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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs