Indonesians demand compensation for massacre by Dutch soldiers

This video says about itself:

14 September 2011

A Dutch court is expected to rule if survivors of a massacre carried out more than 60 years ago will get compensation.

According to Indonesian researchers, Dutch troops wiped out almost the entire male population of a village in West Java, two years before the former colony declared independence in 1949.

No, Indonesia declared independence in 1945. However, the Dutch government only recognized independence after four years of colonial war in 1949.

Most Indonesians do not know about the massacre that took place in Rawagede.

Only recently has a monument been built to remind residents that Dutch soldiers killed all the men of the village.

The only living witnesses are now in their 80s, and illiterate, after having to fend for themselves following the deaths of their husbands.

“There were dead bodies everywhere, many of which we found in the river after the shooting stopped,” said Cawi, a survivor.

Of the nine widows and survivors who have filed the case, three have died while waiting for the verdict.

The Dutch government has admitted that war crimes were committed in Rawagede but it says the survivors filed their claims for compensation too late.

They should have done this within 30 years after the atrocities were committed, says the Dutch government.

It is now up to the judge to decide whether it is justified to have a time limit on war crimes.

The massacre in Rawagede is not the only village where the Netherlands has an unresolved dark history.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen reports from Rawagede.

Translated from daily De Telegraaf in the Netherlands:

Thursday 28 August 2014 11:25
Children in Sulawesi saw executions

THE HAGUE – Monji saw on January 28, 1947 as a boy of 9 or 10 years old, that Indonesian men from Suppa village were beaten, stripped and shot by Dutch troops in South Sulawesi. The bodies were piled up and buried in holes in the ground. Eventually, 208 people were killed.

Another child who witnessed the extrajudicial killings was Paturusi (82) from the village Bulukumba. She saw that her father, a civil servant, had fled into the forest but had came out again. He was then executed. This Thursday they are two of the three children of then entering the court in The Hague. They demand a compensation of 20,000 euros from the Dutch government.

The government does not want to grant the children of executed people any compensation, as previously happened to widows of men killed.

According to lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld a statute of limitations does not apply. The children are also, like before, the widows, survivors directly involved and they are just as much victims of executions as widows. According to Zegveld it has been a very traumatic experience for the children to see their dead fathers.

Zegveld represents five children and 18 widows who have not yet received any compensation. … The widows have refused a settlement because the attorney’s fees would be deducted from their remuneration.

Indonesian survivors of colonial killing sue Dutch government

This video is called Shocking story of Dutch war veteran in Indonesia.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, about the 1945-1949 colonial war in Indonesia:

Sulawesi children sue Dutch government

Update: Monday 23 Sep 2013, 08:47

Five children of men who in 1947 in South Sulawesi were executed by Dutch soldiers have sued the Dutch government. They say that they, like the widows of the victims, are entitled to compensation.

With ten widows a settlement of 20,000 euros has been agreed. During the military actions between 1945 and 1949 their husbands were summarily executed. This scheme is supposed to be extended to all executions of that time.

Regarding the children the Dutch government claims the period of limitation has passed. The foundation on Dutch debts of honour compares their situation to that of the widows.

Dutch war crimes in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Some of the Indonesian prisoners of Dutch soldiers

By Batara R. Hutagalung, Founder and Chairman of the Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts:



The Galung Lombok Massacre. Commemoration 2013

On February 1, 1947, the Dutch special troops, Depot Speciale Troepen massacred more than 700 villagers in the village of Galung Lombok, District of  Polewali Mandar, West Sulawesi. The victims were from the surrounding villages of Galung Lombok, from the District of Polewali Mandar and the District of Majene.

(List of the names of the victims from booth districts, see:

In connection with this horrific humanitarian tragedy, the people of the West Sulawesi Province will hold the 2nd Congress of the People of Mandar on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at the Assammalewuang Building, Jl. Jend. Gatot Subroto, Majene – West Sulawesi.

The Governor of the Province of West Sulawesi, H. Anwar Adnan Shaleh will open the Congress.

Keynote speaker: Salim Mengga, Chairman of the Organisation of the People of Mandar, West Sulawesi

Speakers: 1. Drs. H. Hamzah H. Hasan, Chairman of the Parliament of West Sulawesi.
2. Brig. Gen. (ret.) H. Jawas Jusuf, son of a victim of the massacre.
3. Prof. DR. Edward   L. Poelinggomang, Historian at the Hassanuddin University, Makassar.
4. Mulyo Wibisono, SH., MSc, Chairman of the Advisory Board of The Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts.
5. H. Zainuddin, eye witness.
6. Batara R. Hutagalung, Founder and Chairman of The Committee of Dutch Honorary Debts.

