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 Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More