Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Central Sulawesi joins in poverty alleviation program

Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post, Palu
February 21, 2006

Central Sulawesi has been appointed as one of the provinces in Indonesia that will participate in the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) pilot project on poverty alleviation, after the government declared the province to be prone to poverty.

Three other provinces taking part in the MDG pilot project, sponsored by the United Nations Development Program and the Office of the Coordinating Minister for Public Welfare, are Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, Maluku and Papua.

"The appointment (of Central Sulawesi) is based on the fact that the province is a former conflict area, the impacts of which have increased poverty," Central Sulawesi MDG regional facilitator Christian Tindjabate told The Jakarta Post.

Tindjabate, a lecturer in postgraduate studies at Tadulako University in Central Sulawesi's capital Palu, explained that poverty in Poso, where the conflict erupted, was not only the result of the burning and looting of people's property, but also due to widespread corruption in the province.

"Whether you agree or not, the embezzlement of Poso relief funds is one of the reasons for poverty in Poso," he said.

Of the total population of 2.32 million in Central Sulawesi in 2004, 486,300 people -- or 21.6 percent -- were classified at or below the poverty line. They lived mostly in Poso and Buol regencies. Poverty in Poso is a consequence of the conflict, while in Buol it is due mainly to cultural factors.

Central Sulawesi has abundant natural resources, but its people remain poor due to ineffective policies issued by political players, coupled with corruption.

Tindjabate explained that poverty alleviation programs initiated by development planners had failed to address the substance of the problems, as they had perceived poverty as being purely an economic problem. "It's like adding salt to seawater," he said.

He said sectoral fanaticism among government agencies handling poverty alleviation programs had further hindered coordination, thereby hindering the process of fighting poverty.

One of the methods to be implemented in the MDG poverty alleviation project is to define the job descriptions of stakeholders -- such as the government, NGOs, religious figures, businesses and the poor -- through the Regional Poverty Alleviation Strategy.

"Without an improved system, I'm sure that no matter how much money is allocated by the government to mitigate the problem, it will still be ineffective," said Tindjabate.

According to Tindjabate, this is a critical problem that has to be followed up by the government and legislature, and the 2006 provincial budget has to be formulated to favor the poor.

Last year's budget allocation for poverty alleviation was barely noticeable, since 70 percent of it was used for government expenditures and only 30 percent for the public.

Tindjabate hopes the Central Sulawesi administration will issue a new policy for drafting a special budget to help alleviate poverty in the province this year.***

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Land is my Mother, the Sky my Father

Features - February 17, 2006

Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post, Palu, C. Sulawesi

There is a vast forest rich in a great variety of natural resources such as ebony (Dyosphiros celebica) and other types of wood, as well as various kinds of flora, including medicinal plants.

At the center of this forest area -- which is endowed with many species of fauna, including the indigenous dwarf buffalo locally called anoa and lies between 400 and 1,600 meters above sea level -- you can find stilt houses, locally called sau-sabua, in a naturally laid out row like that in an urban settlement area.

Naked children play freely, chasing one another at the foot of the stilts and in the yards of the houses, which lie at an inclination of 60 to 80 degrees.

They are free in nature, playing their wooden boat-shaped plucked zithers and their bamboo flutes, the melodious notes from their musical instruments merging with the sound of the breeze.

Unlike urban kids who are always restless about their future, these kids, who never bother going to school, are free from any concern about their future.

In the distance, on a mountain slope, farmers are busy taking care of their farming land. As inheritors of these traditionally bequeathed plots of lands, they take the land to be their own mother: Tana Indoku, Ummaku Langi (The Land is My Mother, the Sky My Father).

This is Kamalisi, a rural forest area where the Da'a, Inde and Unde people, three sub-ethnic groups of the Kaili, the indigenous people of Palu, Central Sulawesi, live. Wandering from one place to another as nomadic farmers, they live within the boundaries of well-organized traditional plots of land with their own ways of land management.

The plots of land they control are named after natural, social, political or cultural events to ensure that the later generation will always be reminded of these events. This method of naming of these plots of land also serves as evidence of these people's struggle to maintain the property of their traditional community.

