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More injured as shots, explosions heard in Ambon AMBON - At least 13 people have been injured as gunfire and explosions rocked the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon after week-long Muslim-Christian clashes that have left 37 people dead. Thirteen people were taken to Al Fatah hospital with burns and injuries caused by home-made bomb explosions just before dawn after fighting in three areas -- Tanah Lapang Kecil, Jalan Baru and Trikora, a hospital official said.
The city was generally calm later Friday with civil servants beginning to return to their offices and shops open. Residents queued at banks to withdraw cash. "We don't have cash any more at home and this will be a long weekend. I'm withdrawing cash just in case," a woman named Poppy told AFP. Monday is a public holiday. A banned parade by Christian separatists sparked off the bloodshed on Sunday in Ambon, the Maluku provincial capital.
The violence was the worst since a February 2002 pact ended three years of religious battles in which some 5,000 people died. About 180 people have been injured. Hundreds of homes and many other buildings including the United Nations mission were set ablaze. More than 2,000 Muslims and Christians have fled their homes, according to one crisis centre. Those who stayed behind remained confined to their respective sectors of the divided city behind makeshift street barricades. Snipers have fuelled terror, shooting dead two paramilitary policemen on Tuesday and wounding a young man on Thursday.
National police spokesman Inspector General Paiman told reporters in Jakarta that police in Ambon would conduct door-to-door searches for weapons starting Friday. "Police will carry out sweeps in areas where shootings are still taking place, such as Tanah Lapang Kecil," Paiman said. Acting security minister Hari Sabarno told reporters late Thursday that "hopefully things will return to normal in coming days". The military said it would stop Islamic fighters from travelling to Ambon to inflame the situation.
Thousands of radical fighters, including some from the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group, joined the Muslim side in the previous conflict. Police have arrested more than 30 Christian separatist supporters. Sabarno said Thursday their leaders would be flown to Jakarta for questioning. Officials have portrayed the clashes as between independence supporters and opponents, rather than Christian-Muslim battles. Indonesia's population is 87 percent Muslim but Christians and Muslims live in roughly equal numbers in the Malukus.


Link to related event Related event:
Violence in Maluku


Posted in Maluku conflict @ 30 April 2004 00:03 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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