Ten Wounded in Fresh Unrest in Indonesia Ambon City

Published November 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

At least 10 people were wounded and 21 feared missing after repeated attacks by armed Muslim mobs in Indonesia's riot-torn Ambon island, church officials said Monday. 

Dozens of armed Jihad (Holy War) members "attacked a speedboat loaded with Christians near Haruku island" on Monday, said Sammy Waileruni of the Christian Maranatha church in Ambon city. 

"Four people were wounded in the attacks which occurred early in the morning. They are now being treated in Oma village in Haruku island," Waileruni told AFP by telephone. 

The speedboat had been on its way to Masohi, the capital of Seram island, just northeast of Ambon island. Haruku island is midway between Ambon and Seram. 

The Jihad troops also launched three separate attacks on Christian boats carrying hundreds of residents of Ambon's Galala district later on Monday, he said. 

"A total of six people were wounded in the three attacks while 21 people are feared to be missing since one of the boats had veered off toward the (open) sea," Waileruni said. 

He said the residents, who were trying to reach the city's Gudang Arang district, had taken the boats because they could no longer use land routes as they would have to pass several Muslim villages. 

A duty soldier at Ambon's military headquarters, Major Ahmad Tholib, confirmed the attacks to AFP, but he could not confirm the number of casualties. 

Waileruni added Ambon -- which has been relatively peaceful since the last attack on October 24 -- was "tense" on Monday afternoon as mobs of Christian and Muslim youths were seen roaming around the city. 

"Troops have closed roads that lead to the Christian's Pohon Pule area in the city to anticipate possible attacks," he added. 

The Maluku islands have been torn apart by almost two years of Muslim-Christian conflict, which has left some 4,000 people of both faiths dead and a trail of destruction. 

In June, Jakarta imposed a state of civil emergency in the Malukus and the North Malukus, which allowed the governor to declare certain areas closed or under isolation but it has so far failed to rein in the violence. 

The violence has created more than half a million refugees, many of whom have fled to other islands and provinces -- JAKARTA (AFP)  




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