These plots of land are passed on to the present generation communally and they are not meant to be controlled individually. Privilege is unknown in this community. Social relations, tradition and hierarchy regulate the prevailing communal rights to ensure that in their social lives everybody is equal.

A plot of land is associated with control and also with the culture that has shaped association regarding the symbols that demonstrate the strength of collective economic resilience.

Therefore the people living on Gawalise mountain range have long considered their land and its natural resources as not only economic assets and commodities but also as communal property for the well-being of their community members, on the basis of the principle that living creatures in a particular area enjoy the same right to live and that they need and protect one another.

"Our principle is that every living creature in a traditional area enjoys an equal right to live as natural resources, locally called katuvua, to ensure human survival. Likewise, human beings must also take good care of natural resources because man and nature are in fact complementary," said Yuji, a local customary elder.

"Unfortunately, their natural resources and plots of land can no longer be called their traditional land following the appearance of businessmen, who, with the blessing of the government, claim their land as state-owned property that must be exploited. As a result, the buzz of chainsaws in operation echoes in this mountainous area. "They have taken our wood and we can no longer hunt animals like boars, anoa, deer and birds," Yuji added.

Their age-old customary convention that a customary sanction, called givu, will be imposed on whomever arbitrarily takes wood in a way that will damage nature, is no longer effective in the face of power and money.

Their givu requires that the name of anybody violating this traditional convention be announced before the public and that the customary elders appointed by the community should decide in Bantaya, a place for customary gathering, what sanction should be imposed on the violator.

"A customary convention is like a clasp of the hand. This convention is not strict. However, once it is enforced, nobody is free from it," said Endi, an activist of Kamalisi Customary Community.

Harley, a non-government organization activist in Palu, said that the lives of the customary community living along the Kamalisi mountain range are not a romantic tale. Stories about their experiences, their environment and the sources of their livelihood are true stories. "They are a social picture illustrating how the oppressor class treats the oppressed," he noted.

For those who live in the Palu Valley, Kamalisi is known as Gawalise, a name originating from the Dutch colonial times. Nobody knows clearly the reason for this change in name, though.

Kamalisi is the highest mountain in Marawola district, Donggala regency, Central Sulawesi, to the west of the town of Palu. The people living along the Kamalisi mountain range and plains believe their ancestors used to live in Kamalisi.

The peak of Kamalisi is locally known as Ulu Jadi or Ulunggatoka Pinandu, and is believed to be the origin of the traditional community dwelling in Kamalisi area.

The traditional peoples of Da'a, Inde and Unde, and the tribes living along the Kamalisi mountain range, believe they came from a very old place at the peak of Kamalisi (Ulu Jadi or Ulungatoka Pinandu.) Their famous saying is "Pinandu tananilemo ngari tanah Pinandu" (created from earth, a lump of earth that gives life and gives livelihood to every creature living along the mountain range area.)

That's why groups living on the Kamalisi mountain range area believe that man and natural resources depend on each other and that equal position and right have been bestowed on each. Man and natural resources must take care of each other. Therefore, no living creatures must make other living creatures their objects.***

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Penembak A Tjun di Palu Belum Terungkap

Ruslan Sangadji

Para penembak pemilik toko emas Agung di Palu, William alias A Tjun, hingga kini belum terungkap. Menurut Kepala Bidang Humas Kepolisian Daerah Sulawesi Tengah, Ajun Komisaris Besar Rais D. Adam, pihaknya telah memeriksa puluhan saksi, namun sejauh ini belum ada yang ditetapkan sebagai tersangka.

"Satu orang yang kami anggap paling mengetahui peristiwa itu, belum bisa memberikan petunjuk yang jelas tentang pelakunya," kata Rais D. Adam.

Namun yang pasti, katanya, kawanan perampok bersenjata itu diduga berjumlah empat orang. Dua orang berboncengan menggunakan sepeda motor Yamaha RX King dan dua lainnya menggunaka sepeda motor jenis bebek. Dua di antara pelaku itu menggunakan senjata laras pendek jenis revolver. Usai melaksanakan aksinya, para kawanan perampok itu langsung melarikan diri ke arah selatan Kota Palu.

