Moluccas: new attacks on Christians

 At least 12 people died yesterday, when a Moslem mob went on the rampage in the Christian village of Soya, in the Moluccan islands. Church sources say the attack was carried out by men armed with machetes, knives and bombs. Many houses were set on fire. The attackers went from house to house, shooting residents and setting fire to 30 homes and a Protestant church, witnesses said. The violence then spread to the regional capital, Ambon, where a bomb exploded, and a centre for Christian and Moslem children and one of the city's main churches were set on fire. The attacks seem to have been triggered after a Christian separatist group raised flags in Ambon on Thursday, to mark the 52nd anniversary of a failed independence bid. The violence threatens a fragile peace agreement signed in February to end three years of conflict between the Christian and Muslim communities. In the past three years more than 6,000 people have died in sectarian violence in the region. Muslims make up 85% of Indonesia's 210 million people, but in the Moluccas half the population is Christian.

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