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CSW – One schoolgirl has died and another lies seriously injured after being shot in Poso on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi . Siti Nuraini, 17, a Muslim, died in Poso Kota general hospital on November 9. Her Christian friend Ivon, also 17, remains in a critical condition after the attack on November 8.

The attack closely follows the beheading of three Christian schoolgirls on October 29 and represents a further escalation of the situation. Ida Sambue and Theresa, both 16, and Alfita, 18, were on their way to a Christian school they attend with 150 other children when they were attacked. A fourth girl, Noviana, 16, was left seriously injured.

The heads of the girls were reportedly found separately inside plastic bags, with a warning written on them that another 100 Christian teenagers would be killed. It is feared that this latest shooting is linked to the fulfilment of this threat.

The Reverend Rinaldy Damanik, Moderator for the Central Sulawesi Christian Reform Church , and Chairmen of the Central Sulawesi Churches Crisis Co-ordination Centre is currently in the UK on a speaking tour with CSW. He has been in close touch with Christians and government officials in Sulawesi and has appealed for calm. He stressed the security officials needed to act promptly to ensure those guilty of the attacks are brought to justice and also to try and prevent further attacks.

He said: “I am very upset by this further violence. A very very bad situation is getting worse. This attack is part of the militants’ efforts to provoke further violence. I urge the UK government to realise this is not just a religious matter, but an attack on human rights.”

As reported in the Jakarta Post, Presidential spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said the President had ordered the security forces to bring the perpetrators to justice, and urged residents not to launch revenge attacks.

Meanwhile, Army Chief of Staff General Djoko Santoso confirmed that the Indonesian Military (TNI) had apprehended five men who were believed to be the perpetrators of the beheadings. The Jakarta Post also reported that by the end of October, there was a total 3,500 police and army personnel stationed in Central Sulawesi after extra numbers were drafted in.

Tina Lambert, CSW’s Advocacy Director, said: “It is clear this latest attack on an innocent schoolgirl is designed to provoke further religious violence on Sulawesi . CSW adds its voice to Rev Damanik’s in calling for calm in the face of such an appalling incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost their daughter. We urge the Indonesian government to do more to protect the innocent and prevent a return to widespread inter-religious violence.”…[Go To Full Story]