Moluccas: returning missionaries focus on reconcilation

 The Jesuit team which returned to the Moluccan Islands last month are concentrating on rebuilding peace, the JRS news service reports. JRS Asia Pacific director, Andre Sugijopranoto SJ, said the group was grateful to the local NGOs who took care of their belongings when they evacuated to West Timor. He said they had been spending the last month assessing the situation and seeking to understand what the main problems are for the displaced people. Fr Andre said: "The team visited all the Christian camps around Ambon and also went to Seram Island and south-east Moluccas. I was recently in Ambon with Edi Mulyono SJ, the JRS Indonesia director, and we had the opportunity to visit Moslem camps around Ambon." He continued: "The situation in Ambon is much better than it was in May. We hear gunshots only during the night now. People walk in the streets calmly, and daily activities are under way, both in the Moslem and Christian areas. There are markets operating with relatively cheap prices, children are going to school, and university has started. "We agree that our aim is to help people get reconciled, and to prepare them to return to their homes so they can live peacefully with their neighbours. To do this, we wish to have a team of both Moslems and Christians. But it is difficult for local Moslems to live and work in a Christian area nowadays. One time, we brought two Moslems, members of a local NGO, in our car and went around the Christian area. However, they were afraid.

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