Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Inter-ethnic violence in Borneo (2001)

The conflict involving ethnic Dayaks and Madurese had seized the world's attention and became a dark history for humanitarian events in Indonesia. It did not occur suddenly, there was a series of events that preceded it and had not been resolved completely.

This time the violence erupted in Sampit, the largest timber port in Indonesia. Sampit is a typical, red-necked frontier town where relations between the local population and newcomers have long been tense.

The disturbances began in late February 2001 in Central Kalimantan. On the night of 17 February, a Dayak house was reportedly burned down. As word spread that Madurese were responsible, a gang of Dayak youths attacked a Madurese neighborhood.

Thousands of Dayaks attacked the Madurese. There was violence and killing in almost all villages. The disturbances began in Sampit City and spread to Kuala Kapuas, Pangkalan Bun and Palangka Raya. More than 400 Madurese died and 80 000 people were forced to leave Kalimantan.

The Madurese tribe had existed for a long time in Sampit, although there were no official documents, but some said that they had existed since the Japanese occupation in 1942 to 1943. Then there was a large-scale entry when developed Trans-Kalimantan road with many employs as rude labor.

Two years before, in February 1999, a similar disturbance erupted in West Kalimantan in the Sambas district. In this conflict, the Dayaks helped the Malays to fight the Madurese. An official record has noted that 200 people died in this bloody conflict.

The history wrote that Madurese people did not make any adjustment toward the culture of Dayak people as the host. There were several conflicts occurred in Kotawaringin Timur between the two ethnic groups.

Series of personal conflict and violence between Dayak and Madurese showed that social interaction between these two did not occur as it should be. There was tension between the two ethnic groups since particular system of value that was effective in the indigenous area had been violated.
Inter-ethnic violence in Borneo (2001)

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