Moluccas, explosive devices found in a church

» 09/27/2011 14:21

by Mathias Hariyadi
Ambon police also discover bomb in the local bus station. Hand of Islamic extremists from other parts of the country suspected. The discovery comes after clashes between Christians and Muslims last September 11. Fear of renewed interfaith conflict.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Tensions remain high in Ambon (Maluku) scene of fighting between Christians and Muslims last September 11. Yesterday, police discovered three pipe bombs inside the Maranatha Protestant church and near the local bus station. According to authorities the current tensions are the work of Islamic groups from outside the region.

The strategy of placing bombs in crowded places like markets, religious buildings, bus and train stations is typical of Islamic extremist groups active in the area of Poso (Central Sulawesi). From 1999 to 2001, Poso and Central Sulawesi province were the scene of bloody clashes between Christians and Muslims that claimed more than 2 000 victims.

Yesterday, several Muslim and Christian groups and organizations have asked the authorities to stop all those who come to Ambon without a specific reason. In a statement the youth of Mujammadiyah, a moderate Islamic group, said: “We strongly reject the arrival of people from outside because it could increase tension in the region.” Young Muslims appeal to all the people of Ambon, Christians and Muslims, to find a solution to the fighting through local values and traditions.

Meanwhile, after the suicide attack last Sept. 25 against Bethel Christian Church in Kepunton Indonesia (Solo, Central Java), the police have deployed thousands of agents across the country and increased controls to protect churches from further attacks. Moderate Muslim groups like Nahdlatul Ulama have offered their help to protect Christians.