Indonesia Muslims "Burn" Christian Village; Four Killed, 56 Injured

Thursday, May 22, 2008

By BosNewsLife Asia Service with BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (BosNewsLife) -- Nearly all Christian families in a village on Indonesia's Seram island, in the religiously volatile Maluku province, were homeless Wednesday, May 21, after a Muslim mob burned their houses and other properties as well as killing four believers and injuring dozens others, investigators told BosNewsLife.

The remote, mainly Christian, village of Horale was attacked in the evening of May 2 by a mob from the neighboring village of Saleman, which is predominantly Muslim, said Barnabas Fund, a well-informed group investigating the plight of Christians in Islamic nations. "

"Three of the four [murdered] victims had their throats slit, but all were attacked in other ways as well," the group said in a statement. "Mrs. Welhelmina Pattiasina, 47, was first tortured, and her grand-daughter Yola, 6, had her stomach cut open."

An elderly man, Edward Unwaru, 84, was “burned to death after his throat had been cut," said Barnabas Fund, which is in close contact with allegedly persecuted Christians. A fourth victim, identified as Josef Laumahina, 39, was allegedly cut and then burned.


The Muslim mob also “burnt down 120 houses, three churches and the village school,” during the attack, in which also 56 people were wounded, Barnabus Fund claimed. In addition, fifteen hectares of crops were destroyed as well as 20 fishing boats and two motor-cycles, the group added. News of the attack apparently just emerged, in part because of its remote location.

Horale village is home to 175 families, a total of around 2,300 people, according to estimates.

Barnabas Fund’s International Director, Patrick Sookhdeo, said Horale was "situated in a remote area on the island of Seram" and therefore a relative easy target for extremists.

"Such areas have seen a number of similar incidents over the last five months," he added. Maluku province experienced "intense anti-Christian violence between 1999 and 2001, and it is alarming to consider that this may be starting again," Sookhdeo claimed.

Indonesian authorities have however send special police forces to guard the border between the two villages, reports said. In a letter to supporters, his group urged Christians to "Pray that the Christians of Horale will be given grace to forgive and love their enemies," and that God would "comfort" the relatives of killed victims and survivors.

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