Tue, 08 Feb 2000

Riots leave 199 buildings damaged

MATARAM, West Nusa Tenggara: The recent riots in this provincial capital left 199 buildings damaged, an official said on Monday.

Secretary of the postriot restoration team Nur Nasution told a media briefing here that the buildings comprised 14 churches and 185 houses. He said the material losses resulting from the damages were estimated at Rp 60 billion (US$ 8 million).

Nasution said the number of properties damaged could increase because the rampage spread to the adjacent town of Bima and West Lombok regency.

The local government has promised to extend credit to residents to reconstruct their properties that were either attacked or burned. Reconstruction of the churches will be handled by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Mobs attacked houses and churches here in days of unrest between Jan. 17 and Jan. 19, following a mass gathering condemning violence in Maluku and calling for a jihad.

Antara reported some 2,700 people sheltering at military, navy and police installations. Many others sought refuge on the neighboring island of Bali. (amd)