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BosNewsLife – Masked gunmen shot and wounded a Christian couple in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi in the latest in a series of attacks against Christians there, police and hospital sources confirmed Monday, November 21.

45-year old Pudji Laksono, a lecturer at the state Tadulako University, and his wife Novlin Pallinggi, 37, were shot late Saturday, November 19, while on their way home from a church service in the provincial capital Palu, said the city’s Police Chief Guntur Widodo.

“They were riding a motorcycle when they were attacked by two men on another motorcycle in a small, dark alley in East Palu ,” he added in a statement monitored by BosNewsLife. The couple was recovering after undergoing surgery, the Undata General Hospital in Palu said.

Saturday’s shooting came a day after unidentified assailants shot three teenage girls in Palu, killing one of them, The Jakarta Post newspaper said on its website. Catholic news agency AsiaNews reported that another 22-year old girl, identified only as Yanti, died after being wounded Friday, November 18, in the neck by a machete.

The latest violence followed the October 29 beheadings of three Christian schoolgirls and the shooting on November 8 of two girls in Poso, about 150 kilometers (about 94 miles) from the provincial capital.

Officials have expressed concern the attacks will lead to a new large scale religious conflict in Central Sulawesi , where fighting pitting Muslims against Christian killed over 1,000 peopled since 2000.

Palu council speaker Andi Mulhanan Tombolotutu condemned the series of attacks, saying the assailants “were targeting other areas as their efforts in Poso had not led to [a large scale] conflict [yet] between Christians and Muslims,” local media quoted him as saying.

Human rights groups have expressed concern about what they say is growing Muslim violence against Christians in Indonesia ’s, Asia ’s largest Muslim nation.

“We urge the Indonesian government to do more to protect the innocent and prevent a return to widespread inter-religious violence,” said Tina Lambert Advocacy Director of religious rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) in a statement to BosNewsLife.

Christians comprise roughly eight percent of Indonesia ’s nearly 242 million people, according to official estimates.