Sedangkan nyawa korban William alias A Tjun tidak dapat tertolong lagi. Setelah menjalani perawatan di Rumah Sakit Akademisi Makassar, yang bersangkutan pun menghembuskan nafas terakhir pada Senin (13/2) pukul 02.45 Wita dini hari. Korban telah dibawa ke Palu sejak sore kemarin, dan saat ini sedang disemayamkan di rumah duka Jalan Wolter Monginsidi Nomor 99, Kelurahan Lolu Selatan, Palu.

Sebelum dirujuk ke Makassar, terlebih dahulu korban dirawat di Rumah Sakit Bala Keselamatan Palu. Sejak dirawat, korban tak pernah sadarkan diri, akibat adanya dua luka tembak di bagian kepala. Satu peluru bersarang di kepala dan satu peluru lagi tembus hingga ke bagian belakang kepala.


Sementara itu, dari Poso dilaporkan, ribuan umat Islam yang tergabung dalam Forum Silaturahim Perjuangan Umat Islam (FSPUI) di Poso Kota, pda Senin (13/2) lalu menggelar aksi unjukrasa memprotes penangkapan Ustadz Sahl Alamri. Mereka menilai, penangkapan terhadap pengajar di Pondok Pesantren Al-Amanah itu sarat dengan rekayasa.

"Penangkapan itu sarat dengan rakayasa yang dibuat-buat oleh aparat keamanan. Aparat keamanan di Poso saat ini panik, sehingga mereka main tangkap sembarangan," tegas Ustadz Adnan Arsal, pimpinan Pondok Pesantren Al-Amanah yang juga Ketua FPUI Poso.

UStadz Adnan Arsal mendesak agar polisi mengembalikan Ustadz Sahl Alamri ke Palu untuk diperiksa di Polres Poso atau Polda Sulteng. Tidak hanya itu, umat Islam di Poso juga meminta agar Andi Ipong dan Muhammad Yusuf yang ditangkap Detasemen Khusus 88 Anti Teror beberapa bulan lalu, agar dikembalikan juga ke Palu atau Poso.

Menurut Ustadz Adnan Arsal, Ustadz Sahl Alamri datang ke Poso sejak tahun 2000 silam, di saat Poso masih dilanda konflik hebat. Ustadz Sahl dan rombongan ke Poso, karena saat itu para perusuh membakar Pondok Pesantren Wali SOngo di Desa Sintuwu Lembah. Namun, kehadiran ustadz Sahl saat itu hanya sekadar memberikan ceramah agama dan siraman rohani kepada umat Islam yang pada tahun 2000 itu sangat terdesak oleh kelompok perusuh.

"Jadi, kalau ustadz Sahl ditangkap, maka polisi juga harus menangkap para pelaku yang membakar Pondok Pesantren Wali Songo dan memperkosa santrinya saat itu. Polisi juga harus menangkap para pelaku pembunuhan di Dusun Buyung Katedo tahun 2000 silam. Itu baru adil namanya," tegas Ustadz Adnan Arsal kepada The Jakarta Post melalui telepon selular Selasa (14/2) pagi.

Kabid Humas Polda Sulteng, AKBP Rais D. Adam mengatakan, berdasarkan Undang-Undang Anti Teroris, apabila dalam waktu tujuh hari lantas penyidik tidak dapat membuktikan keterlibatan Ustadz Sahl, maka yang bersangkutan akan dikembalikan ke Poso.***

Sunday, February 12, 2006

'Pesantren' teacher arrested in Poso

Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post, Palu/Jakarta

Police announced Saturday they had arrested a teacher -- believed to have close ties to fugitive terror suspect Noordin M. Top -- from Al-Amanah Islamic boarding school in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

Sahl Alamri, 35, who is also a kerosene distributor, was arrested Thursday by Detachment 88, a police antiterror squad, on his way to Poso to deliver kerosene to a customer.