To commemorate the killings of more than 700 villagers, on Sunday, February 3, 2013 a commemoration will be held at the Monument of Galung Lombok.

For the first time, a reconstruction of the massacre will be held in a theatrical performance.

More than one thousand people of the Province of West Sulawesi and the Province of South Sulawesi will attend the commemoration.

The Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia, HE Tjeerd de Zwan is also invited to  attend the congress and the commemoration.

Some Dutch sources about the massacre in Galung Lombok, see:

To see the pictures, please click:


Dutch apologise for Indonesian executions: here.

New Indonesian rat species discovery

Shrew-rat, photo Esselstyn, Achmadi  & Rowe

From DISCOVER Magazine:

Newly discovered rat that can’t gnaw or chew

If you only looked at mammals, you could reasonably believe that the chisellers have inherited the earth. Of all the various species of mammals, forty percent are rodents. Rats, mice, squirrels, guinea pigs… all of them have the same modus operandi. They gnaw their way into their food with self-sharpening chisel-like teeth.

Whether tiny gerbil or huge capybara, rodents eat with the same special teeth. The upper and lower jaws each have a single pair of incisors that grow continuously through their lives. The front of each tooth is made from hard enamel, while the back is made of soft dentine. As the rodent gnaws, the incisors scrape at each other, and the dentine wears away faster than the enamel. This creates a permanently sharp edge, useful for cracking into wood, nuts and flesh alike. Once gnawed, the rodent passes its food to the back of their mouths to be chewed by grinding molars.

But on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, Jacob Esselstyn has discovered a new species of rodent that radically departs from this universal body plan: a “shrew-rat” that he calls Paucidentomys vermidax.Its name –a mash-up of Latin and Greek—gives a clue to its lifestyle. It means “worm-devouring, few-toothed mouse”.

The shrew-rat is just a few inches long, with small eyes, large ears, and a soft coat. Its most distinctive feature, however, is its long snout, reminiscent of the distantly related shrews that it is named after. At the end of the snout, the lower jaw has the usual flat-edged incisors, but the upper jaw has a pair of bicuspids (like the ones next to your pointed canines). And that’s it. Unlike every other rodent, this one has no molars—just four incisors, nothing else.

There are other shrew-rats in Indonesia and the Philippines, and while all of them have lost the ability to gnaw, none have features quite as extreme as Esselstyn’s new find. (All of them, for example, have molars.) They’re an odd group, united by their common long-snouted appearance rather than by any evolutionary similarities. Rather than forming one unified branch of the rodent family tree, the shrew-rats represent twigs on separate branches. They evolved their odd shapes independently.

Shrew-rats typically eat earthworms and other soft-bodied creatures that don’t require gnawing teeth. That’s exactly what Esselstyn’s new species does. He collected two of the animals in March 2011, and when he examined the stomach contents of one, he found earthworms and nothing else.

Esselstyn thinks that the shrew-rat has lost the ability to chew and gnaw because it only eats soft prey. It only needs teeth for capturing food rather than processing it. As such, it has lost everything except for two front incisors, used to snag worms and cut them into easy-to-swallow pieces. Like the lost limbs of snakes and whales, the missing teeth of the shrew-rat are a reminder that evolution disposes of body parts that are no longer useful, and that those same losses can open up new opportunities.

Reference: Esselstyn, Achmadi & Rowe. 2012. Evolutionary novelty in a rat with no molars. Biology Letters.

See also here. And here. And here.

New Indonesian bat discovery

This video from Australia is called Cute baby Fruit Bat.

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of fruit bat discovered in Indonesia

New bat found on Sulawesi but in danger from hunting and trapping

August 2012. A new species of fruit bat has been discovered in Indonesia. In the genus Thoopterus, T. suhaniahae has been found on the islands of Sulawesi, Talaud and Wowoni in Indonesia.

The new species of Thoopterus is a medium-sized fruit bat found in Sulawesi and small adjacent island groups. It is found in primary forest at middle and low land altitudes. The discovery of a second species of Thoopterus endemic to Sulawesi and adjacent islands provides further evidence that Sulawesi is a ‘hot spot’ of bat evolution.

Unfortunately, ongoing large scale hunting and trapping of fruit bats in the north and parts of Central Sulawesi and elsewhere, seriously endangers the survival of this species as well as other fruit bats on these islands.

See also here.

Indicator Bats Program: Online tool to identify European bat calls: here.

Bats Evolved More Than One Way to Drink Nectar: here.

Bats threatened by climate change: here.

Bats Track and Exploit Changes in Insect Pest Populations: here.

