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Indonesia: Christians in Ambon Under Attack

Death Toll Exceeds 20 and Continues to Climb

For Immediate Release

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address www.www.persecution.org.
(04/26/04) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org, has become aware of an attack against Christians in the Ambon region (Muluku Islands) of Indonesia. The two million residents of the Muluku Islands are evenly split between Muslims and Christians, but Ambon has a Christian majority which is currently being attacked by Muslim extremists.
On Sunday, members of the Christian separatist movement, The Moluccas Sovereignty Front (FKM), were participating in an anniversary march when violence erupted that has resulted in over 20 deaths and hundreds wounded, and the number of casualties is continuing to climb. According to an ICC source, the victims have died from either gunshots or being literally hacked to death in what is one of the bloodiest attacks since peace accords were signed in 2002. Churches, UN buildings, and a Christian-operated university have been burned down by Muslim militants. Christian men, women and children have had fled their homes hoping to find safety.

A 6p.m. curfew has been established throughout the region. Last night Christian neighborhoods were attacked near the center of Ambon. Christians are fleeing their homes hoping to find safety from the violence directed against them.

Islamic leaders in the capitol have claimed that the outbreak of violence is a “threat from Christians” directed at Muslims. They have vowed to send 7000 armed men to Ambon to help their Muslim brothers. This is the same pattern that has been used in the past. The Christian communities are harassed, terrorized, and murdered until finally the Christians stand up for themselves to avoid annihilation. When they respond, more militants pour in and unleash a firestorm against the Christian communities. In the last five years, 9,000-10,000 Christians have been murdered in these attacks usually reported as “sectarian violence” in the world’s largest Muslim nation.

ICC urges American Christians to pray fervently for the Muluku Islands and specifically the Ambon regions. Pray that peace will prevail and that Muslims will stop attacking and killing the Christian brothers and sisters in this region. Also please contact the Indonesian Embassy and ask that the government would protect the Christian communities from slaughter.