Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Kalimantan asks TNI for help

BANJARMASIN, South Kalimantan: City administrations in Kalimantan have urged the Indonesian Military (TNI) to send a rapid deployment force to the province in anticipation of unrest.

The request was the highlight of the initial congress of the Association of City Administrations in Indonesian Region V overseeing Kalimantan, held here recently.

Also during the congress, Banjarmasin Mayor Sofyan Arpan was elected chairman of the organization.

The spokesman for the Banjarmasin administration, M. Arifin, told Antara news agency on Monday most mayors attending the congress were of the opinion that security in Kalimantan was at a historic low, evidenced by a number of recent ethnic clashes and mob attacks on state buildings and domestic and joint-venture companies.

"This anarchy was masterminded by individuals claiming to represent the public's interests," Arifin said.

He said the mayors did not believe the police had sufficient personnel to cope with the type of mass unrest that occurred in Pontianak at the end of last month.

"We want the government to allow the military to take quick action during an emergency without having to consult first with the police, because such a procedure takes time," Arifin said reading from a recommendation issued by the assembled mayors. (amd)