Nias children to be reunited with parents

Friday, June 17, 2005
By nias

Friday, June 17, 2005 Abdul Khalik and Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Bogor

Ten young children from Nias, brought to Jakarta on Tuesday without proper documents, will soon be returned to their parents, pending identification of their families and addresses in the earthquake-ravaged island.

Jakarta police said on Thursday that the children were currently staying at the government-run orphanage in Bambu Apus, East Jakarta.

"All of them are healthy. After discussions with the ministry of social affairs, we decided to put them in an orphanage under the ministry's auspices," Comr. Edi Tambunan, chief of women and children affairs at the city police, said.

He said that his team and a local non-governmental organization (NGO) in Nias were now trying to locate the parents because nobody else had the right to take care of them.

Jakarta police arrested on Tuesday four people identified as Hendra, Hikua, Yohana and Halana. They then took the 10 children away from them the group after they had all arrived together at Tanjung Priok port, presumably after taking the children off of Nias.

The children have been identified as Adil Putra Jaya Lombu, 3, Fiberman Lombu, 7, Pontianu Lombu, 4, Beziduhu Lombu, 6, Jois Dorkas Orienti Lombu, 4, Yuferius Lombu, 8, Miralina Lombu, 7, Yujuniman Lombu, 7, Jhoni Alexander Hululu, 5, and Dirman Pati Yulianu Ulu, 7.

The police discovered that the four adults did not have the necessary documents to take the kids from Nias island.

Suspecting that the four were part of a child trafficking syndicate, with the intention to sell them overseas, the police detained them and interrogated them.

It was found that the four were staff members from a group called the Youth Foundation (YWAM) based in Cipayung, East Jakarta and the Nation's Hope Foundation (YHB), based in Parung, Bogor, where the children were headed.

"After interrogating them for hours we had to release them as we found that other people had told them to bring the children to Jakarta. However, we are still keeping an eye on them. We suspect two men identified as Edo and Benni were responsible," Edi surmised.

The officers here also contacted the Nias police and a local NGO to locate the two men, he said.

Edi added that the police had not declared any suspects in the case as they were still searching for more evidence.

Meanwhile, the Bogor police arrested on Thursday YHB's chairwoman Yuniati, alias Aryanti, for illegally caring for nine children from Nias, one from Pontianak, one from Kupang and one from Palembang.

"We discovered that the foundation had no permits. So, they have no right to keep the children. They said that they were going to help the children go to school, but we don't care because they have no permits to take care of the children," avowed Parung subprecinct chief Adj. Comr. Rudi Hartono.

Rudi added that they would charge Yuniati with Article 9 of Law No. 23/2002 on child protection.

Fears of child trafficking also grew following the Dec. 26 tsunami, which displaced hundreds of thousands of families.

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