An interesting, insightful article from Fabio:
INDONESIA: PRO-CHRISTIAN POLICE SOURCE OF TENSION IN POSO, SAYS MUSLIM LEADER
Jakarta, 24 Oct. (AKI) - One of the most influential leaders in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi, Adnan Arsal, has blamed the police in the province's strife-torn region of Poso for the rise in sectarian tensions between Christians and Muslims in the past weeks. "The police is interested in keeping the conflict alive and are here to terrorise us," said Arsal in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI). "If nothing changes in the next 24 hours, we Muslims will be forced to do something," he said.
AKI's interview with Arsal follows two days of violence in Poso city which has a majority Muslim population. According to reports in the local media, the police were attacked by an armed group while they were patroling the city on Monday night. The clashes led to the death of a young Muslim man.
According to Arsal however, 700 police officers had "invaded" the city, without giving any reason and were terrorising the citizens.
"It happened even in my pesantren [Islamic boarding school]," he said. "The police came, scared the children who ran away in panic. There were two deaths," said Arsal who had played a prominent role during the sectarian clashes in this part of Sulawesi between 1999 and 2001.
Arsal then added that the police were not neutral and supported the Christians in the area.
"The police continue to threaten Muslims but they never bother the Christians even if, sometimes, they are the ones responsible for burning cars," he said.
"It seems like the police are protecting the Christians," Arsal told AKI.
Contrary to most of Indonesia, where Muslims make up the majority of the population, in Central Sulawesi Christians and Muslims are numerically almost equal.
The three years of sectarian clashes, which led to the deaths of about 1,000 people was brought to an end when a peace deal was signed in the city of Malino in South Sulawesi in December 2001. Arsal was one of the signatories in this peace deal. Since then, the religious leaders have tried to heal the wounds but this has been difficult to do with the sporadic attacks that have kept the tension alive.
The situation was made worse after three Christians, Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva were executed by police firing squad on 22 September, after they were condemned for masterminding a series of attacks by a Christan mob on the Muslim community in the province in 2000 which killed more than 200 people.
Bomb attacks, the deaths of two Muslims at the hands of a group of Christians and the murder of a Protestant priest, Irianto Kongkoli, are just some of the recent signs of the rising tensions in the province.
According to a few analysts, it is possible that those behind the violence could be Muslim militias and terrorist groups who were sent to the area during the conflict and never left.