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Update on West Kalimantan conflict

SiaR - March 7, 1997

[This is our translation of two news reports on the tragic recent events in West Kalimantan sent via Kabar dari PIJAR on Wednesday, March 12, 1997 4:49 AM (Translation provided by Down-to-Earth).]

A chronology of the conflicts following the Sanggau Ledo events

Pontianak – The ethnic conflict between Madurese and Dayaks in West Kalimantan has claimed thousands of victims and caused considerable material damage. Thousands of Madurese homes were destroyed in districts throughout Sambas, Sanggau and Pontianak. The following chronology of events in the Sanggau Ledo conflict has been compiled from a number of sources in West Kalimantan.

Weds, 29th January, 1997

03.30 (local time). Around forty Madurese youths attacked the Santo Fransiskus Asisi Junior/Senior High School complex in Siantan, Pontianak, which is run by the Yayasan Karya Sosial Pancur Kasih (a Catholic Foundation). They smashed the windows of the Credit Union, the offices and the student hostel. A truck belonging to the Foundation and two motor scooters were burnt. The attackers ran away and were lost in the crowded surrounding housing. Students from the hostel succeeded in putting out the blaze. Damage is estimated at Rp 5 million.

At almost the same time, a bunch of youths attacked the place where six female employees of Swalayan Citra Siantan stayed. Two Dayak women, Efrosena (from Jangkang in Sanggau) and Elia (from Menyuke in Pontianak) were stabbed. The other four escaped to neighbouring homes. Efrosena and Elia were immediately rushed to Santo Antonius Hospital in Pontianak where their lives were saved.

Thurs, 30th January, 1997

23.00 (local time) on the way from Pontianak to Sanggau, a red Kijang car registration number KB 8876 AR, driven by Lanu with four passengers - Mulyadi, Ardian, Rusni Susana and Feri - was stopped by a group of Madurese at Peniraman (32km from Pontianak). The occupants were searched and, when they were found to be Dayaks, beaten up. At that moment a car passed by, driven by Aher - a Dayak. He immediately reported the incident to the nearest security post. The victims were rescued and taken to the military hospital (Rumkit III/Korem 121/ABW Alambana Wanawai), but the driver, Lanu, died on the way.

23.30 (local time). Four Dayak homes in Pinyuh (46km from Pontianak) were burnt by Madurese. At the same time in the village of Sake (Toho area, Pontianak) where most of the population is Madurese, news spread that 30 Madurese had been killed by Dayaks at Peniraman. The inhabitants wanted to go and attack the Dayaks in their village, but were prevented from doing so by security forces. A Madurese who resisted was shot dead.

Fri, 31st January, 1997

09.00 (local time). The Sanggau-Pontianak Setia Jaya bus was stopped by Madurese at Peniraman. Djalan, a Dayak from Batang Terang in Sanggau, was killed. His remains were collected by the security forces. Immediately after this, the authorities banned people from going to Sanggau. Some passengers on public transport and in private vehicles were stranded at the Batu Layang terminal in Pontianak. The Dayaks were evacuated to military camps (Kompi A Batu Layang and Kompi B Arang Limbung Yonif 643 Wanara Sakti) while the Madurese were taken to the pilgrims hostel (Asrama Haji) in Pontianak.

That night, Martinus Nyungkat, a Dayak from the Tebas area of Sambas was killed at Peniraman after attending his daughter92s graduation ceremony at the University Tanjungpura, Pontianak.

Sat, 1 Feb, 1997

News of the deaths of Lanu, Martinus Nyungkat and Djalan spread to the interior. Thousands of Dayaks responded. Madurese who were in refugee camps in Sanggau Ledo, Bengkayang, Samalantan and Roban waiting for their homes to be rebuilt after the first wave of unrest had to be taken back to Singkawang. Many who had no time to flee became the target of the mob. Crowds filled the main roads. Passing vehicles were stopped and passengers examined. Any Madurese among them were killed regardless - men and women; old and young.