"The teacher from Al-Amanah pesantren was nabbed for his alleged connection with Noordin," Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Oegroseno said.

The school, established on May 4, 2001, is known among local people for its exclusiveness. It is also believed to have hired alumni from Al-Mukmin pesantren in Ngruki, Central Java, which was co-founded by convicted terrorist Abu Bakar Ba'asyir.

Sahl was transferred Friday to the National Police headquarters in Jakarta for further questioning.

However, National Police spokesmen Brig. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam declined to give any more details about what links existed between Sahl and Noordin.

"We cannot expose this now because it would ruin the police investigation. After all, we have to wait for seven days to prove the accusations against the man," Anton told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

By law, the antiterror procedures require seven days of investigation before someone can be declared a suspect.

However, Anton claimed that the police were closing in on Noordin.

Recently, Central Java Police officers arrested eight men with alleged connections to Noordin. They were accused of assisting the country's most wanted terror suspect in planning and carrying out the Oct. 1, 2005 attacks on Bali, which killed 23 people including three suicide bombers.

Police have collected evidence and testimony from them in relation to Noordin's whereabouts.

According to documents obtained by police, Noordin has positioned himself as the new terror group's leader for the Malay region, covering Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and parts of other Asian countries. The group is believed to be targeting Java for its next bomb attack.

Noordin is thought to have recruited new followers to his group.***

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Terkait Jaringan Nurdin Top, Ustadz Sahl Ditangkap

Ruslan Sangadji

Salah seorang staf pengajar di Pondok Pesantren Alamanah, Poso Kota Sulawesi Tengah, Ustadz Sahl (35) ditangkap oleh Detasemen Khusus Anti Teror 88 Markas Besar Kepolisian Republik Indonesia. Ustadz tersebut diduga terkait dengan jaringan teroris nomor satu di Indonesia saat ini, Noordin M Top.

Penangkapan ustadz yang mengajar di pesantren pimpinan Ketua Forum Silaturahim dan Perjuangan Islam Poso, Ustadz Adnan Arsal ini dibenarkan Kepala Kepolisian Daerah Sulawesi Brigadir Jenderal Polisi Oegroseno.

Kepada wartawan di Palu, Sabtu (11/2) di Palu, Oegroseno menegaskan bahwa kasus tersebut ditangani langsung Densus/AT 88.

“Densus 88 memang menangkap salah seorang ustadz di Poso yang mengajar di Pesantren Alamanah. Ia diduga terkait dengan buronan Noordin M Top dan Abu Mujahid, anak buah Noordin M Top yang ditangkap di Semarang,” kata Brijen Oegroseno.

Sebelumnya, Wakil Presiden Jusuf Kalla, telah menyatakan bahwa Pesantren Alamanah, Tanah Runtuh, Poso mempekerjakan sejumlah alumni Pesantren Al-Islam Ngruki, Jawa Timur. Bahkan saat kasus mutilasi tiga siswi Sekolah Menengah Umum Kristen Gereja Kristen Sulawesi Tengah di Poso, (29/11- 2005) silam, Wapres Jusuf Kalla sempat menanyakan soal itu kepada Ustadz Adnan Arsal.

Menurut Ustadz Adnan Arsal, telepon Wapres itu cenderung menuduh bahwa pelaku mutilasi itu adalah para penghuni pesantren yang dipimpinnya. Tentu saja Ustadz Adnan Arsal protes dengan telepon tersebut.

Terkait penangkapan Sahl, Ustadz Adnan Arsal bahkan mencurigai Polisi merekayasa keterkaitan lelaki itu dengan Noordin M Top, buronan yang paling dicari-cari Polisi Indonesia saat ini.

“Saya melihat ini adalah upaya sistematis untuk menjelek-jelekan Pesantren Alamanah. Sebenarnya mereka menyasar saya bukan Ustad Sahl. Kalau polisi mau, carilah bukti bahwa pesantren saya mengajarkan terorisme. Kalau bisa ditemukan, tutuplah pesantren saya,” tegas Ustadz Adnan Arsal yang juga Deklarator Malino itu.

