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More paramilitaries sent to troubled Ambon, toll rises to 38 AMBON - Another 100 paramilitary police have been sent to the troubled Indonesian city of Ambon as the death toll from a week of violence between Christian separatists and Muslims rose to 38. An 18-year-old man shot in the head by a sniper on Wednesday died from his wounds overnight at the Al Fatah hospital, a doctor there said. Authorities had on Saturday said that 37 people had died in a renewal of clashes which killed 5,000 over three years until a pact was signed in February 2002.
The Brimob paramilitary unit adds to the about 400 police and 450 soldiers already sent to Ambon, the capital of Maluku province. "This morning, we strengthened our force by another company (of men)... we want to strengthen our force in launching sweep operations," National Poloice Chief General Da'i Bachtiar told journalists at the national police headquarters in Jakarta. The paramilitaries will help disarm the local population of illegal firearms and home-made bombs.
Ambon appeared calm on Sunday and there was no sound of gunshots from the trouble-spot areas of Tanah Lapang Kecil, Waringin and Batugantung. "There were some shots still heard yesterday evening, but there were no reported victims," said a reporter there. A banned parade by Christian separatists last Sunday sparked off the violence which also injured about 180 people. 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. Thousands of radical fighters, including some from the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group, joined the Muslim side in the previous conflict. 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 @ 02 May 2004 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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