TITLE=INDONESIA / UNREST (L-ONLY)
INTRO: More violence occurred on the Indonesian
island Ambon on Tuesday. Ron Corben reports from
our Southeast Asia Bureau in Bangkok, the
fighting between Muslims and Christians triggered
an exodus of hundreds of civilians from Ambon's
strife torn capital.
TEXT: Sporadic violence continued Tuesday in the
Malukan provincial capital of Ambon.
The rampages are adding to the death and injury
toll from the strife between Christians and
Muslims that began last week on the nearby island
Several of the latest dead and wounded appear to
have been shot by security forces. The military
tried to prevent unrest by using barbed wire
fencing to keep rival groups separated. But the
effort was in vain.
Hundreds of civilians fled Ambon as a result of
the clashes Tuesday. Sounds of occasional
explosions echoed through the city and snipers
Media reports say at least one Japanese national
was shot during the unrest, although the extreme
violence of Monday appears to have abated.
The fighting, which took at least 33 lives Monday
continued into the night. Reports say a
Christian mob attacked a Muslim neighborhood in
the city's Diponegoro area using hand grenades
and home-made bombs.
At least 30 Muslims were killed Monday, including
an Indonesian army soldier. The troops are being
blamed for the deaths, as they opened fire with
automatic gun fire in a bid to halt the anarchy.
The latest clashes in Ambon, some twenty four
hundred kilometers east of Jakarta, began Sunday
evening after a bus driven by a Christian hit and
injured a Muslim youth.
In an indication of the intensity of the
violence, reports say several people were
decapitated by rival gangs and their bodies
dragged through the streets.
The main church in Ambon and a nearby mosque were
set ablaze. Scores of shops have also been put to
the torch in recent days.
Officials say at least 750 people have been
killed this year in religious clashes in the
province, famed during the Dutch colonial era as
the Spice Islands.
In a bid to curb the violence, over 400
Indonesian soldiers have left East Kalimantan for
Ambon to reinforce security in the city.
Meanwhile violence was reported as well in
Indonesia's western province of Aceh. Three
rebels were gunned down there Monday while trying
to ambush a car carrying security personnel. The
incident occurred in Seunedom village, some
seventeen hundred kilometers northwest of
The Antara news agency says the three were
believed to have been members of the Free Aceh
Movement, which has been fighting Indonesian rule
for the past quarter century.
28-Dec-1999 08:05 AM EDT (28-Dec-1999 1305 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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