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Rumours of racial riots halt bus service to Pontianak

Unknown - February 3, 1997

Kuching (Sarawak, West Malaysia) – Local bus companies which ply between here and Pontianak in Kalimantan, Indonesia, have suspended operations out of concern for the safety of their employees and passengers following rumours of more riots there.

They stopped their services three days ago following reports by foreign new agencies that racial unrest erupted in West Kalimantan. Several thousand indigenous Dayak tribemen had apparently burned and looted scores of homes and stores belonging to settlers from the Indonesian island of Madura.

Another report had quoted residents in Pontianak as saying that soldiers were guarding churches after rumours of a tribal riot.

When contacted yesterday, an employee of Biaramas Express said the company suspended services to Pontianak two days ago, adding that other companies had done likewise.

Pontianak is a popular tourist destination for many Sarawakians.