Fri, 25 Feb 2000

Fresh riots kill 12 in N. Maluku

AMBON, Maluku: Pattimura Military Commander Brig. Gen. Max Tamaela confirmed on Thursday new communal clashes had erupted on Bacan island in North Maluku, leaving 12 dead and 25 injured.

Tamaela said the clashes, the most serious after weeks of calm, rocked the remote tiny island between Tuesday and Thursday. He said security personnel had restored order there and rescue operations had begun to evacuate people who fled into the jungle to avoid the violence.

The military commander said he received the report of sectarian riots late "due to difficult lines to the island and inadequate telecommunication devices there".

A place of worship was burned during the unrest, which broke out following rumors of an attack by one religious group, Antara quoted Tamaela as saying. (amd)