Indonesian Christians Need Help in Face of More Attacks

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

July 24, 2001

Rescue Operations Continue

Missions Insider - Since January a total of 1400 Christians trapped by radical Muslim warriors in the islands of North Maluku in Indonesia have been rescued. These Christians are among the more than 7000 who were being held hostage by Muslim Jihad fighters.

Last year, Muslims calling themselves "jihad warriors" attacked several Christian villages in the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. Many times, the Christians fought back valiantly to gain time for women and children to escape. Greatly outnumbered and outgunned, the Christians who were unable to escape were either hacked to death with machetes or captured and Islamized. All of the survivors, including men, women and children, have been forced to convert to Islam under the threat of the sword. Christian Aid joined International Christian Concern in Washington, DC, in raising funds to rescue Christians held hostage by Jihad terrorists.

In June, 200 Christians were rescued from one island called Lata-Lata where 1716 men, women and children had been force-circumcised and Islamized. On the island of Halmahera, another 35 were rescued. In mid-July 26 Christians were rescued from an undisclosed location where earlier reports had led rescuers to believe that all the Christians had been killed.

Christian Aid sources in Indonesia report that in Poso, Central Sulawesi, there has been a significant increase in attacks against Christians. About 20 Christians were killed during the month of June. According to the source, "It seems as though they [the jihad militants] are attempting to provoke a response from the Christians so that they can justify a major attack on Tentena, the capital of the Christian churches, Bible Schools etc."

In a welcomed move, the Indonesian military has stepped up operations against the Islamic militants. Many Christians inside and outside of Indonesia are praying that the military will be serious about taking the long-awaited action that is necessary to avert anticipated new major attacks against the Christians.


Meanwhile, the conditions in which the refugees are living remain deplorable. In Central Sulawesi, it is reported that 70 refugees have died in the last 13 months due to unhealthy living and poor nutrition which has resulted in respiratory problems and disease. Central Sulawesi is now home to over 79,000 refugees of which 19,500 are being sheltered in Palu. The current number of refugees living in Palu is higher than that recorded in March this year, which stood at 18,850.

The refugees were driven out of their homes during riots that broke out in December 1998 and April 2000. The attacks against the Christians peaked on May 23, 2000. Hundreds were killed and many hundreds more wounded.

Christian Aid is asking Christians in the U.S. and worldwide to help provide urgently needed food, clothing, housing, and medical treatment for the refugees. Help is also needed to assist with the 5600 Christians still held by the jihad warriors. Christian Aid is working with Indonesian churches to rescue the remaining hostages—and care for them after they are rescued. Response to this need has been gratifying, but the resources are rapidly being depleted.

Donations may be made online at or by calling 1-800-977-5650 or by sending your gift coded 750-PERS to: Christian Aid Mission P.O. Box 9037 Charlottesville, VA 22906