At least 44 people were killed on
Monday when members of a Muslim jihad group attacked a
Christian village in North Maluku in Indonesia, an army
spokesman said on Tuesday.
Lt. Col. Sukarwo said the militants attacked a village on
Halmahera island, killing 44 and injuring 102 in a pre-dawn
raid. A local priest, Father Hadi, said at least 52 were
killed, many while they slept, and 300 houses were burned.
Reports from the provincial capital, Ambon, said 17 people
were killed there on Tuesday.
Over the past two years, thousands of people have been
killed and injured in fighting between mainly Protestant
Christians and Muslims in the area also known as the Spice
Islands. Although Indonesia is the world's most populous
Muslim nation, Christians make up a majority in the Malukus.
The region had been relatively quiet until earlier this
month when more than 2,000 Islamic volunteer fighters
belonging to an extremist paramilitary group entered the
area to wage a holy war, despite government pledges to keep
them out. About 34 people were killed in a similar raid on
another village earlier this month.
Sukarwo said the military believes the attackers came from
a neighboring island and were members of a Muslim fighting
force known as Lasker Jihad, or Holy War Troops. The
group's leader, Jafar Umar Thalib, has vowed to wage a holy
war against the Christian community.
We encourage you to check the Catholic World News site at the
CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the Dossiers, features and Daily Dispatches from ZENIT International News Agency CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC, but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday. Because we can offer the news now in seven languages for the world, we are reprinting the news stories as they come in.