President Yudhoyono orders investigation into "unscheduled dance"
ANTARA News 06/29/07 10:13
Ambon (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered security personnel to investigate an "unscheduled dance" which was allegedly performed by sympatisers of outlawed South Maluku Republic (RMS) on
the sidelines of the 14th National Family Day (Harganas) commemoration ceremony here on Friday.
"I want the performers of the dance be investigated," President Yudhoyono said after the dance was performed by some 30 persons.
At 10.30 a.m. after Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu gave his progress report in the Harganas event at Merdeka square, about 30 people, clad in Maluku traditional costume, came right out of the blue and performed "Cakalele dance" which was not sceduled by the committee.
Startled by such an "illegal activity," the head of state then said that if the dance was conducted with certain purposes, social and moral sanctions should be imposed against the perfomers.
"If the the dancers have certain purposes, there should be a resolute action against them," President Yudhoyono said, adding that he was informed earlier about possible illegal activity outside the agenda of Harganas committee.
After the unexpected activity, Pattimura Military Commander May. Gen Sudarmaidy Suandi, Maluku Police Chief Brig. Gen. Gatot Setiawan, and State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Chief Syamsir Siregar questioned around 15 members of the illegal dancers and found several RMS flags with them.
Earlier on Monday, Governor Ralahalu warned all public elements in Maluku province of not staging rallies or free speech forum during the commemoration of Harganas.
"I ask all public elements to make the commemoration of Harganas which is to be participated in by President Yudhoyono a success because it is a good momentum for the future of Maluku after the three-year social conflict in the province," Governor Ralahalu said on Monday.
Ralahalu pointed out that he had made a coordination with Pattimura Military Commander Maj. Gen. Sudarmaydi Soebandi and Maluku Police Chief Brig. Gen. Guntur Gatot Setyawan to take stern action against those who ever try to stage a rally or free speech forum during the event.
The governor made the warning following a statement
made by Maluku chapter of Indonesian National Youth Committee (KNPI) chairman Sam Latuconsina on a separate occasion that to stage a free speech forum was necessary.
"We are going to stage free speech forum and ask President Yudhoyono why the best figures of Maluku have no longer been appointed members of cabinet," Latuconsina said. (*)
Copyright © 2007 ANTARA
'Govt must purge separatism'
Jakarta Post July 01, 2007
Wahyoe Boedidharma, The Jakarta Post, Malang, Jakarta
The Indonesian government should take harsh action
against all separatist movements after a group of people tried to wave the South Maluku Republic (RMS) flag in front of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the Maluku provincial capital of Ambon on Friday, said Islamic leader Din Syamsuddin.
RMS is a separatist movement with Christianity as its base. In the Republic of Indonesia it is a criminal offense to show
support for any separatist movement. It is also a criminal offense to raise or wave in public a separatist flag -- even in a private home.
Chairman of the Muhammadiyah Islamic organization, Din Syamsuddin, said the RMS flag-waving incident was particularly pathetic because it took place during a presidential visit. "The government must take harsh actions against all separatist movements including RMS," Din said. "The government seems half-hearted about crushing RMS as it has allowed it to continue, disguised under other names."
"If the government maintains this approach, the separatist movement will continue to flourish and finally destroy our national unity." Din was in Malang to attend graduation day at the Malang Muhammadiyah University. He said the government's approach toward obvious separatism was
still weak but did not say the government's intermediary process was weak.
"There is no other way to purge separatist movements other than by taking legal action against them," he said. In Jakarta, Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Marshall Djoko Suyanto said the need for greater security arrangements during the presidential visit had been underestimated.
"We carried out an immediate evaluation Friday and we found carelessness as well as lack of anticipation or planned initiatives from security forces," Djoko said. He was accompanied by National Police chief Gen. Sutanto at a press conference covering the incident and said TNI and the police would carry out a thorough evaluation on the security system to ensure local administration officials had fully prepared for the visit. "We will scrutinize whether there has been coordination between local administration, police and TNI, how many personnel are being deployed and whether they had followed the standard procedure for a presidential visit," Djoko said. "This incident embarrassed the President especially as there were many foreign envoys present at the ceremony.
"It shouldn't have happened at all." Djoko said although the separatists were unarmed, they were carrying symbols of separatism. Sutanto said police had arrested 31 suspects and confiscated a flag and some documents. "We are also carrying out an internal evaluation with those directly responsible for security arrangements and those found guilty would be punished," he said. "There is a standard procedure for every VIP visit. "This accident would not have happened if officers followed the procedure." With regard to the police force's intelligence operation and its ability to identify and prevent such incidents, Sutanto said security forces were made aware of the possibility of a demonstration but they had underestimated those involved.
