Christian villages destroyed

 Two villages in the Moluccas have been completely destroyed by Islamic guerrillas, missionaries reported last night (5 July). Little remains of the seaside villages of Poka and Rumantiga, on the outskirts of the capital of Ambon, after the outrage. Speaking from Ambon, Sacred Heart missionary Fr Kees Bohm said: "Many buildings, including Protestant and Catholic churches, were burnt down." Both centres have been exclusively Christian for many years. Fr Kees said: "People were forced to escape towards Galala, Halong and Passo, other villages on the other side of the bay." Jihad fighters have been terrorising the area for the past week. Attacks had already taken place in Poka and Rumantiga, when the Jihad fighters attacked the nearby area of Nania, where violent clashes broke out. But Fr Kees said he thought the Christians might have provoked the last attack. "It was Saturday night and they had drunk a little too much. The Muslims launched the attacks in retaliation," he said. But the response had been very violent. Fr Kees said government troops had joined the Jihad fighters in the destruction of the villages. "About 80 per cent of the military is Moslem and would not help the Christians." Ambon's main university was burnt to the ground yesterday by Muslim fighters. At least four people died in the blaze that swept through Pattimura University campus, completely destroying the faculties of law, international affairs, archaeology, the polytechnic institute and the library. Fr Kees said he did not know why the guerrillas targeted the university, but it was probably because most students are Christian. Last week Jihad fighters burned down a Protestant university in Ambon.

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