Search

 

Cablegate: Central Sulawesi: Post-Conflict Tentena and Poso -- Saving

VZCZCXRO4906
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJS #0085/01 3400333
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060333Z DEC 07
FM AMCONSUL SURABAYA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0124
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0056
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 0110
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 0127
RUEHC/USAID WASHDC
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 0054

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SURABAYA 000085

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, INR/EAP, DRL, EAP/PD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KPAO EAID SOCI PTER SCUL
SUBJECT: CENTRAL SULAWESI: POST-CONFLICT TENTENA AND POSO -- SAVING
A "LOST GENERATION"

REF: JAKARTA 2597, 2598, 3143

SURABAYA 00000085 001.2 OF 002


This message is sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: On December 3, Syaiful Anam and Amril Ngiode
were sentenced to 18 years and 15 years respectively for bombing
a market in Tentena on May 29, 2005. The bombing, which killed
22 and wounded 40, was only one horrifying episode during an
extended period of violent inter-religious conflict in Central
Sulawesi. Consulate General Surabaya Pol/Econ Officer and
Pol/Econ Assistant visited religious leaders in Poso and Tentena
in November to assess progress in ongoing efforts to recover
from more than eight years of violence. Muslim and Christian
leaders in both towns indicated that the hard work of recovery
is more critical than ever before. Officials at the new
Christian University in Tentena requested USG assistance to
develop higher educational standards. End Summary.

2. (SBU) During a November visit to Poso and Tentena, Surabaya
Pol/Econ Officer and Pol/Econ Assistant spoke extensively with
religious leaders, academics, NGOs, and government officials
about continuing efforts to help local communities recover from
years of inter-religious violence. As witnessed during our
September trip to Central Sulawesi (Jakarta 2597 and 2598),
residents are focused on rebuilding, reconciliation, and
development in an effort to eliminate the distrust and poverty
which allowed extremists to turn religious differences into
violence.

3. (SBU) The original Regency of Poso, once populated by roughly
equal numbers of Muslims and Christians, has now become three
separate regencies: Poso, Morowali and Tojo Una-Una. Poso
itself is now 22% Muslim, 71% Protestant and the remaining
roughly 7% Catholic, Hindu and Buddhist, according to figures
supplied by the Christian University in Tentena. Since 1998,
roughly 30% of the Poso Regency's population -- some 90,000
people -- have become refugees. Christians resettled largely in
Tentena, while Muslims in Palu and Parigi. Christian leaders
from the Christian Church of Central Sulawesi (GKST) in Tentena
told us that Muslims merchants had recently returned to the same
Tentena market that had been bombed in 2005. They felt this was
a clear indication of a changed atmosphere in Tentena, and
evidence that things were finally on the right track. Police
and religious leaders are focused on rooting out the sort of
extremists that have fed the conflict (Jakarta 3143).

Poso--A Focus on Development
---------------------------------

4. (SBU) Muslim leaders Yahya Mangun and Daeng Raja of the Poso
Ulama Council told us that while the situation in Poso was
currently good, they remained on guard against the arrival of
hardliners, like those from Java who previously incited
inter-religious conflict. The scorched walls of homes attacked
during the conflict were still visible, but many newer homes
were visible too in areas hard hit by violence. Mangun stressed
that while "billions of rupiah" had reached the region, a
foundation for long term development had yet to solidify. Poso
community leaders are focused on developing the agriculture and
tourism sectors, particularly ways to improve corn harvest
efficiency, (which is locally more profitable than cocoa
according to Daeng Raja). While the local government dreams of
large-scale investment down the road, interim success has been
achieved through the work of one local NGO, the Sayogya
Institute, which has successfully established a microfinance
program in Poso. During our visit to local villages, we met
with several beneficiaries who had started new businesses in the
previous year. One Muslim woman told us that the expert advisor
assigned to help her was Christian, and she had never had an
opportunity to interact so closely with someone of another faith
before. Thus the program did not merely help her family survive
economically, it gave her family a chance reassess its
preconceptions about people of other faiths and reduced the
potential for future violence.

New Religious Geography
---------------------------

5. (SBU) In late April 2007, President Yudhoyono visited a
number of religious institutions in Poso and Tentena and laid
the foundation for several new ones. He placed a cornerstone
for a new Islamic boarding school (pesantren), inspected
reconstruction efforts at a damaged mosque in Poso regency, and
laid the cornerstone of the Christian University of Tentena

SURABAYA 00000085 002.2 OF 002


(UNKRIT). The president pledged support for these diverse
institutions and stressed their symbolic importance in the
recovery of the province. Officials at UNKRIT told us that
their institution is not meant to serve only a Protestant
Christian population. They hope that more general academic
courses like English, computer science, economics and sociology
will attract students from various religious backgrounds and
speed reconciliation between Christian and Muslim populations.

A Request for US Help
------------------------

6. (SBU) UNKRIT officials described to us their plans to bolster
development of the Christian community and presented us with a
prospectus outlining their needs. Fearing a "lost generation"
of children and young adults in their refugee communities,
UNKRIT officials are working to expand their fledgling
university to serve the regency's new Christian majority. The
conflict has a continuing visible presence on campus; many
Christian refugees live in makeshift plywood and corrugated
steel housing on land now owned by the University. Refugees are
supposed to vacate these homes this year and move elsewhere.
UNKRIT officials are not certain what will happen because there
is no resettlement plan at present. University officials
requested US government assistance in training faculty,
providing scholarships for promising students, and installing
teleconference facilities so that they can begin a distance
education program with universities elsewhere in Indonesia and
around the world.
MCCLELLAND

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results

Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

Unsplash/ElevenPhotographs The US Capitol building in Washington D.C. A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>