Ustad Sahl sendiri ditangkap Densus 88 saat akan mengantar minyak tanah ke pelanggannya di Jalan Pulau Irian Jaya, Kelurahan Gebang Redjo, Poso Kota. Sehari-harinya, yang bersangkutan memang berprofesi sebagai pengecer minyak tanah. Sahl ditangkap pada Kamis (9/2) oleh Densus 88 dan langsung dibawa ke Mabes Polri untuk dipertemukan dengan Abu Mujahid yang telah ditangkap beberapa waktu lalu di Semarang, Jawa Tengah, karena diduga menjadi salah seorang kepercayaan Doktor Azahari itu.

Beberapa file menyebutkan, pesantren yang disamakan Jusuf Kalla dengan pesantren Al Islam Ngruki, Jawa Timur itu terdapat 16 santri putri, 47 santri anak-anak seusia taman kanak-kanak dan 65 orang santri putra seusia anak-anak sekolah menengah pertama.

Pesantren ini didirikan tanggal 4 Mei 2001 untuk menampung mantan santri Pesantren Walisongo, di Desa Sintuwu Lembah Poso, yang dibakar dan sekitar 200 santrinya dibunuh para perusuh dalam konflik Poso Mei 2000 silam.

Saat ini, pesantren Amanah berdiri di dua lokasi berbeda. Pesantren Amanah di Tanah Runtuh menjadi tempat belajar 16 santri putri dan 47 santri anak-anak seusia taman kanak-kanak. Lalu yang satu lagi di Landangan, Poso Pesisir yang menjadi tempat belajar 65 santri putra.

Tidak ada kegiatan lain yang mencolok dari para santri kecuali belajar agama. Pengajaran agamanya disesuaikan dengan kurikulum nasional. Adapun pengajian kitab kuning dilaksanakan di luar jadwal jam pelajaran sekolah.

Memang kini pesantren itu terkesan tertutup dari orang luar. Itu terjadi lantaran setiap peristiwa kekerasan terjadi di Poso, pesantren ini selalu menjadi sasaran penggeledahan polisi. Makanya, mereka terkesan sangat berhati-hati menerima tamu. Sebab polisi yang biasa datang selain memakai seragam juga ada yang hanya berpakaian sipil.***

Gang shoots dead Palu jewelry seller

Ruslan Sangadji

A jewelry shop owner was shot dead by an unidentified group of men in troubled Palu, Central Sulawesi.

The shop owner, identified as William, 61, was shot twice in the head at his shop in South Palu at 12:45 p.m., police said. According to the police report, four people riding motorcycles shot the man, who died at a local hospital.

South Sulawesi police chief Brig. Gen. Oegroseno said details of the case remained unclear, including if robbery was involved. -- JP

No 'emergency' status for Central Sulawesi

Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post, Palu

Central Sulawesi governor-elect Maj. Gen. (ret) Bandjela Paliudju said here Friday that despite the high level of terror incidents in the province, he would not impose a civil emergency in the conflict-torn region.
"I have to emphasize here there will be no imposition of a civil emergency in Poso and Central Sulawesi," Bandjela told The Jakarta Post.
Bandjela made the remarks in response to concerns on the part of a number of parties in Central Sulawesi that due to his military background, his election as governor would lead to the application of military systems in his administration.
On Jan. 27, the Central Sulawesi Elections Commission declared Bandjela, who was governor of the province from 1995 to 2000, the winner of the gubernatorial election. He received 411,113 votes from a total of 1.4 million registered voters, defeating Rully Lamadjido who garnered 380,979 votes.
Bandjela, who will be sworn in Feb. 21, said there were two major goals he wanted to complete within his first 100 days in office. The first is the restoration of security, and the second is the thorough investigation of corruption cases, including the embezzlement of Poso humanitarian funds.
"I'm only concentrating on these two priorities ... I urge the people of Central Sulawesi not to think about unrelated issues. Just help me settle these two issues," Bandjela said.
He said the restoration of security would not emphasize a security approach, but rather law enforcement and the empowerment of security institutions, the community and informal bodies.
"This is intended so that all parties have their own responsibilities in ensuring security in Central Sulawesi," he said.
Edmont Leonard of the Central Sulawesi chapter of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence said Bandjela's stance constituted a step forward and needed the support of all parties.
"We appreciate his remarks ... it should be this way for any regional head, who has to be strict, especially with regard to security, including the humanitarian conflicts gripping Poso," Edmont said.
He said the community's demand for security had been misinterpreted by some government and security officials.
As examples, he cited the murder of three Christian students in Poso, which was responded to with the establishment of the Poso Task Force, and a bombing in a market in Palu, which the authorities answered by setting up the Security Operation Command and raising the status of the Poso Police.
Edmont emphasized the importance of the new governor coming up with new concepts for handling conflicts in Poso, taking a more humane approach that respected human rights.
"It is time for the governor-elect to take a stance, and the handling of conflicts in Poso should no longer involve military approaches, as this only creates new problems," he said.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Poso task force: Can it stop the violence?

