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86 held after latest W Kalimantan clashes

Agence France Presse - February 21, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian military arrested 86 people following the latest ethnic clashes in West Kalimantan province, which remains tense after almost two months of unrest that has left hundreds dead, reports and sources said yesterday.

The latest clash erupted on Tuesday in Sungai Kunyit, some 60 km north-west of the provincial capital of Pontianak, between the indigenous Dayak people and migrants from Madura, an island north of Java.

The Merdeka daily reported the military arrested 86 people over the Sungai Kunyit unrest, in which 107 houses were torched, forcing more than 1,000 people to flee to other areas.

Security forces also confiscated 21 muskets and 96 bladed weapons, the daily said, adding that 12 of those detained were being questioned by the military while the rest were in police detention.

Sources in the area on Wednesday said dozens of people may have died in the Sungai Kunyit incident, with most of the casualties Madurese.

Maj-Gen Namuri Anum, who heads security in West Kalimantan, said he was 'deeply concerned" about Tuesday's clash, the Merdeka reported from Pontianak.

He said the clashes were "only sporadic", adding that the attackers had come from inland areas outside the town.

He said a call for peace signed by community elders from both camps had been spread around the region to prevent further unrest but had failed to reach the attackers in Sungai Kunyit in time.