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DATE=12/28/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=INDONESIA / UNREST (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-257557 BYLINE=RON CORBEN DATELINE=BANGKOK CONTENT= VOICED AT: 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 of Buru. 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 exchanged gunfire. 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 Jakarta. 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. NEB/RC/FC 28-Dec-1999 08:05 AM EDT (28-Dec-1999 1305 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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