Wednesday, November 9, 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center
JAKARTA, INDONESIA (BosNewsLife)-- Two Indonesian Christian girls were fighting for their lives late Tuesday, November 8, after they were shot in the head in Indonesia's tense Poso region where three other Christian girls were beheaded last week, an influential religious rights organization said.
In a statement to BosNewsLife, the Washington-DC based group International Christian Concern (ICC) said it has "just become informed of a second attack on young Christian girls in Poso" in Central Sulawesi province.
"Ivon, 17, and Yuli Siti Nuraini, 17, were shot in the head. [The incident happened] in the Gatot Subroto area of Poso near a Pentecostal church at 7:45 pm local time," added ICC, which investigates religious persecution.
"The girls are both in comas and in critical condition. We are waiting for further reports," ICC told BosNewsLife.
The reported attacks were seen as an embarrassment for Indonesian police which had beefed up security in the Poso area after machete-wielding men on Saturday, October 29, beheaded three teenage Christian girls while they walked to their private Christian school. There have been reports that suspects of the beheadings are in custody, but have not been formally charged, ICC said.
Tuesday's attack in Poso, about 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) northeast of the capital Jakarta, underscored "the level of danger to Christians in the Poso area," the organization added.
"This attack comes on the heels of 40 or more attacks against the Christian community, including shootings, killings, and major bombings. There have not been any convictions or arrests in any of these attacks."
The violence has raised fears of renewed massive religious bloodshed in Sulawesi and Poso in particular, where fighting between Muslims and Christians killed about 2,000 people from 1998 through 2001, when a peace deal was agreed.
It also comes amid growing concern among human rights groups about what they regard as increased Muslim violence against Christians in Indonesia. Last year and 2003 already saw "a series of assassinations of pastors and Christian leaders," ICC stressed in recent published remarks.
In addition hundreds of churches, including over 30 churches this summer, have been forced to close down in Indonesia by Muslim militants and local authorities, several human rights investigators have said.
The central Indonesian government has promised it will crackdown on Muslim extremism, but religious rights workers say more has to be done to avoid escalating violence in Asia's largest Muslim nation of over 225-million people. (ICC can be reached on the Internet via: http://www.persecution.org. With BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos, BosNewsLife Research and reports from Indonesia and Washington).
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