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9/6/11 Indonesia (Jakarta Post) – The Central Sulawesi Police have evacuated a family of four American nationals from their rented house in the BTN Bukit Kabonena Permai residential complex in Palu to the local immigration office, allegedly because they were in danger due to rumors they had been proselytizing to locals.

The Graeff family, including father David Ray, 41, mother Georgia Rae, 41, and children Benjamin David, 12, and Daniel Earl, 14, were evacuated on Sunday evening reportedly after locals had begun to question the family’s presence in the region.

Locals then burned the family’s car after they were evacuated.

Palu Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Deden Granada said that David Ray Graeff, who had been in Kabonena for two weeks, was a teacher at Uwera Theological School in Marawola, Sigi regency, Central Sulawesi.

“We had to evacuate the family for their own safety,” Deden said.

A local resident, Habib Saleh Alaydrus, told The Jakarta Post on Monday that the day before he had received information from his pupils at Majelis Dzikir Nurul Khairaat boarding school and local residents that there were foreigners preaching Christianity in the area.

He said that there had been rumors that a helicopter had transported foreigners to the Kabonena hills in the middle of one night in June 2011.

“On Sunday, we again received information about two cars transporting foreigners to the Kabonena hills. So we ran after them,” Habib Saleh said.

Habib Saleh said that he and other local residents had suspected that foreigners in the region had a hidden agenda because the local subdistrict and district administrations had not been informed of their arrival.

He said that the fact that David Ray was teaching in Uwera but resided in Palu added to the suspicion.

“What was going on? There must be some other agenda. Why should they bring in English teachers from America?” Habib Saleh asked.

It was feared that the evacuation of the American family on Sunday would awaken old tensions dating back to the inter-religious fighting that plagued Central Sulawesi 10 years ago.

Central Sulawesi witnessed fierce fighting between Muslims and Christians in 2001 and 2002 that killed more than 1,000 people.

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