Indonesian Catholic villages attacked, unending flood of evacuees
The Vatican's Fides news service reports that fundamentalist Muslims attacked Catholic villages in the troubled Maluku islands on Sunday, raising many homes to the ground and sending scores of people fleeing for their lives.
The Crisis Centre of Amboina Diocese told Fides that many frightened Christians began to leave, reaching other islands with small boats. Fr Fred Sarkol who is in the Kei islands reported that the flow of evacuees is unending. Those arriving said Muslims were continuing to harass Christians.
In the meantime a fact finding team investigating forced conversions and killings in Keswui failed: it collected little evidence since most Christians were too afraid to speak openly for fear of Muslim revenge.
But although in Central Maluku violence continues, in the North the peace process is slowly being consolidated. On December 24, Christmas Eve, Indonesian vice president Megawati Sukarnoputri will be in Halmahera island to sign an official agreement for Muslim-Christian reconciliation in Mamuya village on the border line between Galela and Tobelo, two areas at one time in fierce conflict.