The bloodshed
is the worst in Ambon since a pact was signed two years ago.
MANDAGI: "There is calm in comparison to the situation yesterday. The people in
Ambon now they can move and work like the days before the violence."
LAM: So the violence I assume has been confined to Ambon city, it has not spread to
MANDAGI: "Yes, yes, luckily, the violence has not spread to other regions, and we,
the governor and the religious leaders or the community leaders here in Ambon try to
do our best that the violence just only existed in Ambon, does not spread to other
regions of Malukus."
LAM: There are 400 policemen I understand and two Indonesian army battalions in
Ambon. Do you think their presence has helped the situation?
MANDAGI: "To some extent it has to overcome the violence here to some extent, but
it depends how they act impartially here. So then I met the head of the police here
and the head of the military here, I told them that the presence of the military and
police and they should act impartially."
LAM: So the Malukus and indeed Ambon has been peaceful for the past two years. Is
the weekend's violence a setback for the reconciliation process in the Malukus do you
MANDAGI: "Yes, yes, we are so feel sad now because the peaceful situation already
goes forth two years and now violence comes again. We have to start again to create
LAM: But do you think the violence might have been caused by just a handful of
troublemakers, that most of the people on Malukus, both the Christians and the
Muslims that they want peace, that they want to live together in harmony?
MANDAGI: "Yes, yes, yes, the common people especially, they like to live in
harmony, but the point is to me there are still some groups either in Malukus or
outside Malukus, maybe from Jakarta, they try to create problems right here. Maybe
a political target, we don't know. But to me this violence organised, prepared before,
but luckily according to my feelings the people here, especially the common people
they like to be in peaceful situation, either Muslim community or Christian
LAM: What would you like Jakarta, what would you like the central government to do?
MANDAGI: "I hope the central government gives special concern for Malukus,
especially economically because due to the conflict for years people here
economically are down. They need to have jobs, they should have arrested those who
kill, those who burn the houses, and those who perform violence here, bringing them
Transcripts from programs "AM", "The World Today", "PM", the "7:30 Report" and
"Lateline" are created by an independent transcription service. The ABC does not
warrant the accuracy of the transcripts. ABC Online users are advised to listen to the
audio provided on this page to verify the accuracy of the transcripts.
28/04/2004 09:57:35 | ABC Radio Australia News
© 2001 Australian Broadcasting Corporation