Seven people were reported injured and a house set alight in another outbreak of violence in Palu, Central Sulawesi, on Sunday at around 1:30 a.m. A group of people from Nunu, Tatanga and Pengawu subdistricts apparently attacked residents of Tawanjuka subdistrict.
“The people [from Nunu, Tatanga and Pengawu] attacked Tawanjuka residents using dum-dum [handmade cannons containing pellets, nails and shards], arrows and machetes,” Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Dewa Parsana told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
Five Tawanjuka residents were wounded, while the two other victims were from Pengawu.
Most victims sustained injuries to their heads and shoulders from machete cuts, while a man named Ilyas, 23, suffered severe injury as shrapnel penetrated his right eye.
Dewa said residents of Tawanjuka had decided to seek help from the people of Balane and Porame villages in Sigi regency to launch a counterstrike against the people of the three subdistricts.
“But we managed to control the situation and stopped residents of the two hamlets going to Tawanjuka before things got worse,” Dewa continued.
It is believed that the clash was caused by 12 provocateurs from outside Palu. “The police cannot just sit back and relax. The provocateurs must be captured and brought to justice,” said Central Sulawesi Governor Longki Djanggola.
Intercommunity clashes and cycles of violence have long been an unfortunate feature of many parts of Central Sulawesi. Antagonistic groups tend to be slow to make peace and quick to reengage in fighting, only days or weeks after they call a truce.
Human rights activists believe that many clashes are deliberately created by particular parties for specific interests to undermine peace in the province.
In March, residents in Nunu, West Palu and Tawanjuka, South Palu, were involved in a clash that claimed two lives, injured scores of people and destroyed six homes.
The two sides reached a peace agreement in front of Longki, Central Sulawesi Police chief Dewa Parsana and Palu Mayor Rusdy Mastura on May 4.
But the agreement was just the beginning of a fresh conflict, which emerged only two weeks later in North Palu, followed, now, by Sunday’s clash.
Meanwhile in Poso, residents are advised to stay indoors as the police conduct house-to-house searches to disarm terrorists in the region.
Poso police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Eko Santoso called on residents not to be provoked by outsiders.
“Residents who possess firearms and explosives are strongly encouraged to hand them over to us immediately,” Eko said, adding that the police would conduct raids and seize illegal weapons.
Police and Poso administration will carry out identity card checks among residents and newcomers following reports that a number of Poso residents have refused to carry identity cards.
The police are still hunting the gunmen who shot at First Insp. Bastian Taruklabi, the Poso Pesisir Utara sub-precinct police chief, on Thursday.
The assailants are believed to be hiding in the Christian-dominated Poso regency or in surrounding forests at Gunung Biru Tamanjeka, which has been home to a training camp for members of hard-line groups.