10/25/2004, 00.00
INDONESIA
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At least 15 bombs defused in a church in Ambon

Ambon (AsiaNews) – At 15 least home-made, low-explosive bombs were found in a suitcase in the Maranatha Protestant church which is located in the heart of Ambon City, the capital of Indonesia's Maluku (Moluccas) province.

Late on October 22, at the end of a religious gathering people noticed a suitcase. Since no one claimed ownership they became suspicious and called the police which found bombs that it defused.

Similar explosive devices had been found two days earlier in the Silo church, the oldest Protestant church and home to the largest Protestant congregation in Ambon City.

Both churches had seen fighting between Christians and Muslims in a bloody conflict that has lasted several years in Maluku.

On May 25 of this year, another bomb was found inside a flower pot across from the building hosting the Protestant Synod which is next door to the Maranatha church.

On December 26, 1999, the Silo church was the scene of another violent incident. A crowd of Muslims attacked Christians as they were celebrating a baptism.

Inter-communal fighting in Maluku has been going on since 1999 causing the death of more than 5,000 people and forcing another 500,000 to flee their homes.

In 2002 local Christians and Muslims signed a peace accord; however, hostilities have never fully stopped. (MH)

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