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Sectarian violence erupts in Indonesia

No strangers to violence: Ambonese riot on March 3, 2002  

AMBON, Indonesia -- The delicate peace in Indonesia's Moluccas region has been shattered after a Muslim mob attack on a Christian area that left at least 11 people dead.

Sunday's attack in the ravaged city of Ambon saw a Christian area razed, Reuters news agency reported witnesses as saying.

"The attack broke out early on Sunday in Soya village of Ambon city. They attacked the village by using home-made bombs and set fire to some of the houses," said a local journalist who had been to the scene, adding that the attackers were Muslim.

He said he counted 11 bodies of victims.

Ambon police chief Brigadier-General Sunarko Danu Artanto confirmed an attack occurred and that there were casualties, but declined to give a toll and details immediately.

Shadows over Indonesia 

The Committee for Truth, Justice and Cessation of Violence in Maluku, told CNN at least 11 people were killed in the attack and several more wounded.

Associated Press news agency reported 12 fatalities, saying the assailants stabbed six Christians to death, including a six-month-old baby. Six others were killed in the fires.

Witnesses said it was unclear if the attackers were Muslims.

The killings threatened to destroy a peace pact signed in February between warring Christians and Muslims and came two days after the commander of a militant Muslim group rejected the peace deal.

Ambon, some 2,300 km (1,400 miles) east of Jakarta, and the Moluccas islands of which it is the hub, have been ravaged by three years cycle of religious bloodshed, killing between 5,000 and 9,000 people.




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