"They did all they could; however, the protesters posed as dancers," Sutanto said. "It is true that they were careless, but I don't think that they were not working at all." TNI's chief spokesman Rear Marshall Sagom Tamboen said he dismissed allegations TNI intelligence was getting weak. "We cannot see the function of the military intelligence as separated from other intelligence agencies," Sagom said. "The public just has to be patient and wait for an evaluation before passing judgment."
Indonesia arrests 31 after separatist protest
Hindustan Times Jakarta, July 01, 2007
Indonesian police have arrested 31 people after dancers staged a separatist protest in front of the president in restive Ambon last week, reports said on Sunday.
Acting Maluku police spokesman Djoko Susilo said that the 28 protestors plus three others were seized after the group danced in front of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and unfurled a separatist flag, Kompas newspaper said.
"We will resolve this case down to its very roots," Susilo said, as criticism of security forces for failing to prevent the incident mounted.
He reportedly said that the 31 suspects could face charges of conspiring to plot against the state, which carries up to 15 years in jail.
The protesters launched into their dance during a speech by the provincial governor at a ceremony in the Maluku capital of Ambon, where a separatist movement has simmered for decades.
They then pulled the banned flag of the South Maluku Republic (RMS) out of a traditional local drum.
Military chief Djoko Suyanto was quoted by the Media
Indonesia daily as saying that the incident had publicly embarrassed the president and an investigation into the security failure was underway.
The national military and police spokesmen could not immediately be reached.
The RMS was crushed by Jakarta shortly after it was declared in 1950, but the movement supporting it was revived after the fall of authoritarian president Suharto in 1998.
Ambon and other islands in the Maluku chain have also
been the scene of a sectarian conflict that has left more than 5,000 Christians and Muslims dead since January 1999.
Government-sponsored peace talks in 2002 failed to end the violence and sporadic clashes and tensions persist.
© Copyright 2007 Hindustan Times
Military investigating RMS incident
National News - Wednesday, July 04, 2007
M. Aziz Tunny, The Jakarta Post, Ambon
Pattimura Military Commander Maj. Gen. Sudarmaydi said in Ambon, Maluku, on Tuesday an internal investigation would be launched to determine whether military personnel were involved in the waving of a separatist flag in front of the President.
The investigation will be led by military officers and intelligence officers not involved with the team responsible for security during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's visit to Ambon last Friday to attend a ceremony for National Family Day.
"As a commander I'm the one who is the most responsible for the incident. Frankly speaking, carelessness on the part of my subordinates happened due to our lack of awareness," Sudarmaydi said during a hearing with members of the Maluku Legislative Council.
Supporters of the South Maluku Republic (RMS) separatist group rushed the field in Ambon where last Friday's ceremony was taking place and unfurled a banned RMS flag.
Sudarmaydi said the internal investigation was intended to uncover the security lapses that allowed the incident to occur.
"(We want to see) at which levels the carelessness happened -- whether at the level of the troop commander, sector
commander, security duty commander or myself. We were deceived ... but we'll evaluate it and for certain take stern action against the military personnel who was responsible in the field.
"We will report to the Indonesian Military commander and the Army chief of staff. Whatever decision they make, we will be ready to receive it."
Sudarmaydi said an investigation was also under way to determine who planned the action by the RMS activists.
"The leader of the intruders (who posed as cakalele dancers at the ceremony) entered the venue using an ID card. How could he get an ID card? This shows he did not act alone ... there must be others. The investigation will be handled by the police," he said.
At Tuesday's hearing Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu said he was ready to be investigated, as were those below him at the Maluku provincial administration.
"If civil servants were involved in the incident, strict
actions have to be taken against them in line with existing regulations," Ralahalu said.
He said police must determine who coordinated the event, including how the ID card used was obtained.
"It has to be checked who made (the card) ... whether it involves anyone in the administration."
Michael Rumandjak, who was in charge of issuing ID cards for the ceremony, said all of the cards were approved by the
local Binaya military office.
"All the approved ID cards gave the holders' names, except for the dancers, who were the responsibility of those in charge of the artistic side of the event," he said.
Maluku Legislative Council Speaker Richard Louhenapessy expressed concern that security personnel simply allowed the RMS activists to enter the venue, assuming they were late-arriving dancers.
"Security officers should have kept an eye on whoever was coming late to the ceremony. Why didn't this happen?"
Maluku Police chief Brig. Gen. Guntur Gatot Setyawan said
38 suspects had been detained over the incident.
"We're still investigating whether others were involved," he said.
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