New Indonesian rodent species discovery

This video says about itself:

Sulawesi (Indonesia) – Researchers from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” discover a new mammal species in montane tropical rainforest. A new mammal species has been discovered in the Mekkonga mountains, a mountain range in the southeast of Sulawesi (Indonesia). Scientists estimate that something like 8-10 million of species are yet to be discovered. Even if the discovery of invertebrates is a relatively frequent event in a planet by centuries of explorations, the discovery of a new mammal species is quite a rare event.The new species is an arboreal rodent belonging to the genusMargaretamys, denominated Margaretamys christinae, which has been captured during an expedition carried out between December 2010 and March 2011.

From Wildlife Extra:

New mammal species discovered in Indonesia

Researchers from “La Sapienza”, the University of Rome, have discovered a new mammal species in montane tropical rainforest of Indonesia

July 2012. A new mammal species has been discovered in the Mekkonga mountains in the southeast of Sulawesi (Indonesia). The new species is an arboreal rodent belonging to the genus Margaretamys, and has been named Margaretamys christinae.

The new species was captured at 1537 m in tropical montane rainforest. The genus Margaretamys (Muridae) now contains 4 species, all endemic of Sulawesi and all adapted to arboreal life. The species are of conservation concern since two of them are listed as “Endangered” and “Vulnerable” in the IUCN red list.


From the zoogeographic point of view this find confirms the adaptive radiation of rodents in the mountains of Sulawesi; the new species has been proposed as “Endangered” for the IUCN red list.

Tough going in The Mekkonga Mountains

The goal of the expedition was to explore the Mekkonga mountains, following the footsteps of the 1932 expedition by the German explorer Gerd Heinrich. Due to the lack of data, information on the conservation status and survival of the mammal species discovered by Heinrich was unknown. In addition to the discovery of a new mammal species it was possible to confirm the persistence of Prosciurillus abstrusus a ground squirrel endemic to the Mekkonga mountains and of a species of Maxomys, also endemic of the mountain range.

The field expedition was carried out by Alessio Mortelliti in collaboration with some inhabitants of nearby villages, which were crucial for finding the way through the thick tropical rainforest of the Mellonga mountains.

The description of the species has been carried out in collaboration with Dr. Riccardo Castiglia, researcher at the Universoty of Rome “La Sapienza”, Giovanni Amori (CNR-ISE), Ibnu Maryanto (LIPI – Bogor) and Guy G. Musser (American Museum of Natural History, NY). The discovery has been the focus of a scientific paper and will thus appear in Volume 25 of the scientific journal Tropical Zoology.

Dutch war crimes in Indonesia, photos

Three Indonesians get killed, © Album Jacobus R.

Dead Indonesians in a ditch, two Dutch soldiers looking, © Album Jacobus R.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

First ever pictures of executions by the Dutch army in Indonesia

10/07/12, 07:35 – source: Lidy Nicolasen

For the first time in history, photos have surfaced of executions, which were most likely carried out by the Dutch army during the police actions

police actions” is a Dutch governmental euphemism for the war which Dutch armed forces waged against the Indonesian republic (independence proclaimed in 1945)

in the former Dutch East Indies. The photographs are from the private album of a soldier who served as a conscript in the Dutch East Indies.

In the pictures we see the liquidation of three Indonesians. They stand with their backs to the firing squad at the edge of a ditch when they are shot. The trench is filled with corpses of executed people, according to a second photo. On the left side are two Dutch soldiers, recognizable by their uniforms.

Never before

Experts from the war studies institute NIOD and the Dutch Institute for Military History (NIMH) say such photographs have never before been seen. “They are not everyday pictures and certainly not every Dutch soldier who went to the Indies Military brought such pictures home,” said an employee of the NIMH. The NIOD also did not know about this kind of pictures, said René Kok. “We have lots of albums here. You’re waiting for the moment that such a picture turns up and that is now. Previously I have never seen this.”

The historians which we consulted do not doubt the authenticity. The exact location nor the circumstances of the execution are known. Possibly further research will provide more details.

The author is a soldier from Enschede. He is now deceased. He was sent to Indonesia in 1947, shortly before the first police action, and he only returned in 1950, after the Netherlands had recognized Indonesian sovereignty. He served in the artillery. The official military history of his armed forces branch does not mention executions. Supposedly, the artillery only assisted the infantry and the Special Forces, who did do executions.

Well known executions were in the Javanese village Rawagede and in South Sulawesi. Last year, the families of the victims of Rawagede were awarded damages by the Dutch government. The Dutch state has yet to respond to the lawsuit filed against the extrajudicial killings in South Sulawesi. How many Indonesians died in both actions is not known.

The soldier had never publicized the existence of the photos. His albums would have remained unknown if they would not have been found recently in a dumpster in Enschede. Who had thrown them there is not known.