International Christian Concern
Indonesia: Violence in Ambon Continues
300 Homes Burned Down; Death Toll Rises
For Immediate Release
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(4/27/04) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org, has learned that through our sources that the violence in Ambon, Muluku Islands, Indonesia is continuing without any indication of an end in sight.
The intensity of the attacks is growing, and ICC has learned that yesterday, April 26, 2004, several hundred homes of Christians were burned down in the Tanah Lapang Kecil and Batugantung neighborhoods. These burnings were initiated around 3 a.m. and continued into the afternoon hours until all of the homes were destroyed.
The fighting is particularly fierce in the Tanah Lapang Kecil area of Ambon. Government buildings have been abandoned, and they have now been taken over by snipers who are using the rooftops to scout out victims. Several policemen have been killed by the snipers in the past few days.
Many of the Christians are attempting to escape the area by ship, but have found difficulties reaching the water in safety. Police trucks carried 25 Christians to safety through the harbor, which is a Muslim stronghold; however, the 10 police proved to be too few to protect the Christians, who had stones thrown at them and were stabbed with knives.
The overall death toll for the past 3 days has reached 26 persons, and the number of wounded continues to increase. Many of the wounded are being treated in a Muslim hospital, and a medical team of 31 doctors has recently arrived on the scene to assist.
Local religious and political authorities have met to assess the situation and discuss how to end the conflict; however, they have not been able to come to any conclusions about the matter. The Muslim extremists continue to wreak havoc on the villages in Ambon and the Christians are doing everything they can to protect themselves and escape to safety.
ICC urges American Christians to pray fervently for a stop to the violence in Ambon and to pray that there will not be anymore deaths. We also urge Americans to immediately contact the Indonesian embassy and implore them to protect the Christians in Ambon. The Indonesian Embassy can be contacted by phone: (202)775-5200 or by fax: (202)775-5365.