Happy ending: Several people from the villages of Agom and Balinuraga, South Lampung, embrace each other after signing a peace declaration in Agom on Wednesday. At least 12 people were killed in recent ethnic clashes between Lampung natives and ethnic Balinese, both residents of South Lampung district in Lampung province. (Antara/Muhammad Iqba)
Residents of Agom village, Kalianda district and Balinuraga village, Way Panji district in South Lampung regency, Lampung province, have agreed to forget the ethnic conflict that took place between Oct. 29 and 30 in which 12 people were killed. They also agreed to maintain peace and not to conduct reprisals.
The agreement was codified by the residents of both villages in a declaration of peace held at Agom village square on Wednesday. The declaration, which was marked by a traditional ceremony, was attended by thousands of residents from both villages as well as traditional figures from Lampung, Bali and Banten and local and state officials.
Lampung Governor Sjachroedin Z.P. said that the different characteristics of the Balinese and Lampung communities should serve as a means to develop Lampung and that their differences should not be exaggerated.
“We should be grateful for the different Balinese and Lampung cultures, which could serve as a source of wealth. Today, it is proven that we can sit together, embrace each other and apologize. I hope that after this there will no longer be any conflict. It will be better if we use our energy for development,” Sjachroedin said.
Thousands of residents attending the event seemed happy and danced when Sjachroedin sang a song popularized by Dewi Yull.
Sjachroedin denied accusations that the peace between the Balinese and Lampung communities was elitist. “This is different from the peace pact between the Balinese and Lampung ethnic communities in January this year in Sidomulyo district.”
The conflict in October has put Indonesia’s pride in its tolerance and diversity to another round of tests.
Balinuraga village was attacked after several Balinuraga youths tried to help two Agom girls who fell off of their motorcycles.
An increasing disparity of wealth, ethnic pride, religious issues and a failure to blend the diverse communities together are thought to be some of the triggers of the conflict.
Balinuraga village Balinese traditional leader Mangku Pande Wayan Gambar said he was very pleased to welcome the peace agreement. According to Mangku the peace would dispel the fear in the Balinese community living in Lampung.
“We all wish to live in peace. We no longer want disturbances. After the signing of the peace agreement, we visited the families of victims from the Lampung community. We apologized to each other and shed tears. In the declaration today, we wish to reassert that the Balinese community is part of Lampung,” Wayan said.
The peace agreement, which was facilitated by the Lampung provincial administration, contains 10 points.
Basically, the parties to the agreement said that they would not repeat anarchic acts motivated by ethnicity, religion or race and that conflicts caused by personal, community or group issues must immediately be resolved by parents and community leaders.
Failing that, the parties agreed to settle disputes amicably through consensus through village, community, traditional, religious and youth leaders.
“We are currently disseminating the contents of the peace pact to other villages outside Balinuraga and Agom,” Wayan said.
Lampung traditional elder Intan Mas Jahidin, 91, said that the peace declaration was touching. “We hope that the peace will be lasting and that everyone can respect each other and get rid of their need for vengeance,” he said.
The Lampung Police said earlier that they would continue investigating the riot, even though the peace pact mentioned that residents would not file any legal charges.
“We have evaluated it. We do respect the matter, however, the National Police, as a law enforcement institution, are obliged to uphold the law,” Lampung Police spokesperson Adj. Sr. Comr. Sulistyaningsih said.
The peace declaration will also be followed by the construction of 1,000 homes in several villages in South Lampung.
The Social Affairs Ministry’s Syahbudin said that the program was part of the conflict impact restoration process. “The construction of homes will involve the entire residents in the conflict area. They will work together.”