International Christian Concern
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Indonesia: Violence in Ambon Continues
Day 4: Is A Massacre Brewing?
For Immediate Release
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(4/28/04) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org, has learned through our sources that the violence in Ambon, Maluku Islands, Indonesia is continuing. Gunfire and explosions rocked Ambon during the night, leaving at least eight wounded. In addition to many residents homes being burned down, the recently rebuilt protestant Nazareth church went up in flames. There are 100 refugees crowded into the Elim Baptist Church.
Local TV showed church members marching to police headquarters to demonstrate loyalty to Indonesia by singing the national anthem with tears in their eyes. They also vehemently declared that Christians are not second-class citizens (in a Muslim country) and have the fundamental right to be protected against terrorists and criminals.
They were also making a statement counteracting characterizations that this is a conflict between forces demanding freedom and Indonesian nationalists. Rather, it is a continuation of Muslim persecution of Christians in the worlds largest Muslim country that has claimed 9,000 lives in the last five years. ICC has been involved in Indonesia during most of the conflict and these attacks are entirely consistent with earlier Muslim attacks that stem from intolerance of other religions.
Christian residents look to the police to protect them but they are often a cause of the problem. The police have often participated in the attacks or simply withdraw from an area they are guarding to allow their fellow Muslims to attack the Christians. Yesterday the police guarding the Christians in the Kuda Mati area were suddenly and ominously ordered to withdraw.
In another incident, we have a report on the ship that docked at the pier in the midst of the violence. A source is reporting that two Christian passengers were immediately murdered by the Laskar Jihad crowd (Laskar Jihad is an Islamic militant group linked with Al Qaeda and responsible for the deaths of thousands of Indonesian Christians). Nine other Christian passengers were locked in the ship and then were later brought out and slaughtered by the Jihadis. A pregnant woman and three children were among the victims.
Laskar Jihads leader Ja’far Umar Thalib declared that he is ready to send thousands of men to Ambon. He also stated that in Ambon there are more policemen loyal to his organization than to the Police Chief.
Finally, it is reported that 12,000 Laskar Jihad warriors have left Java for Ambon. This has left the Christian community terrified. They remember the Laskar Jihad Islamic warriors who came to Ambon in 1999 and 2000 resulting in unbelievable atrocities in the name of Allah.
ICC implores all interested parties to immediately call or fax the Indonesian Embassy and plead for the Indonesian army to be sent to Ambon to prevent a massacre. They have responded favorably before and will do so again if pressure is applied. Please take a minute out of your day and help save the life of an Indonesian Christian. The Indonesian Embassy can be contacted by phone: (202)775-5200 or by fax: (202)775-5365.