Eastern Indonesia: Christians face renewed attacks

 There is growing concern among Christians in eastern Indonesia after a series of bomb blasts and killings in Sulawesi and the Moluccas. On Saturday morning, two bombs exploded in a market in Tentenna, in Sulawesi killing 20 and wounding many more. The death toll is expected to rise. The first explosion in a crowded market place in front of a police station at 8am was followed by another one 15 minutes later as people flocked to help the victims of the first blast. This attack follows a series of episodes in Poso region where in recent years there were serious clashes between the Christian and Muslim communities each about 50% of the population. Further south in the Moluccas tension is high after five policemen were killed by unidentified armed men last week. Police and army troops are patrolling the capital Ambon to guarantee security and prevent the outbreak of unrest which could re-trigger a new civil conflict. Many observers fear the return of provocateurs or radical Muslim groups to foment religious unrest and trigger Muslim Christian clashes. The Catholic Church in the Moluccas is trying to maintain good relations with civil authorities, other Christians and Muslim leaders. In a social context where Christians and Muslims live in separate areas Catholics strive to build mutual understanding and reconciliation particularly among young people to promote values such as reconciliation and build a society of more justice and equality. Source: Fides

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