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Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Reports of fresh violence in Indonesian islands
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 A state of emergency was declared yesterday in the coastal town of Poso, Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, following a series of bloody clashes over the last few days which have claimed 300 lives and left many thousands homeless. Bishop Joseph Suwatan, of the diocese of Manado appealed for calm after Muslim extremists attacked the villages of Betalemba, Patibunga and Tangkura last week. Fr Kees Bhm, a Sacred Heart missionary, based at the Crisis centre in Ambon, in the Moluccan islands, told the Missionary News Service that at least 50 thousand Christians had been forced to flee the coastal town of Betalemba. He said young men, dressed in military uniform, had rampaged around the island, destroying entire villages. Fr Kees said Christians were also becoming increasing concerned that there might be fresh outbreaks of violence on the island of Ambon over the Christmas period, once Ramadan was over. He said they particularly feared new attacks on the village of Passo, on the northern coast, and Manggadua, in the south east. Fr Kees said law and order had all but broken down, and ordinary people, both Muslim and Christian were being exploited by several dubious NGOs, taking advantage of the situation to levy high charges for food and essential supplies.
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