Joko Harmono reports in Christian Monitor that the situation of Christians in Indonesia has not improved since the Malino Accord of December 2001.
In fact, since then “there have been repeated provocative violations of the agreement. In January and February 2002 there were some promising signs that perhaps the Malino Accord could produce a lasting peace. Thousands of weapons, mainly hand-made, were handed in by both the Muslim and Christian communities and destroyed by the police.
“There were, however, serious concerns from the Christian community due to the absence of the organic or military issue weapons being handed in by the Laskar Jihad. Such weapons had been regularly seen being carried around the streets of Poso, during attacks on villages and even photographed at Jihad inspection posts on the main highway during November 2001. These concerns were well founded as attacks against the Christian community began again to increase throughout 2002 while the Christians now had no weapons, not even the simple hand-made ones they had used to defend themselves in 2001. Several attempts to smuggle weapons into the area by the Jihad were thwarted by the police, but how many succeeded in getting more weapons and munitions to the jihad forces?
“These repeated violations by the terrorists led to no significant arrests or imprisonments. At the same time, Rev. Damanik, leading an evacuation team to Mayumba and Peleru to help the Christian residents escape the brutal attacks on their homes, church and families, was arrested. It seemed strange that Rev. Damanik should be arrested while none of the terrorists attacking and looting the village, shooting at and killing villagers was arrested.
“The disturbing sequence of events witnessed in 2001 with the build up of jihad forces was repeated in 2002. It is even more disturbing to see the same pattern building up through 2003 and the Government’s resolve or ability to read what is going on must be seriously questioned.
“The first five months of 2003 were relatively quiet with no major incidents recorded that could be deemed to be a part of the ongoing attacks against the Christian community.
“As a result of the improving conditions, on May 28, 2003, the government ordered the withdrawal of 1,000 soldiers and police officers from the Central Sulawesi regency of Poso. Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Taufiq Ridha said the 1,000 security personnel were reinforcement troops sent to Poso to curb sectarian clashes between 1999 and 2002. ‘What’s important is that security in the former conflict zone is becoming better,’ Taufiq said. However, there was an immediate escalation of violence. Some have accused the security forces of complicity to prevent their early departure and to secure their ‘investments’ in the area.”
There is much more to this important report at the Christian Monitor site.