Growing Bloodshed
in Maluku Province of Indonesia
Attacks on Christian Congregations
Have Escalated in Past Two Weeks
In a statement issued in Jakarta the Indonesian Communion 
of Churches (PGI) has demanded that international peacekeepers 
be placed in riot-torn Maluku province if Indonesian security 
forces are unable to stop the violence.

At this moment, indications are that an all-out attack is being 
planned to burn the nearby Maranatha Protestant church as well, 
lending truth to the much-rumoured plan of Muslims to take over 
Ambon before the upcoming Idulfitri (end of Muslim fasting 
month) holiday (Jan. 8). If Maranatha can be overpowered, the 
main opposition from Christians on the island will have been 
broken. Over a thousand jihad fighters clad in white clothes from 
Leihitu district have already been transported by motorboats, under 
the very nose of naval security units who were supposed to prevent 
the amassing of Muslims in the area.

The PGI expressed its "deepest concern" over what it claimed were 
escalating attacks on Christian congregations in Maluku province 
over the past two weeks. "The massive attacks against Christian 
congregations is a direct consequence of the lack of transparency 
in the handling of the conflict in Maluku by the Indonesian 
Military (TNI) and the Police Force," the PGI statement said.

"If accountability is not undertaken, then, taking into consideration 
the continuing violence and heeding the people's strong feelings, it 
would be best if Indonesian army and police forces were pulled out 
of Maluku and replaced with international peacekeepers.

"We consider this conflict, which has been given a religious label, 
as an extermination of the indigenous Maluku people along with 
their social institutions to be replaced by another society whose 
form cannot yet be ascertained," said the statement signed by the 
PGI Chairman, and General Secretary.

 REQUEST FOR URGENT PRAYER Please alert all prayer 
partners to uphold Christians in Ambon before the Lord. The third 
phase of this religious-ethnic conflict began about a week ago. 
There are indications that the Muslim radical groups in Ambon are 
planning to take revenge on the local Christians and burn down the 
entireChristian quarters before the end of the current Ramadan, 
which will be on January 8-9, 2000. The plan is to destroy the 
Christian community like the Catholic capital of East Timor, Dilli, 
three months ago.

CNN reports that the fight has turned ugly, as soldiers from various 
army and marine units are now disobeying their superiors and 
beginning to take sides, the Christian soldiers/marines supporting 
their Christian brothers pitted against Muslim soldiers who are 
siding with their fellow believers.

Many Christians have already decided to leave their houses for 
fear of being shot at by the soldiers, and this will open many areas 
to attacks and further burnings. Snipers have been stationed in 
various strategic high rise buildings, and even the Chief of Police 
of Ambon was shot at when he drove by in his car. Armoured 
vehicles are also being used by the Muslim soldiers in this 
"unholy" war, whereas many civilians have been seen carrying 
grenades and using them effectively.

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