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Death toll in Luwu violence reaches 13 LAWU - The death toll from an intervillage clash in the district of Ponrang, Luwu regency, reached 13 on Saturday, while regency legislators decried the local regent's sluggishness in dealing with the violence. "Regent Kamrul Kasim failed to anticipate the deadly clash, which had been predicted by others. He also did not approach residents to appeal to them not to be easily provoked. Kamrul Kasim must be held responsible for the tragedy," A. Muh. Yamin, a legislator from Commission B, told The Jakarta Post while monitoring the exodus from Padang Sappa.
The intervillage clash erupted on Wednesday following the Tuesday murder of A. Syair Opu of Bonto Karya hamlet by residents of Lorong Seribu hamlet in the village of Padang Sappa. At least 13 people were killed, 19 others seriously injured and almost 80 houses destroyed in the clash. More than 3,500 people have sought refuge, with 2,000 of them having fled the regency. The death toll is expected to rise as police and military personnel continue to comb the area for more bodies.
The Post and private television station RCTI were unable to contact Kamrul on Thursday to ask him about his plan to deal the clash and the refugees. Kamrul's adjutant said the regent was sleeping and could not be disturbed. Legislator Aris Pangerang was of the same opinion as Yamin, saying that Central Sulawesi Governor HZB Palaguna and Regent Kamrul Kasim must be held responsible for the clash. "The regency and the provincial administrations should find the best solution to deal with the clash and the refugees," Aris said.
Meanwhile, Central Sulawesi Police spokesman Adj. Sr. Comr. Muh. Siswa said 10 local people had been arrested and questioned over their alleged role in the clash. "Hundreds of homemade rifles, a large amount of ammunition and Molotov cocktails have also been seized from those involved in the clash. "However, we believe that other parties are behind the fatal clash."
Luwu Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Anjaya backed this position, saying the ammunition used by those involved in the violence was military issue. "Some of the suspects admitted to having been paid to provoke unrest." The situation in Ponrang was improving on Saturday, with hundreds of policemen on alert in the area and Anjaya and the Central Sulawesi Police deputy chief touring the village.



Posted in C. Sulawesi conflict @ 02 September 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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