Moluccans angry at medals for soldiers who ended hijack
Saturday 09 June 2012
The South Moluccan government in exile is angry about government plans to give medals to the soldiers who ended the hijack of a train by Moluccan activists in May 1977, news agency ANP reports.
Six hijackers and two passenger were killed when soldiers blasted the train with bullets after a 20 day stand-off. According to some reports, 15,000 bullets were fired at the train to end the hijacking.
The organisation’s website describes the decision to give medals to the soldiers as ‘inappropriate and outrageous’ given the violence.
Nos television says there is also criticism of the decision from the military. Former army commander in chief Dick Berlijn, who was involved in the operation as a young soldier, has described the move as ‘unfortunate’ because it ignores the feelings of the Moluccans themselves.
According to a defence ministry spokesman quoted by Radio Netherlands, the medal ‘is not aimed against any community but is for the bravery of the soldiers who ended a terrorist action.’
Nine armed Moluccans took over the train close to De Punt in Drenthe in an effort to force the Dutch government to recognise an independent South Molucca, as it had promised during Indonesia independence talks. Four other Moluccans took over a primary school in Drenthe at the same time, but gave themselves up.
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