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Indonesia Clash Is Said to Leave 14 Dead, 3 Missing

January 02, 2000|From Associated Press

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Dozens of houses and a mosque were set ablaze Saturday as Christians and Muslims clashed in Indonesia's Spice Islands, leaving 14 people dead and three others missing, officials said.

The clash occurred in Masohi, a small town on the island of Ceram, said Malik Selang, an administrator at Al Fatah Hospital in Ambon, capital of Maluku province. Nine Muslims were killed, he said.

A Christian clergyman in Ambon, about 1,500 miles east of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, said five Christians also were slain in the clash and that three others were missing.

Both men said that most of the casualties were caused by security forces firing into battling mobs.

This week's carnage was the worst of any religious conflict in the republic's 54-year history. About 350 people have been killed.

Meanwhile, news reports Saturday said Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid agreed that his country's easternmost province should change its name from Irian Jaya back to its traditional name of Papua, but he ruled out the possibility of independence for the region.

Any name change would require the Indonesian legislature's approval.

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