STT SETIA attacked

The following is translated from http://www.in-christ.net/stt_setia_diserang_massa. The article was posted on Monday, 28 July 2008, morning.

Arastamar Evangelical Theological School (SETIA) Jakarta, was attacked on Saturday, 26 July 2008, 11pm, by thousands of people armed with sharp weapons. Physical conflict happened, and a number were injured. Most of the people came from outside Kampung Pulo, and were not local residents.

The attack had been planned, as some of the attackers who came from outside the village had been staying in the residents’ houses before the attack. Police again failed to act with firmness, let alone anticipated it. Some of the students have been evacuated, and on Sunday night (27 July 2008), 500 students who were still at the residence hall of the school were evacuated.

Not only so, Christian residents who live in the village also fled to their relatives’ and friends’ houses, which were located outside the village.

According to the local residents, the attack was triggered by a trivial matter. A student had difficulty of finding way back to the campus. It was the school orientation period. The student wanted to ask a local resident, and at the same time there was a Muslim prayer going on at one of the residents’ houses. Some people shouted at him, calling him thief. He became the object of people’s rage and was handed to the police office.

The incident was then announced at a mosque in the vicinity of Kampung Pulo, where the school is located. “A student from STT SETIA has been caught stealing, and has been handed to the police.” After that, hundreds of people came to Kampung Pulo, dan stayed at the residents’ houses.

Around 70 people every day, before the attack, were passing by in the streets nearby the campus, with sharp weapons. The climax happened the following two days. On 26 July 2008, 11pm, STT SETIA was attacked. The students fought back. Those who came from Papua, used arrows to fight the attackers. Several times molotov cocktails were thrown to the campus area, but were able to be extinguished. The police seemed to be overwhelmed by the attack, and tried to evacuate the students. Yesterday night, students who were in RT 4 and RT 2, especially the female students, had been evacuated. The rest, around 500 students, were evacuated tonight, 27 July 2008.

If the police had been more responsive, the attack would not have happened, for before the attack about 70 people every day passed by with sharp weapons in front of the campus. The attack once again displayed the failure of the government to protect his people. Until now there has been no evidence that the student who was rained with blows from the residents really stole. Even if there was evidence, the attack towards STT SETIA still could not be justified.

Last year, one of the school’s residence halls was burned by people from Islamic Defender Front (FPI), and actually that was enough for the police to anticipate the attack.

STT SETIA’s students number about 1300. Now they are facing a difficult situation. The chair of the school is willing to move the school to another location, provided the government is willing to pay for the asset. Since the last evacuation, we do not know until when the school can be used again. Imagine what will happen with the thousand and so students.


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