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International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #941
Washington DC 20006-1846
www.www.persecution.org
Email: [email protected]

For Immediate Release:
ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness of the problem of persecution in the US Church and is an advocate for the persecuted to the US Government.

For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 301-989-1708
International Christian Concern 2020 Pennsylvania Ave

VIOLENCE AGAIN TORMENTS CENTRAL SULAWESI

Militants Attack and Kill Christians; Burn Homes and Churches

You are free to disseminate the following news. We kindly request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address www.www.persecution.org.

October 14, 2003 The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org has just become aware of attacks on five Indonesian villages leaving in its aftermath houses burned, people killed and injured, and fear rampant in the hearts of Christians. The Central Sulawesi attacks targeted villages where many Christians had relocated and resettled after having their homes burned by Jihad warriors in the prior conflict between Muslims and Christians. This conflict was very intense between the years 1999 and 2001 and over 2,000 people in this region alone were killed. On Oct. 10, 2003, the Jakarta Post quoted the National Police Chief General Da’I Bachtiar, “There are some groups who deliberately want to destroy peace by inciting hatred among people in the area.” This is considered the most serious outbreak of violence since the signing of the Malino Peace Accord.

The village of Beteleme in Lembo district, Morowali regency was attacked between midnight and 1 a.m. on the morning of October 10, 2003. Villagers awoke to shouts of ‘Allahuakbar’, or ‘God is great’ as well as the sounds of machine gun fire blasting into the night. Many residents were immediately shot as they ran into the streets to investigate the noise. The militants turned to shooting at the houses and burning the homes. The result was 2 dead, many injured with 38 houses, and one church set ablaze. Abdul Kadir, a local official who resides in Beteleme, said that about 200 people were homeless. The militants worked in groups of 7 or 8 and were wearing black, ninja-like attire and a mask. Out of the 38 houses that were destroyed, 34 were Christian homes. One eyewitness reported overhearing an attacker say, “Why did you burn that home? It belongs to one of us.” It was a Muslim home. Following the attack, many signs were found on charred houses that read, “We forgive those who burned this house.” This is a sign of true Christianity.

The second set of attacks occurred against four villages around midnight on the morning of October 12,2003. The villages of Pinedapa, Saatu, Pantangolemba and Madale near Poso were attacked by machine guns and bombs. Most of the population of these villages consists of Christians who were displaced from their homes in the earlier conflict and sought refuge and safety in these towns. Nine people lost their lives, one house was burned and a bomb was found in the GKST church located in Madale village. The bomb was safely detonated without any injuries to the building or people. Despite many injuries, no one was taken to the hospital. The incident has halted public transportation between the provincial capital, Palu, and Morowali. A number of bus and transportation firms have suspended their operations for fear of further violence.

ICC urges Americans to contact Secretary of State Collin Powell and ask him to write a letter requesting that the government of Indonesia increase military presence in Central Sulawesi to restore law and order and protect the lives of Christians living in this area. Mail the letter to: The Honorable Colin L. Powell Secretary of State, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20520 or send a fax to (202) 647-2283.

ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness of the problem of persecution in the US Church and is an advocate for the persecuted to the US Government.

For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 301-989-1708.