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    » 08/01/2014, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Moluccas, fresh fears of Muslim-Christian clashes: 4 dead, dozens of homes ablaze

    Mathias Hariyadi

    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.

    Ambon (AsiaNews) - The sectarian violence that rocked Ambon, the capital of the Indonesian province of Maluku, yesterday has left 4 people dead and at least 20 homes burned to the ground, which fortunately had been evacuated before the fire. It is still unclear what caused the outbreak of tension that pitted the two groups of local residents against each other, but the government was forced to send 300 soldiers in riot gear in an effort to minimize the damage.

    The two groups clashed in the village of Seith, on the coastline of the sub-district of Leihitu: they attacked each other with stones and sharp weapons, then set the homes of their rivals on fire. The day before, similar violence exploded in the village of Way Galih, but without causing casualties.

    Authorities fear that the violence could be a throwback to the long period of tensions between the Islamists and the Protestant Christian community, which left thousands dead on both sides and churches and mosques destroyed. In 2002 political authorities succeeded in quelling the violence and in persuading the parties to sign a peace agreement that until now seemed to have held up well.

     

     

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    See also

    16/05/2012 INDONESIA
    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.

    14/12/2011 INDONESIA
    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".

    12/09/2011 INDONESIA
    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.

    13/02/2012 INDONESIA
    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.

    16/10/2014 INDONESIA
    Moluccas: in the footsteps of St. Francis Xavier, to revive Christian-Muslim dialogue
    In the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio and hundreds of priests, the statue dedicated to the Spanish Jesuit was inaugurated. A hotbed of violence in the past, the area is essential to promote the message of coexistence. Muslim governor of the Moluccas: "Diversity is a blessing that should not be eliminated, but maintained and preserved".



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