Villagers attack immigration center in Gunung Putri
The Jakarta Post
30 June 2001
BOGOR (JP): Locals attacked an immigration center housing 150 illegal immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan on Thursday night, following the alleged assault of three locals by six foreigners.
Dayat, a villager, said on Friday that at about 9:15 p.m. on Thursday, Yanto and two of his friends were near the Palar immigration center, located in Tlajung Udik village, Gunung Putri district, Bogor, when six immigrants -- Maswan, Sangat, Assow, Musnab, Anas and Abidin -- passed by.
The locals greeted them, but the foreigners, who do not speak Indonesian, misunderstood and hit the three villagers, according to Dayat.
Yanto screamed for help, at which people in the neighborhood gathered to lend a hand.
Upon seeing so many villagers approaching, the six immigrants fled and returned to the center.
The angry locals then threw stones at the building, breaking the windows. They later dispersed after the police arrived and fired warning shots.
Dayat said the villagers had long resented the immigrants in the center because they often yelled and screamed, and that it also upset locals to see male foreigners occasionally take women, assumed to be prostitutes, into the center.
"They also often bother local girls," Dayat said.
Gunung Putri Police chief Insp. Poniman confirmed that the villagers had been involved in a fight with people staying at the immigration center.
He also confirmed that the police had fired warning shots to disperse the crowd. The situation began to calm down at about 11 p.m., he said.
Poniman said the illegal immigrants were under the supervision of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which is processing their applications for refugee status.
On Friday, he said, the villagers held a meeting with local public figures and UNHCR officials in a hall in Gunung Putri district. During the meeting, locals demanded that the immigrants be relocated to another area.
Separately, head of the Bogor immigration office, Amirull CH, accompanied by Yusron from the immigration control unit, said that UNHCR should be held responsible for the attack.
He said that the immigrants had been sent to Bogor from Kupang, Ujung Pandang, Irian, Karimun island and Tanjung Pinang.
The foreigners' misconduct had annoyed villagers, adding that angry residents had tried to burn down the center last year, he said.
Earlier reports said that a total of 1,558 foreigners illegally have entered Indonesia since early last year in hopes of reaching a third country.