Skip to comments.Indonesian Mob Kills 12 Christians
Posted on 04/27/2002 10:03:10 PM PDT by Walkin Man
Indonesian Mob Kills 12 Christians
Mob Kills 12 Christians in Capital of Indonesia's Maluku Province, Threatening Peace Pact
The Associated Press
|JAKARTA, Indonesia April 28 A mob stabbed and burned to death 12 Christians in the religiously divided capital of Indonesia's Maluku province Sunday, witnesses said, in the worst violence since a fragile peace was forged earlier this year.
About a dozen people wearing military fatigues and black masks attacked mainly Christian Soya village on Ambon's outskirts, setting 30 homes and a Protestant church ablaze, a witness said.
The assailants stabbed six Christians to death, including a 6-month-old baby. Six others were killed in the fires. Witnesses said it was unclear if the attackers were Muslims.
The killings threatened to destroy a peace pact signed in February between warring Christians and Muslims. Three years of bloodshed left at least 9,000 dead.
The killings came two days after the commander of a militant Muslim group rejected the peace deal.
"The scene is horrible," said the witnesses, who arrived at the scene Sunday morning, on condition of anonymity. "I saw six bodies burned so badly you couldn't recognize them."
He said police were continuing to search the burned homes for more bodies. Police declined to comment on the attack or who might be behind it.
Tensions have run high in Ambon since the mostly Christian Maluku Sovereignty Front celebrated the 52nd anniversary of a failed independence bid Thursday. The group flew its independence flags angering Muslims who responded by burning down a partially rebuilt church.
Jafar Umar Thalib, the commander of the Islamic militant group Laskar Jihad, responded to the independence bid by urging his followers on Friday to ignore the peace deal.
The group which is believed to have shrunk to a few hundred men shares Osama bin Laden's anti-Western stance, but Thalib has denied any links to international terror.
Earlier this month, a bomb killed seven bystanders in a Christian part Ambon. It was the first major violation of the peace agreement.
Maluku province is about 1,600 miles east of Jakarta.
The peace-loving followers of the moon god strike again.
Yup, the barbarians are at the gate.
AMBON, Indonesia (AP) -- The leader of a militant Muslim militia in Indonesia's Maluku islands has told thousands of supporters to prepare for war against a mostly Christian separatist group.
Jafar Umar Thalib, the commander of the Laskar Jihad, urged his followers on Friday to reject a recent peace deal between Muslims and Christians that had mostly stemmed three years of religious fighting in the region.
"From today, we will no longer talk about reconciliation," he told around 5,000 people at mosque in the Maluku provincial capital, Ambon.
Earlier Friday, security forces fired warning shots to prevent the crowd from moving into a Christian section of the city. One person was injured, witnesses said.
Up to 9,000 people have been killed in the Malukus -- located 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles) east of Jakarta and known as the Spice Islands during Dutch colonial rule -- since fighting broke out in 1999.
Tensions have risen sharply this week in the run-up to anniversary celebrations by the Maluku Sovereignty Front, a small separatist group campaigning to make the southern part of the Maluku archipelago an independent nation.
Local Islamic groups accuse the front, which is mostly supported by Christians, of encouraging attacks on Muslims. They use the front's presence to justify their own militancy and have long demanded security forces crack down on it.
On Thursday, a Muslim mob torched a church after the front raised independence flags in the city. At least 6 people were injured in clashes with troops.
"Our ... focus now must be preparing for war -- ready your guns, spears and daggers," Thalib said.
Laskar Jihad joined the conflict in 2000 after arriving from Indonesia's main island of Java. It has been accused of having links to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, something which it and Indonesian officials deny.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Islamic nation. However, in Maluku -- which has a population of about two million people -- the balance between Christians and Muslims is almost even.
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