2 Christians martyred, 57 injured in Indonesia - Involvement of Laskar-e-Jihand feared.
15 Apr 2002
A powerful bomb ripped through a Christian district of eastern Ambon this morning, killing 2, injuring 57, and triggering a violent protest by thousands of residents. It is hoped that this incident will not threaten the peace process signed in Februa
The blast occurred in the late morning, sparking panic and anger among Christians and prompting thousands to converge on the nearby governor's office, torching parts of the complex. The crowd was dispersed when police fired warning shots over the heads of the protestors.
While there is no clear connection yet, this incident follows on a report on March 29 that the Laskar-e-Jihad, an organization of militant Muslims in Indonesia, has affirmed its commitment to continue militant activities, despite the peace agreement. In an interview with the London Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, the leader of the Laskar Jihad, Ja'far Omar Taleb stated that the goal of the organization is to target both Christians in Indonesia as well as American interests. This organization has been responsible for many of the acts of terrorism against Christians in Indonesia but, under the peace agreement, has been allowed to stay in the Moluccas.
The Indonesian government recently extended the deadline for voluntarily surrendering weapons until April 30 to allow for the full implementation of the peace agreement. According to Moluccas Police Chief, Commander Sunarko, many weapons have been surrendered to this point. However, it is virtually only the Christian side that has surrendered any weapons.
Pray for continued peace in Indonesia. Pray that the peace agreement will hold, in spite of today's bombing. Pray that the authorities will stand firm on disarming both sides of the conflict and, in particular, that the Laskar Jihad will be stopped from continuing acts of terrorism.