Lombok Ahmadiyah Families Lodge Complaint Over Lost Homes

Gegerung, Indonesia - Members of the beleaguered Ahmadiyah Islamic sect have filed a police report over the destruction of their homes on Friday by residents of Gegerung village in West Lombok district.

The village’s Ahmadiyah community was first driven out by angry residents in 2006, and has since been forced to live at a temporary shelter in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara’s capital.

On Nov. 19, the authorities evicted 12 families who had since returned, following threats against them by the residents, and a week later, the villagers made good on their word and destroyed 22 homes that had been abandoned by the fleeing families.

Police failed to prevent the destruction or arrest anyone, despite having deployed 100 personnel to the area.

On Saturday, six Ahmadis reported the case to the West Lombok Police, citing Rp 735 million ($80,000) in damages.

They said that while they had long accepted their persecution as a test, they would not stand for any criminal acts.

“Our people can no longer go back to their homes that were attacked by the mob, for almost none of them are now fit for habitation,” said Nasiruddin Ahmadi, one of the complainants.

He added he hoped the police would follow up the case and bring to justice those responsible for the destruction.

West Lombok Police’s operations head, Comr. Deky Subagio, pledged his office would investigate the case just like any other. He added that police had long attempted to secure the situation in Gegerung. “But it was difficult to prevent the villagers destroying the homes because most of them were kids,” he said.

Deky also denied reports that police had not tried to prevent the destruction. “We did our best to contain the situation, and we’re continuing to take all measures to secure the area,” he said.

He called on the Ahmadis staying at the transit shelter in Mataram to hold off any planned return to Gegerung until the animosity had died down.

There are now 183 Ahmadis, or 72 families, staying at the shelter, up from the initial 133 people who were driven out of Gegerung during the 2006 incident.