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Indonesia religious clash leaves three dead and five injured

Indonesia religious clashes leave three dead and five injured

ICC Note: The violence erupted overnight, the result of a latent conflict. One of the victims was a young man of 21, a soldier and a police officer wounded. The authorities have reinforced security measures to prevent renewed fighting, but tension remains high.

by Mathias Hariyadi

7/12/10 Indonesia (AsiaNews) - Three dead and five wounded, is the provisional toll from violence that erupted over night between two groups of young Christians and Muslims in Ambon, the capital of Maluku. The police intervened to quell the riots and the head of security has called on the two sides for calm. In the past the Moluccas was the scene of sectarian clashes that left thousands dead, destroying hundreds of churches and mosques.

Local sources tell AsiaNews that the violence is the result of a latent conflict between Christians and Muslims, that the fragile peace treaty signed in 2002 have failed to resolve, but the exact cause of clashes yesterday remain unknown. The incidents broke out at 1 .30 am (11.30 am on 9 July in Jakarta) between the villages of Batu Merah Dalam and Batu Merah Kampung, located in the Sirimau sub- district (Ambon). Security forces have so far identified a victim, Arman Syukur, 21 years old. Among the wounded there are also a soldier and a police officer.

The authorities have tightened controls in order to avert the danger of further violence. Tensions remain high and they have not excluded new clashes between Christians and Muslims. Brigadier General Totoy Herawan Indra, Maluku police chief, has called on the two sides for calm: "All this must stop," he added as he visited the scene of the violence. H. Awat Tenate, head of the village of Batu Merah Negri, is calling on police to deploy more troops in the area, which already in recent days was the scene of brawls, this time caused by soccer hooliganism among supporters watching World Cup in South Africa 2010. In particular, there were clashes during the quarter-final between Holland and Brazil.

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