Mon, 30 Oct 2000

Cabinet ministers to visit Malukus

AMBON, Maluku (JP): A 13-strong entourage of Cabinet ministers led by Coordinating Minister for Social, Political and Security Affairs Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will visit the Malukus on Tuesday, Maluku Governor Saleh Latuconsina said on Sunday.

Latuconsina said the visit was aimed at speeding up the process of rehabilitating and restoring law and order in the violence-racked provinces of Maluku and North Maluku.

The minister will then fly to the neighboring province of Irian Jaya, which is experiencing mounting demands for independence.

During their trip to Maluku's capital Ambon, the ministers will take a close look at the latest on situation on the ground, according to Latuconsina.

Also to come are Indonesian Military chief Adm. Widodo A.S., National Police chief Gen. Surojo Bimantoro and Attorney General Marzuki Darusman.

"The visit is expected to result in ways to restore law and order as well as to tackle the problems of refugees and riot victims," the governor said.

Thousands have been killed and many more forced to flee since the violence erupted in January 1999.

Among the ministers joining the entourage are Minister of Justice and Human Rights Yusril Ihza Mahendra, Minister of Defense Mahfud M.D., Minister of Education Yahya Muhaimin, Minister of Home Affairs and Regional Autonomy Surjadi Soedirdja, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Alwi Shihab.

"We will discuss plans for "floating trials" in which speedy court sessions will be held on board of a navy ship or civilian boat guarded by the security forces," Latuconsina said.

Separately, Pattimura Military Commander Brig. Gen. I Made Yasa revealed on Saturday that some 1,300 detonators concealed in a heap of watermelons were seized at Yos Sudarso port when they were about to be unloaded from the KM Lambelu recently.

Also speaking on Saturday, Maluku Police chief Brig. Gen. Firman Gani said 12 rioters linked to Laskar Jihad (Jihad Force) Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah will face formal questioning in 12-days time on charges of possessing lethal weapons and ammunition. (49/edt)