"I reckon the December 2011 issue was not comprehensively settled."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has criticised the local intelligence office in Sampang for failing to anticipate the Sampang incident that claimed the lives of two Shiite Muslims in Madura Island, East Java.

"I consider it [the efforts of intelligence agencies] to be not ideal. If the intelligence, in this case the local intelligence agencies of both the police and the military, had worked properly and appropriately, it [the violence] could have been avoided," he said at his office here on Monday.

The President noted that a similar incident had happened in December 2011, so the latest attack could have been anticipated.

"I reckon the December 2011 issue was not comprehensively settled," he added.

President Yudhoyono urged the local administrative authorities to help resolve the problems in Sampang permanently.

"To handle the problem, the central government and the East Java provincial administration must work in coordination," he pointed out.

"Hopefully, such violence can be prevented in the future," the head of state added.

A number of Shiite Muslims fled their villages after a mob of Islamic hardliners attacked them and set their houses on fire in Nangkernang, Karanggayam village, Omben sub-district, Sampang, last Sunday.

Two Shiite Muslims were reported killed and scores of others were injured in the incident in Omben on Sunday.

At present, there are 50 refugees - comprising women and children from Omben - accommodated at the Wijaya Kusuma Sport Hall in Sampang on East Java`s Madura Island after the Sunday attack.

The attack against the Shiite Muslims in Nanggernang, Karanggayam village, Omben sub-district, Sampang, was the second in the past two years.

In December 2011, an anti-Shiite group attacked a Shiite mosque, an Islamic boarding school, and a house belonging to a local Shiite leader.

More than 200 Shiite followers were moved to safer places, and a joint team of police and military officers was set up to help mediate the conflict.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2012