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President condemns Shia killings

Calls for 'quick and decisive' measures in wake of mob attack that killed two and injured 10

  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • August 27, 2012
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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for immediate action after yesterday’s attacks on members of a Shia community in East Java, which killed two people and injured 10.

“I have talked with the governor of East Java and I hope quick and decisive measures will be taken so that these attacks will not happen again in that location,” he said, as quoted by ANTARANews.com.

Ydhoyono was speaking at an emergency meeting in his Jakarta offices this morning with the Law and Human Rights Minister, the national police chief, the Indonesian military commander and the attorney general.

The incident occurred in the Sampang district of Madura, when around 30 Shia Muslims, mostly children, were traveling from their village to a boarding school and were stopped by an anti-Shia group.

They filed a report with local police about the group’s threatening behavior, which led to a subsequent attack on the Shia village by a mob of about 1,000 people, who set dozens of homes ablaze.

A spokesman for the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace described the violence as part of an ongoing, systematic onslaught.

In July, the local Shia leader was jailed for blasphemy and more than 300 Shia villagers were driven from their homes last December by a mob  that burned homes, a school and a Shia mosque.

The spokesman maintained that the attacks take place because law enforcement officials make no effort to prevent them. “The province’s police chief should be fired,” he told ucanews.com.

Sinung Karto of Kontras, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, asked religious leaders to help find a solution through a dialogue that upholds human values. The government, he added, “must guarantee and provide victims with both physical and psychological rehabilitation.”

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