FKM defies Maluku authorities
The Jakarta Post April 12, 2003
Azis Tunny, The Jakarta Post, Ambon, Maluku
The Maluku Sovereignty Front (FKM), affiliated with the South Maluku Republic (RMS) separatist movement, said 2,500 supporters would raise the RMS flag in observance of the group's 54th anniversary on April 25, in defiance of the Maluku authorities.
FKM secretary-general Moses Tuanakota said the banned group had organized numerous activities across the province, including the raising of the RMS flag, to mark the independence movement's anniversary.
"In observing of the RMS' 54th anniversary, supporters and sympathizers will hold a flag-raising ceremony in our home village. As a consequence, 2,500 supporters of the RMS are ready to be shot dead or sent to jail for 20 years," he said during a press conference here on Friday.
Moses said the Indonesian government did not have the authority to bar the FKM and its supporters from celebrating the anniversary because the South Maluku Republic was registered with the United Nations.
"The Indonesian authorities cannot arrest and jail FKM supporters because, unlike the separatist movements in Aceh and Papua, we are fighting for our rights peacefully. Our struggle is a moral movement, not a violent one," he said.
Moses also challenged the government to bring the RMS issue to the UN, saying the two sides should allow the International Court of Justice decide whether the South Maluku Republic is legitimate.
"To prove the legal truth of the RMS' existence, the RMS issue should be brought to an international tribunal, not the Indonesian courts," he said.
Moses also handed out a leaflet in the regency of Central Maluku that called on people not to heed the government's ban on the anniversary celebrations. The leaflet also said Maluku was not part of the Indonesian unitary state.
Acting Maluku Governor Sinyo Harri Sarundayang warned FKM supporters against celebrating the RMS anniversary, saying security authorities would take action against those violating the ban.
Maj. Gen. Agustadi, chief of the Pattimura Military Command overseeing security in Maluku and North Maluku, also warned that security authorities would take action against anyone raising the RMS flag on April 25.
"I have ordered all security personnel to arrest those violating the ban. Both FKM and RMS are banned organizations and their supporters are prohibited from taking part in any political activities," he said after attending a meeting here on Friday.
He also said authorities were considering arresting Moses immediately for security reasons.
Agustadi repeated his warning to FKM supporters not to raise the RMS flag, saying that those violating the ban would be arrested and charged with subversion.
FKM Chairman Alex Manuputty was sentenced to three years in jail for subversion after being found guilty of inciting people to raise the RMS flag last April. He is appealing to Jakarta High Court.
Agustadi also warned the press against writing positive articles about the RMS, discrediting the government or printing provocative news about the separatist movement. He said the press should remain neutral.
All contents copyright © of The Jakarta Post.
MISNA - Missionary Service News Agency 15/4/2003
MOLUCCAS: ALERTNESS TOWARDS COMMEMORATION OF DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCY
A state of alert has been proclaimed in Ambon (administrative capital of the Moluccas archipelagos, Indonesia) in view of 25 April, when the 53 commemoration of the declaration of independency of the South Moluccas (RMS – Republik Maluku Selatan)will be celebrated).
The Christians with the support of the government of the ex Dutch colony 53 years ago, founded this political organism and fought for its independence from the rest of Indonesia, after being defeated.
Despite this, the Moluccans entered to form part of the Indonesian Republic, but up until today a Christian separatist movement has existed, the FKM (Front Kedaulatan Maluku - Self-government Front of the Moluccas).
Every year, in coincidence with the anniversary of the Southern Moluccas Republic, the activists of the FKM – not recognized by the local Church – try to brandish the flags of the RMS, a gesture which is punished with severity by the local authorities.
Fearing that similar episodes can reoccur this year, military and police forces from Ambon have already been put on alert. In particular, report local press, the attention is concentrated on the small Island of Haruku, east of Ambon, considered to be a real and true alcove of the separatists. In the past few days policemen and military soldiers were deployed to the area to carry out the necessary controls.
Meanwhile the Bishop of Ambon. Monsignor Petrus Canisius Mandagi, launched an appeal “to the entire population, including the religious leaders and laymen as well as the mass media, to collaborate with the local security forces to avoid the hoisting of the RMS flag”. Recalling of never ever having supported the RMS,
Bishop Mandagi specified that the Christians and their leaders are relentlessly accused of kindling and propagating RMS aspirations.
“In case there might be any RMS flag hoisting on or around next April 25th and it can be proved that it is done by a Christian, then it is on this person’s own responsibility, and in no way he may be considered to represent any of his fellow Christians”, said Bishop Mandagi. Nevertheless, the Christians and their lleaders are relentlessly accused of kindling and propagating RMS aspirations.
In case there might be any RMS flag hoisting on or around next April 25th and it can be proved th at it is done by a Christian, then it is on this person’s own responsibility, and in no way he may be considered to represent any of his fellow Christians.
This archipelago has been theatre to a conflict between Christians and Muslims that started in 1999 and officially ended in Spring of 2002. The Muslims accused the FKM of fomenting the hostilities and the Christians accused the guerrillas of the movement ‘Laskar Jihad’, which arrived in the the archipelagos in the year 2000 and departed in October last year.
In the past few months the leaders of FKM, Alex Manuputty and Semmy Waeleruny, were arrested and then transferred to the Indonesian capital Jakarta, where they shall serve a three-year jail sentence for subversion. Instead the leader of Laskar Jihad, Ja’afar Umar Thalib, was first incriminated and then absolved by every accusation last 30 January. [BP]
Copyright © MISNA
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