The Jakarta Post, April 02, 2004
Five men quizzed over fresh Poso attacks
Irvan NR and Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post, Palu/Poso, Central Sulawesi
Police said on Thursday they were questioning five men following attacks that killed a
reverend and an academic in the religiously divided regency of Poso, Central
Only one of the five men had been declared a suspect for his alleged involvement in
the shooting incidents last Tuesday, Poso's Police chief at the head of the
investigation Sr. Comr. M. Rum said.
Rum declined to name the possible suspects as the information might hinder the
security forces in their hunt for the other perpetrators.
However, Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Taufik Ridha identified a possible
suspect in the by his initial "R" and said he was of Arab descent. Police earlier said a
suspect of Arab descent was arrested on Tuesday for his alleged involvement in
attacking Rosia Pilongo, the 36-year old dean of the law faculty at Sintuwo Maroso
University (Unsimar), at her campus on Tuesday. She was badly injured but her health
was reportedly improving.
Hours earlier, a similar group of gunmen shot dead Reverend Freddy Wuisan in the
chest in Tomura village, Poso Posisir subdistrict.
The two shooting incidents followed Saturday's attack that killed a villager in Kawua,
Jhon Christian Tanalida.
Taufik said the number of suspects could increase, following reports from locals who
saw several gunmen in the incidents.
Rum said the perpetrators, two men on a motorbike, launched the attack on Rosia in
broad daylight, while the Unsimar campus was full of people.
Before injuring the dean, the gunmen fired two shots at a Mikrolet passenger minivan
but missed their target, Rum said quoting witnesses.
Taufik said the renewed attacks were aimed at trying to disrupt this year's general
elections or attempting to instigate fresh religious fighting by killing important
"That's the preliminary analysis," he added.
Peace was largely restored in Poso after local Muslim and Christian leaders signed a
government-brokered peace pact in 2001 to end two years of clashes from 2000,
which left some 2000 people dead and thousands others forced to flee.
But sporadic attacks later rocked the town occasionally, shattering peace and
Taufik called on local Muslims and Christians to remain calm and not to be provoked
by the renewed incidents into fresh fighting.
"I hope that local people will not be antagonized by such cheap provocations often
been made when residents begin to mingle with others (former rivals)," he said.
Meanwhile, police said security and order across Poso was under control, with no
reports of fresh violence following the latest shooting incidents.
However, the situation remained tense in certain areas with police and troops
remaining maintaining vehicle checkpoints in potential hotspots.
They will examine all vehicles traveling to Poso ahead of the April 5 legislative
All contents copyright © of The Jakarta Post.