National News - February 03, 2006
Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post, Palu

The special team tasked to speed up the end to violence in Poso, Central Sulawesi, has just two months to go to complete its three-month mandate, although it could be extended, if deemed necessary.

The team, under the leadership of a two-star police general, Insp. Gen. Paulus Purwoko, has managed to convince the public of its usefulness, and thus early resistance to its establishment on Jan. 5 has been toned down.

Purwoko said his office liaised with security personnel, government officials and the community. He said his office was also entrusted to uphold law enforcement, settle corruption cases and investigate the possibility of police and/or military involvement in violence in Poso.

Answering to the Office of the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, the task force aims to find out who has been behind a series of violent attacks in Poso and Palu following the Malino peace agreement in 2001, which largely brought to an end clashes between Christians and Muslims.

But Purwoko admitted the biggest obstacle to solving the cases was the fear and lack of cooperation from local people. "They're reluctant to testify about the people behind the terror acts," he said.

The fear, he said, is because the witnesses have no faith in security personnel's ability or willingness to offer them comprehensive protection should they blow the whistle on the terrorist masterminds.

"So our effort now is to assure people that Poso can be safe and the perpetrators will be arrested soon, if the people are willing to open up. We will always protect them," Purwoko promised.

Earlier, activists feared the task force would have sweeping powers to arrest people with no legal process.

"After explanations by Pak Purwoko did we understand the real issue," said the coordinator of Poso Center, Yusuf Lakaseng.

But observers have also cited the need for strong measures to put a stop to the continued violence in the area, from bombing to the beheadings of teenage girls.
The latest incident was a bomb blast at a Christian market in Palu on the morning of New Year's Eve. The attack took seven lives and injured 50 others.

As the task force works to close various unsolved cases in Poso, it is also helping to restore some of the social life to the area -- at least regarding the routines of worship and the immediate need for aid. This seems to be the easy part.

A spokesman for the team, police Sr. Comr. Didi Rochyadi, said they would try to rebuild five mosques and five churches in cooperation with the Office of the Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare and international NGOs, in a bid "to bring back some life to Poso". The costs of rebuilding the mosques and churches has been estimated at about Rp 6 billion (US$652,173).

Didi also said the task force would soon begin to disburse aid to over 2,000 households; non-civil servants get Rp 2.5 million each while civil servants will receive Rp 1.25 million each.

The more difficult part is the core mandate of the task force: investigating and stopping the violence. They will be working on at least 47 unresolved cases, Didi said.

He said priority cases could include the graft cases involving aid, the beheadings of schoolgirls in October and the New Year's Eve attack in Palu market.

From the time of the Malino peace declaration in 2001 up to November 2005, there are 153 unsolved cases of violence and human rights violations, according to the Sulawesi chapter of the independent Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence.

Government experts say the violence in Poso is a result of several factors, including economic hardship, an attempt to protect suspected aid embezzlers, local political interests and misconduct by security personnel.

Will the task force help to return peace? From experience, every time a security operation ends, shootings, killings and bomb blasts return. The public here will wait and see, and give the task force a chance. ***