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Kalimantan ethnic clashes kill 75, many beheaded JAKARTA - More than 75 people have been slaughtered -- some beheaded and their heads carried around -- in savage ethnic bloodshed on Indonesia's portion of Borneo island, local officials and media said on Thursday. National police chief Suroyo Bimantoro told reporters the police and army had each sent in an extra battalion and the navy was being called in to handle a flood of thousands of refugees.
The official Antara news agency said 20 headless corpses had been found after Sunday's revival of bitter clashes between local Dayaks and immigrant Madurese in Sampit, in Central Kalimantan province. People were seen carrying heads around town, it added. Local regency spokesman Jauhar Pauzni said 55 bodies -- all with heads -- had been recovered so far, but added the death toll was climbing. "There are still a lot of corpses lying scattered on the streets all around Sampit," he told Reuters by phone from the river port town, about 750 km (465 miles) northeast of Jakarta.
"We need the central government to send boats to get residents out of here. Roads are just too dangerous as mobs are out here marauding out of control." "Around 15,000 (Madurese) have fled the town but there are others who can't because the mobs are isolating the town. They are targetting the Madurese and they want to wipe them out," said Pauzni, himself originally from Borneo.
Bimantoro has blamed the unrest, flaring as embattled President Abdurrahman Wahid flies to the Middle East and Africa for two weeks, on two local officials angry at missing good jobs in a reorganisation after provinces received more autonomy. Before leaving Jakarta, Wahid dismissed fears the country could erupt during his absence. Pauzni said most of the dead were immigrants from Madura island off Java, attacked by Dayaks resentful over land and job losses.
Hundreds have died in Indonesia's Borneo provinces in the past two years as simmering tensions between the locals and immigrants frequently erupt into bloodshed. Tensions have been stoked by the now abandoned and widely discredited policy of resettling Indonesians from overcrowded areas, such as Madura and the main island of Java, in underpopulated provinces.
Some of the worst violence erupted two years ago in West Kalimantan province where hundreds of migrants were killed and tens of thousands forced to flee from their homes. In October, a curfew had to be imposed in the West Kalimantan provincial capital of Pontianak after three days of bloody riots wrought havoc at the city.



Posted in Violence @ 22 February 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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