Ambon – The Saparua sub-district sectoral police in Central Maluku regency have arrested two sympathisers of the South Maluku Republic (RMS) for raising the RMS independence flag in Negeri Ulath, East Saparua, Maluku.
"The arrests took place on Saturday May 15 at 10 am local time after two RMS flags were flown on Saturday at 2.30 am", said Saparua sectoral police chief Deputy Police Commissioner Roni F. Manawan in an official release late Saturday afternoon.
The two people arrested were AP (32) and ML (43), who are farmers from Ulath.
Manawan said that the case began when Negeri Ulath Bhabinkamtibmas (police security and public order supervisory officer) member Chief Brigadier Jhodi Manukuley received information from Ulath Village resident FP (60) alias Enang about RMS flags being flown.
Manukuley then went to the location and found four two-metre wide RMS flags flying. Two flags were flying from a Mango tree behind the home of Ape Manuputty at 2.30 am and two other flags were found flying in front of the house of Ulath Village State Secretary Wempy Telehala at 9.55 am.
Two members of the Maluku Sovereignty Front (FKM), which is affiliated with the RMS, were arrested after putting up the RMS flag on the 204th anniversary of Pattimura.
"The four RMS flags were taken down at 3 am [sic] and have been secured by the Bhabinkamtibmas member", said Manawan.
Following their arrest, AP and ML, along with the four flags as evidence, were immediately taken to the Ambon municipal police escorted by fully armed members of the Ambon police.
AP and ML confessed to police that they obtained the flags from a local resident named Enang Patty who claimed he obtained the flags from the late Yohan Teterisa alias Yoyo in front of the Swalayan Mega Top supermarket in 2018.
Earlier on Saturday at 12 midnight, the Ambon municipal government held a holy contemplation event at the Ambon city square to commemorate the 204th anniversary of the 1817 Pattimura revolt and massacre.
The event was led personally by Ambon Mayor Richard Louhenapessy. Tomorrow, people in Saparua will also commemorate the anniversary at the Independence Square. (sai/eks)
[Translated by James Balowski. Abridged slightly due to repetition. The original title of the article was "2 Simpatisan Pengibar Bendara RMS Ditangkap".]