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'ABRI' not to withdraw 3,000 troops from W Kalimantan

Antara - February 17, 1997

Pontianak – The Tanjungpura Regional Military Commander, MayGen Namuri Anoem, said that he had no intention to withdraw around 3,000 personnel of the Armed Forces (ABRI) already deployed to the riot-stricken West Kalimantan.

"Even the overall situation in many regencies is under control,we still hope that ethnic riots could be immediately settled," he said here Saturday.

However, economic and traffic activities in many cities of the province have returned to normal. "Conflicting parties should settle their problems amicably and swiftly," he stressed after briefing a number of local authorities.

Indigenous Dayak community and migrants from Madura in some cities in the regencies of Mempawah and Ketapan, have been brought to a traditional peace talk.

Representatives from the clashing ethnic groups are now drafting a peace agreement to end the conflict that has rocked the province since December, daily Observer said.

"The peace committee is still working on it (the agreement), as certain cultural elements must be taken into consideration," said Kalimantan Governor Aspar Aswin.

Commander Anoem in his briefing stressed that an ethnic clash which had erupted recently was recorded as the fifth one.

The first ethnic riot broke out on August 6 and 9, 1977 in the regencies of Samalantan, Sambas, killing at least five people.

The second one was recorded on November 11-12, 1979 with a total death toll of 20 people.

The third occurred on November 20-23 on Ambawang river of Pontianak in 1983 with 12 people were reported killed in the incident.

The forth incident was what many people have known from newspaper whereas Sanggau Ledo is hit by ethnic riot on November 29,1996 up to January 1997, leaving around 12 people dead.

The fifth riot erupted in Siantan, the capital city of Pontianak which then expanded to regencies of Pontianak, Sanggau and Sambas with the bigger number of death toll.

In the meantime, local police chief Col Erwin Achman admitted that his office had arrrested about 68 rioters.

13 out of the arrestees deserved to be brought to court for their conpiration and plan to refuel and spark the riot, he said.

The police were reported to have confiscated the local people-made long rifles as evidents.

On the occasion, Commander Namuri Anoem promised to take a stern action against rioters.