News / Asia

8 Dead in Sectarian Violence at Indonesian Detention Center

A forensic official tags the bodies of illegal migrants from Burma at a hospital in Medan in Indonesia's North Sumatra province, April 5, 2013.
A forensic official tags the bodies of illegal migrants from Burma at a hospital in Medan in Indonesia's North Sumatra province, April 5, 2013.
Sara Schonhardt
A deadly clash between Burmese Buddhists and Muslims being held at an immigration detention center in Indonesia has put authorities on alert.

Police say eight Buddhists were killed Friday during an early morning clash with dozens of Muslim Rohingya at a detention center in northern Indonesia.
 
More than 100 Burmese Rohingya seeking asylum from ongoing religious and ethnic violence in their home country were living at the detention center in Belawan along with 11 Burmese fishermen detained for illegal fishing off Indonesia’s coast.
 
The local police chief there told the Associated Press that the clash started in the early morning hours after a Rohingya confronted a Buddhist fisherman about recent sectarian violence back in Burma. As fights broke out, some inmates reportedly wielded knives.
 
“It definitely highlights a problem for the Indonesian authorities," said Todd Elliott, a security analyst at Concord Consulting in Jakarta. "As more and more asylum seekers come to Indonesia obviously they will bring any conflicts or disputes from their home countries with them and it could erupt into violence here in Indonesia, especially if they’re waiting months and months on end for their asylum applications to be processed.”
 
Thousands of refugees move through Indonesia each year on their way to seek asylum in Australia. In recent months Indonesia has held a number of high-level conferences to address the issue and come up with a better humanitarian response.
 
But the Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights, who apologized for the incident in Belawan, admitted that there were too few security forces guarding the detention center to handle the riot.
 
Officials from Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said the incident is an isolated case and that prior to Friday’s violence the detainees had been living at the center for some time without a problem.
 
Regardless, officials say as long as Burma struggles to contain internal ethnic and religious tension, Indonesia will need to be on alert.
 
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalagawa addressed those concerns in Jakarta at the opening of a workshop on regional conflict prevention.  
 
“Very rapidly any conditions that are unstable even within countries can become at least a non-traditional type of security threat to the rest of the region,” he said.
 
Rioting last month in the Burmese city of Meiktila killed more than 40 people, mostly Muslims. A fire at an Islamic boarding school earlier this week blamed on faulty electrical wiring stirred further fears among the Muslim community.
 
By Friday morning police in Belawan said they had secured the detention center and evacuated those injured to a nearby hospital in Medan.
 
In the wake of the violence the United Nations refugee agency called for calm among the groups involved and urged the Indonesian authorities to move individuals into community housing to prevent further rioting.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: lstmohican from: USA
April 05, 2013 8:38 AM
This is once again the case of Muslim Wahhabi-Sharia-Law extremism sown in Saudi Arabia spilling over from Middle-East to North Africa, Central Asia and now to Far East Asia. A vicious cycle of religiously sanctioned enforcement of “an eye for an eye” as evidenced recently in Saudi Arabia by sentencing a man to “paralysis” for a crime he committed when he was 14. Also recently, a 17 year old Sri Lankan woman, who was employed as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia, was beheaded by the Saudi.

According to Wahhabi interpretation, Islam divides the world into “dar el-salaam” (the abode of peace) and “dar el-harb” (the abode of war). Dar el-salaam is that part of the world in which Islam rules, i.e. any area which has been subjugated to Islam. According to different Muslim theologians, this could include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other countries. Dar el-harb is anywhere in the world which has not been subjugated to Islam where murder and rape of the non-Muslims ranks as good; lying, cheating and dishonesty are considered necessary evils and hence, form part of the Muslim morality.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid