The country’s military commander warned on Sunday against anyone going to Ambon to wage jihad, echoing a call by the country’s highest Islamic authority following deadly clashes there last week.
Speaking in Jakarta at an event to mark the 66th anniversary of the Indonesian Military (TNI), Adm. Agus Suhartono said although the security forces could not forbid anyone from traveling to the Maluku capital, they were on high alert for anyone suspected of heading there to incite more violence.
“We ask everyone going to Ambon to respect the peace and refrain from disrupting the situation there,” he said.
“We’re staying on high alert for intruders. The situation is under control for now, but if we find anything suspicious we will act on it.”
The city was the scene of a violent clash on Sept. 11, in which eight people were killed, 67 were injured and more than 100 were forced to flee their homes.
The recent clash in Ambon was sparked by rumors that spiraled out of control after a motorcycle taxi driverwas involved in a fatal traffic accident.
The driver, who was Muslim, died from his injuries before he could reach the hospital, but a viral text message fueled false reports that he had been tortured and killed by Christians. That prompted a violent clash between two groups, one of which is believed to have included the deceased’s family, after his funeral last Sunday.