Sun, 2 Feb, 1997

The movements of thousands of Dayaks in the Pontianak, Sambas and Sanggau districts could no longer be controlled. Many Madurese were killed in attacks on the villages of Salatiga, Sake, Bintang, Mandor, Pahauman, Senalin, Sidas and Nyabang in the Pontianak district. In Entikong, Balai Karangan, Sosok and Bodok in Sanggau district, a number of Madurese were killed and their homes burned down. Sosok Terminal, where many Madurese-owned eating places, was razed to the ground. 20 Mon, 3rd Feb, 1997

Thousands of Dayaks controlled the main road between Mandor and Sanggau. They stopped every passing vehicle. At the village of Kayu Taman in Sungai Piyuh, 17 Dayaks were shot dead by troops in a determined attack on Madurese who had sought protection at a military post at Anjungan (Markas Batalyon Zipur). The corpses of Dayaks and Madurese were buried in a mass grave at Mandor.

The District Administrator (Bupati) of Sanggau, Colonel ZA Baizuni, who happened to be Madurese, left Sanggau by river at the behest of local security forces (Muspida Kabupaten Sanggau) and sought refuge at the Kapuas Palace Hotel in Pontianak.

18.00 (local time) eight trucks full of Dayaks descended on the military post (Markas Kodim) at Sanggau Kapuas to protest about the protection the troops were giving to Madurese. They had three demands: that the Madurese should leave Sanggau district; that the town of Sanggau Kapuas should not be used as a refugee camp for Madurese; and that ZA Baizuni should be replaced as District Administrator. Troops fired on the crowd to prevent them attacking. Five people were shot dead.

Tues, 4th Feb, 1997

Madurese homes were set on fire all over the place in the villages of Sake, Salatiga, Mandor, Senakin, Pahauman, Darit and Ngabang in the Pontianak district. Many Madurese died. The local military commander, Untung Badja (Letkol Inf. Kodim 1204/Sanggau) gave instructions to shoot on sight.

That afternoon, two truck-loads of Dayaks broke through the military road block at Anjungan. Troops fired at the trucks92 tyres. Both trucks turned over. Any survivors were finished off with bursts of machine gun fire. Their bodies were left to rot in the ditches of the ricefields. At least 100 Dayaks died in this incident.

Weds, 5th Feb, 1997

Three trucks carrying food supplies for troops in Ngabang and Sanggau were stopped by Dayaks at Pahauman. They asked for food because they were starving. The security forces took pity on them and gave them some. The District Administrator of Pontianak, Dr Henry Usman, agreed to provide food on condition that people returned to their villages.

Thurs, 6th February, 1997

The military post at Anjungan became the target of Dayak anger following the shooting incident on February 4th in which some 100 Dayaks were killed. The military leadership banned all troops at Kompi Zipur Anjungan from leaving the compound and from any further crowd control.

Remaining Madurese homes in Sosok were burned.

The massed Dayaks prepared to disperse after the District Administrator of Kapuas Hulu, a Dayak called Jakobus Emilianus Layang SH, made a special visit from Putussibau to restore peace.

At Tayan, in Sanggau, Madurese settlements were again the target of mob attacks. Their houses were razed to the ground. 20 Fri, 7th Feb, 1997

Roads in the interior were still blockaded. The military were busy removing barricades. Corpses strewn around burnt houses between Paniraman and Ngabang were gathered up and given a decent burial. A number of Madurese bodies were also discovered in a cave at Salatiga.

Troops escorted two truck-loads of Dayaks into Pontianak. They were asked to witness that Pontianak was safe contrary to reports they had received that the whole Dayak population of Pontianak had been wiped out by Madurese.

Lingka, a victim of the shooting at Anjungan, died in Santo Antonius General Hospital from a bullet wound in the stomach.

Sat, 8th Feb, 1997

Dayaks in the village of Sempalai, in the Tebas area of Sambas, ran amok. It appears that news of Martinus Nyungkat92s death in Peniraman on January 31st only reached them that day. Some people were killed, but the security forces managed to control the situation.

