Mon, Oct 02, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Indonesian Muslims stab Christian


Muslims dragged a Christian man from a bus and stabbed him yesterday, a witness and nurse said, as religious tensions continued to rise in central Indonesia following the executions of three Roman Catholic militants.

The victim was hospitalized in a serious condition with back wounds, said Yeni, a nurse, who like many Indonesians uses a single name.

About 20 men wearing black masks blocked a road in Poso town on Sulawesi, the main battleground of fighting between Muslims and Christians from 1998 to 2002 that left about 1,000 people from both religions dead.

The men stopped a bus and forced five passengers to get out, intimidating them and stabbing one before police arrived, said a witness who gave reporters the name Arman.

Communal tensions have risen on Sulawesi since the Sept. 22 executions of three Roman Catholic men convicted of leading a militia that carried out attacks in 2000, including an assault on an Islamic school that left at least 70 dead.

Human rights groups allege their trial was unfair, and have questioned whether religion played a role in the sentencing. Few Mus-lims were punished for the four years of unrest, and none to more than 15 years in prison.

Yesterday in Poso, unidentified people detonated two small bombs that caused no reported injuries or damage.

Soon after, a Muslim mob set fire to a partially constructed church in the Muslim-dominated town, police Captain Wayan said.

On Friday, more than 100 Christian youths, angered by the executions, torched a police station and hurled rocks at a helicopter carrying a police chief, state news agency Antara reported.

Indonesia is a secular nation with the world's largest number of Muslims, about 190 million.

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