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In Between Military and Militia: The Dynamics of the Security Forces in the Communal Conflict in Ambon

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This article presents and discusses the role of the security forces in the communal conflict in Ambon, Indonesia. Though it shares the view articulated by many scholars and social obervers that the security forces played partisan roles in prolonging the Ambon conflict, it criticizes the tendency to overstate their role and see them as a single homogenous actor. Based on extensive research and fieldwork, this paper argues that the dynamics of the role of the security forces in the conflict in Ambon evolved in concert with the dynamics of the conflict itself and was influenced by both local and national factors and their respective actors. It also examines the issue in the context of civil-military relations in the aftermath of the collapse of the authoritarian regime, with particular attention paid to its impact on security sector reform.


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