Monday, October 09, 2006

Police arrest 14 Christians over killings

JAKARTA (AP): Police arrested 14 Christians accused of bludgeoning two Muslim men to death amid anger at the execution of three Roman Catholic militants on Sulawesi Island last month, a police officer said Monday.
The fish salesmen were killed at an illegal roadblock on the island's main highway and their bodies were buried in a shallow grave nearby, said Central Sulawesi Police Chief Brig. Gen. Badrudin Haiti.
The Sept. 22 executions of the three militants for their role in violence against Muslims in sectarian violence in 2000 triggered riots among Christians. Rights groups have raised questions over the fairness of the trial.
The roadblock was one of several set up by Christian youth on the island following the executions.
However, Haiti denied that the Sept. 22 murders had anything to do with the executions, saying the two Muslims were killed because they failed to slow down at the checkpoint.
Police officials on Sulawesi routinely deny killings or bombings specifically targeting Muslims or Christians are religiously motivated, out of a fear that doing so may trigger more violence.
The arrests took place over the weekend, Haiti said, adding the men would be soon be charged with murder.
More than 1,000 people of both faiths died in four years of sectarian fighting on Sulawesi that ended in 2002 with a government-sponsored peace deal. The three Christians were found guilty of leading an attack on a Muslim boarding school that killed at least 70 people.

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