Violence also broke out at Roban in Singkawang district, but the authorities brought it under control. People from both communities were shot dead by the forces. Several grenades were confiscated from Madurese people. 20

Sun, 9th Feb, 1997

14.00 (local time). Four people who had been shot in Sanggau - Sukirman, Yus, Anim and Junaidi - were taken from Sintang General Hospital by Mission Aviation Fellowsip plane (owned by a Protestant mission) to Pontianak to be operated on. Junaidi92s condition was very serious. The victims were treated at the Military Hospital.

Mon, 10th Feb, 1997

Hundreds of Dayaks who had failed to get into Pontianak from Peniraman and Sungai Piyuh were held at Sungai Ambawang. Violence towards the Madurese and the security forces was unavoidable. Three Dayaks were shot dead by the authorities. Madurese homes at Sungai Ambawang were burned to the ground. Their inhabitants fled to Pontianak. 20 Weds, 12th Feb, 1997

The population of Pontianak feared that Dayaks from the interior were mounting an imminent attack on the city. Checks on vehicles entering Pontianak were stepped up.

Sun, 16th Feb, 1997

The large gatherings of Dayaks along the main roads outside Pontianak were beginning to disperse, but they were still suspicious of any strangers. They still carried out stop checks of every vehicle, just in case any Madurese were in them.

Mon, 17th Feb, 1997

Thousands of Dayaks from Menjalin and Darit gathered at Toho for an attack on the Madurese settlement at Suak village in the Sungai Kunyit area of the Pontianak district. Suak is three hours walk from Toho.

22.00 (local time) Thousands of Dayaks had gathered at the borders of Toho and Sungai Kunyit. The military authorities were unable to do anything as they had not enough troops or transport.

Tues, 18th Feb, 1997

08.00 (local time) Between two and three thousand Dayaks armed with rifles, blowpipes and knives attacked Suak. The sound of gunfire went on for an hour. The military finally restored control. 98 Madurese homes were burned and 17 people killed. 78 Dayaks were arrested.

Sat, 22nd Feb, 1997

Madurese settlements in the villages of Pasi, Cap Kala and Mandor were attacked by thousands of Dayaks. 60 Madurese houses were burned. the number of dead is not known.

Thurs, 27th Feb, 1997

Another attack took place on a Madurese settlement in the village of Parit Jawai, in the Tebas area of Sambas district. Three Madurese were killed.

Fri, 28th Feb, 1997

Dayaks in Subah, in Sambas district attacked Madurese settlements in the villages of Sarang Burung, Jambu and Seberuak. Hundreds of the assailants were captured and held by the military at Singkawang. One of them was severely injured after being beaten by troops. SECOND REPORT, PONTIANAK, (SiaR, 7/3/97).

The ethnic conflict between the Madurese and Dayaks in the interior of West Kalimantan has begun to subside. However, there are no definite figures for the number of deaths. The government has yet to release the official figures. The local military head Major General Zacky Makarim (Aspam KSAD) said 300 had died, half from the Madurese community and half Dayak. This figure is supported by Major General Namoeri Anoem from Tanjungpura.

SiaR92s sources in the West Kalimantan government report 400 dead. However, a community organisation in Pontianak which has monitored this ethnic conflict since it first erupted in Sanggau Ledo, said the death toll was 1,720. One hundred of these were Dayaks, "most of whom were shot dead by the security forces", according to this source.

SiaR92s source thinks this is still a rough estimate. The numbers of victims were distributed across several districts: 3 in Peniraman, 250 in Salatiga, 100 in Anjungan, 100 in Mandor, 75 in Sakek, 200 in Pahauman, 17 in Sungai Kunyit, 115 in Bintang, 100 in Ngabang (all in the Pontianak Administrative District); 3 in Tebas, 50 in Roban (in Sambas District); 200 in Sosok, 450 in Tayan, 5 in Sanggau Kapuas (in Sanggau District).

The same source reckoned that the final total could be higher. Other unofficial sources report that 3,000 have died. " Once this conflict is over, the government must verify the death toll and make this available to the public", said an NGO activist in Pontianak.