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May 17, 2021, 08.35 PM - Indonesia's Saparua District Police arrested three people for raising the flag of the South Maluku Republic (RMS) separatist movement in Negeri Ulath, Central Maluku, Maluku province. 

Two sympathizers identified by the initial AP, 32, and ML, 43, are farmers in Negeri Ulath. Both of them, who were arrested on Saturday, May 15, at 10 am local time, are now detained at the local police's detention center.      

The other sympathizer, FP, was arrested Sunday, May 16, after raising the pro-independence flag during the 204th anniversary of Pattimura Day to celebrate the national hero Kapitan Pattimura. 

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"We have also arrested another perpetrator after conducting further investigation," quoted Saparua District Police head Police Commissioner Adjutant Roni F. Manawan as saying on Sunday, May 16.

The arrest took place after the authority obtained information from the community police officer in Negeri Ulath.

The flags were hoisted in front of residents' houses twice. Two flags were hung on the mango tree behind Ape Manuputty's house at 2:30 am, while the other two flags were flown in front of the house of the Secretary of Negeri Ulath, Wempy Telehala, at 9:55 am.

RMS is a separation movement centered in the islands of Ambon, Buru, and Seram in Maluku province. Decades ago, the involvement of the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) in the movement had sparked suspicion from the Indonesian side regarding Dutch interference in the establishment of the RMS.

Led by then former Attorney General for the State of East Indonesia (NIT), Chris Soumokil, the group declared an independent republic in April 1950. However, in November 1950 the RMS was defeated by the Indonesian forces. This was also one of the efforts to prevent the Dutch from occupying Maluku.  

(Writer: Verelladevanka Adryamarthanino | Editor: Khairina, Nibras Nada Nailufar)


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