The Indonesian Government has been increasingly active recently in its war against rebels - both political and religious.
The Indonesian Government has been increasingly active recently in its war against rebels - both political and religious. On April 5, 25,000 rebel troops in North Celebes were reported to have laid down their arms in a mass surrender that virtually extinguished the three-year old revolt there.
Their leader, Colonel Somba, formally capitulated at Amurang on the northern tip of the island. Eighty thousand weapons were said to have been handed over by the insurgents.
But the 'Darul Islam' religious movement had waged a longer, fiercer war on the island. In their campaign to establish an Islamic state they are reported to have looted, plundered and destroyed in their persistent attacks on villages in South Celebes. Operating from jungle hideouts, they were led by Kahar Muzakar whose headquarters were near Macassar.
With its soldiers deployed against rebels in Sumatra and North Celebes, the Indonesian Army had a difficult task in providing adequate protection for civilians in South Celebes. Continuous attacks on the strongholds of the 'Darul Islamists' however, ended recently with their surrender by the thousand. General Nasution, the Army Chief of Staff, negotiated personally in many of these mass surrenders.
After a mass surrender, there would come a ceremony in which all villagers would take part - the haircutting. The 'Darul Islamists' wore their hair extremely long- they had vowed not to cut it until they had established an Islamic state on the island.
Then came the immense job of rehabilitation, the task of convincing the rebels of their misguided approach, ending with them taking the oath of allegiance to the Republic of Indonesia. New villages and land had to be provided for them.