Two die in fresh sectarian violence in Indonesia's Ambon
Two Muslims, identified as Adi Buang and Jamil Hehanussa, were shot dead by suspected snipers roaming through high rise buildings in the central area, the state-run Antara news agency said.
Worried residents began erecting street barricades to protect their homes in the wake of the shootings and the blasts, Second Sergeant Purnomo of the Pattimura military command told AFP.
Purnomo said initial field reports failed to confirm whether the explosive devices were crude home made bombs, more sophisticated devices or grenades.
The first two bombs, the first in the city since May 20, detonated in central Mardika early Thursday near the destroyed Silo church, with a third bomb exploding near the church after midday, an AFP reporter said.
Shortly afterwards, 22 explosions were heard within one hour in the volatile A.Y. Patti and A.M. Sangaji streets in central Ambon, where Christian and Muslim areas are segregated.
Six of the explosions were heard in a Muslim area and 16 more in a business district in the vicinity of feuding Christian and Muslim residential areas.
"Mobs of both Christian and Muslim residents are congregating between the Antonio Rebox and Diponegoro areas ... close to A.Y. Patti street," Purnomo said.
"Many were seen carrying home-made weapons and other kinds of weapons, and they have begun barricading the streets in the area," he added.
Christian residents said the pattern of the explosions appeared to be the same as those used in a previous attack on the Silo church on December 26, intending to get Christians out of their homes.
The wave of bloody sectarian violence, which has plagued the Malukus for almost a year and a half, began with a January 1999 incident in Ambon, quickly spreading to surrounding islands.
Since the clashes began, more than 3,000 people have been killed, thousands of homes and buildings gutted and hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee to other islands and provinces.
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 06/01/2000 09:53:07
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