» 12/14/2011, 00.00
Ambon, more Muslim-Christian violence: 16 injured, houses burnt
More unrest in the Moluccas, long-time site of sectarian clashes. Police seize weapons, including Molotov cocktails, arrows and machetes. On December 12, two wounded in an ambush. The central government condemns the incidents and calls for respect for the law. Army chief claims the situation is "under control".
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - 16 people were wounded, one from a gunshot wound to the chest, in sectarian violence in the city of Ambon, the capital of the Moluccas. At dawn yesterday two opposing factions, separated by a road, clashed in a bitter battle at the end of which some houses were set on fire. Local sources said that the violence began late in the evening of December 12, with an exchange of insults and the throwing of fire bombs between the two opposing camps. Overnight, the situation degenerated to the point of urban warfare, only quelled by police intervention. Officers seized several weapons including Molotov cocktails and "traditional" arrows, machetes and spears.
Yesterday’s clashes followed just 24 hours after a previous episode of violence: on December 12 two people were seriously injured, following a knife attack, so far the police are not able to identify the assailants. Ambon police chief, Soeharwiyono, said yesterday that the violence is linked to the events of 11 September, when street clashes broke out between the Muslim majority and Christian minority.
The clashes were triggered by the accidental death of a Muslim taxi driver. The rumor spread among the Islamic community that he had been attacked by Christians and, in street battles that ensued, nine people were killed and 60 others injured. In late September, however, the police found three pipe bombs inside the Maranatha Protestant church, near the local bus station. The intervention of bomb disposal units averted further bloodshed.
Meanwhile in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, the political controversy surrounding yesterday’s violence is mounting: Djoko Suyanto, ex army chief and Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs strongly condemns the incident, at the same time, he has ordered the governor of the Moluccas and the chief of security in the region to "take appropriate measures" to contain further outbreaks of tension. In Jakarta Indonesian army chief Agus Suharto claims that the situation is now "under control".
Moluccas: three dead and 60 wounded in clashes between Christians and Muslims
Accidental death of a Muslim taxi driver in Ambon sparks violence. The Islamic community spread the rumour that he had been attacked by Christians. Police intervention restores calm, but some stray bullets killed two people. Houses and properties of religious minority burned.
Maluku, Christian neighborhood attacked
Unidentified persons set fire to houses and cars. Dozens of families have fled their homes for fear of new attacks. The clashes began last May 14 during the celebrations of the Indonesian hero Thomas Matulessy. Police rule out the Islamists.
Moluccas, fresh fears of Muslim-Christian clashes: 4 dead, dozens of homes ablaze
In Ambon, security forces intervene in riot gear. The fear is that this is a flashback of the violence that, until 2002, divided Islamists and Protestant Christians, causing thousands of innocent deaths.
Maluccas, clashes between Islamic groups: at least five dead and 300 houses burnt
The violence erupted in the night between 11 and 12 February in the village of Pelauw, about an hour from Ambon. A disagreement on the ritual to bless a house sparked the confrontation. AsiaNews sources said that the dead could be "over 11".Thousands of evacuees seeking food and shelter.
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The causes of the shooting are unclear; the event sparked panic in Poso, where inter-faith tension is rife.
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