Terrorists Target Christians in Ambon

Saturday, June 16, 2001

June 16, 2001

In a new twist to the violence against Christians in eastern Indonesia's Maluku Islands, Muslim Jihad fighters dressed like Japanese "ninjas" have begun targeting individuals under cover of darkness.

During the evening of May 23, three masked men entered Kusu-Kusu, a village near Ambon. They broke into the house of Mrs. Anace Huwae, a 43-year-old Muslim convert to Christianity, and stabbed her to death. Her husband found her body on his return home and raised an alarm. After an immediate search of the neighborhood, Huwae and two other Christian men were returning to his house when they encountered three men ressed in black clothes with their heads covered.

The ninja-like intruders stabbed one of the Christian men with a bayonet and then vanished into the darkness.

A lack of power caused by aging generators results in neighborhoods in the Ambon area often having to do without electricity during the evening hours. The electricity is cut on a rotating basis, but anyone can find out where the power is going to be cut and take advantage of it.

Later the same night, the ninjas-like fighters met two more Christians and threw a grenade at them. Both men were wounded in the explosion. Many of the residents heard the blast and groups of searchers -- residents and police -- were quickly organized to find the intruders.

They were discovered in a cave outside the village, where two were shot by police. The third escaped briefly but was later caught and identified as a former resident of Kusu-Kusu. The other two intruders were alleged to be Muslim Jihad fighters from Java.

Numerous reports of these ninja-like intruders entering Christian neighborhoods at night have caused widespread tension throughout the Christian settlements in Ambon.

"These ninja-like figures dressed all in black knock at the door and, when someone answers, they burst in and stab everybody," said one resident who had survived an attack.

A period of intense violence started in mid May, when Muslim troops launched a concerted attack in the Ambon suburbs of Mardika, Soa Kecil, Belakang Soya and Karang Panjang -- all Christian settlements. About 20 houses were burned and nine people were killed, among them two attackers.

The increase in violence in and around Ambon is believed to be linked to the arrest of Ja'far Umar Thalib, leader of the Laskar Jihad organization. On May 4, Thalib was arrested in Surabaya in connection with the murder of 30-year-old Abdul Rahim. Rahim was found guilty of rape by a makeshift Islamic court on March 27 and executed. Indonesian authorities claim that Thalib authorized the trial and execution and was acting outside Indonesian law.

Having taken Thalib's place in charge of the Laskar Jihad fighters on Ambon, Ustad Attamimi now preaches against the Christians and incites Muslims to take violent revenge upon Christians. Attamimi uses a "hate-radio" station on Ambon to broadcast provocative speeches.

"We will have no reconciliation until all the Christian infidels and their leaders have been butchered and killed," Attamimi said. An estimated 5,000 people have died during the unrest in the Maluku Islands(also known at the Moluccas).

For further information on Open Doors USA (who supplied this story) contact Mike Yoder at MikeYoder@compuserve.com.