After three years of sporadic violence in various parts of the country, there is some good news coming out of Sulawesi. A truce between Christian and Muslim communities in Poso appears to have the support of both groups and hopes are high that it will succeed. Buildings that were destroyed in the conflict are being rebuilt, churches and mosques are under repair and citizens on both sides of the divide claim to be sick of the violence and ready to live again as respectful neighbors. The peace plan was mediated by the government and if it proves successful the same approach could be used in other troubled areas.
The remote eastern province of Irian Jaya has officially been renamed Papua as part of an autonomy deal aimed at quieting demands for independence. The region has suffered four decades of repressive military rule and agitation for independence has been widespread the past several years. In December an independence leader was murdered after attending a ceremony hosted by the army, and his killers are believed to be special forces officers. Whether the new laws granting greater autonomy to the region relieve the tensions remains to be seen.