Revisiting Peacebuilding in the Land of Jihad: Comparing Ambon and Poso, Eastern Indonesia

Dr M. Najib Azca

3Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Protracted religious communal violence had taken place in two areas of eastern Indonesia, namely Ambon in Maluku province and Poso in Central Sulawesi, during the early stages of democratic transition in Indonesia. Although peace accords have been achieved in the areas (in 2001 for Poso and in 2002 for Maluku) peacebuilding was not completed immediately. Rather, another significant incident of violence unfolded in the city of Ambon in September 2011 and a series of terrorism attacks continued in Poso until 2007, with a small group of jihadists still launching sporadic attacks until recently. Based on several fieldwork trips to both areas since 2002, this paper will revisit peacebuilding in the two lands of jihad: Ambon and Poso. It will argue that the differing outcomes for peacebuilding efforts in the two areas are consequence of two main factors: the different character of non-local violent actors (salafi-jihadi actors in Poso; salafi-non jihadi actors in Ambon) and the different socio-economic types and characters of these places (small town of Poso and urban city of Ambon).

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