Sunday, October 01, 2006

Government sends more forces to Poso

Indonesia deployed hundreds of additional police officers to the eastern province of central Sulawesi after a string of explosions rocked the conflictive region, police said Sunday. National police chief General Sutanto, who like many Indonesians goes only by one name, said about 800 officers were sent to the province's Poso district. Two more explosions took place on Saturday night in Poso, after three homemade bombs exploded early Saturday, the state-run Antara news agency reported. On Friday, Christians angered by last week's executions of three Roman Catholic militants set fire to three cars and a police station and hurled stones at a helicopter carrying a police chief. Reports quoted witnesses as saying that the Christian crowds were angry about the executions of three Christian militants on September 22. Fabianus Tibo, 60, Marinus Riwu, 48, and Dominggus da Silva, 42, were convicted of leading a Christian militia that carried out a series of attacks in 2000 on Sulawesi, including a machete and gun assault on an Islamic school where dozens of men were seeking shelter. At least 70 people were killed in the attack.Poso, about 1,650 kilometres northeast of Jakarta, and nearby regions were wracked by communal clashes between Muslims and Christians communities from 1999 to 2001, killing more than 1,000 people from both faiths. Indonesia is the world's most-populous Muslim nation, but Central Sulawesi has roughly equal numbers of Muslims and Christians.

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