Indonesian TV journalist killed covering clashes

New York, August 24, 2010–The Committee to Protect Journalists called on police in the eastern Indonesian province of Maluku today to thoroughly investigate Saturday’s death of journalist Ridwan Salamun, who was killed while covering violent clashes between local villagers. 

The Sun TV journalist was covering the conflict in the southeastern Tual area of the Maluku islands when he was attacked and stabbed repeatedly, according to local news reports, which didn’t clarify exactly who killed him. He died in a local hospital two hours later, according to the reports, which cited the Indonesian Television Journalists Association.

Maluku police told journalists they were pursuing suspects in the case, local news reports said.

“We send our condolences to Ridwan Salamun’s family and colleagues,”said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “Police must find and arrest the perpetrators of this shocking murder to send a clear message that violence against journalists will not be tolerated.”

Tensions had been running high between residents of two Tual villages, Banda Eli and Fiditan, with clashes on Thursday and Saturday resulting in damage to houses and at least one person receiving hospital treatment for injuries, according to The Jakarta Post. Violence was sparked when a Fiditan motorcyclist rode aggressively through the village of Banda Eli, according to The Jakarta Globe. The Globe said Ridwan Salamun’s family was from Banda Eli.