Indonesia: National police deployed after clashes in Ambon kill 6

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AMBON, INDONESIA (BNO NEWS) — Indonesian National Police on Monday announced that it has deployed 400 personnel to the eastern island of Ambon, where riots broke out in its capital since Sunday.

National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo at Jakarta’s Merdeka Palace said police personnel had arrived in the eastern city of Ambon at around 4 a.m. local time to prevent violent and deadly riots to spread further in the region, the Antara news agency reported.


Communal clashes broke out in Ambon, which is part of Indonesia’s eastern province of Maluku, after a motorcycle taxi driver died. The incident remains unclear as some reports indicate that the driver, identified as Darmin Saiman, was killed during a traffic accident in the city. However, other reports said a text message began circulating among residents, explaining that he was attacked, tortured, and killed.

“The clashes were triggered by rumors that a victim named Darmin Saiman has been tortured to death where as in fact he died of a traffic accident,” Police Spokesman Inspector General Anton Bachrul Alam said, adding that the traffic accident occurred Saturday night in the Gunung Nona area of Ambon, in the Nusaniwe subdistrict. According to the spokesman, the taxi driver was helped by a local family, but he died while being taken to a hospital.

Shortly after Darmin’s funeral on Sunday, the news continued spreading and violent clashes broke out in Ambon’s Mangga Dua area. Reports said at least six people had been killed and at least 89 others have been injured, as clashes spread to Tanah Lapang Kecil and the Trikora crossroad areas where some vehicles were set on fire.

At least two of those killed have reportedly died from gunshot wounds, but Pradopo refused to comment on the number of fatalities, adding that the development of the incident remains uncertain and confusing. He explained that police are prioritizing the disarmament of residents carrying firearms and sharp weapons.

Some 400 police personnel have been deployed from Makassar, South Sulawesi to Ambon to help carry out security measures, as it is not far from the area. Despite the 400 additional national police personnel, Pradopo said the regional police, local government, and military have been in charge of handling the security.

Indonesia’s Chief Security Minister Djoko Suyanto called for peace and calm in the area, urging all sides to refrain from any sensitive religious, racial, ethnic and inter-group issues.

(Copyright 2011 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

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