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Three killed in explosion in Moluccas

An explosive device placed under a motorcycle seat blew up and killed three people in the Indonesian Moluccas islands on Wednesday, a Catholic news agency said on Thursday.

Local priests told the Rome-based Missionary Service News Agency (MISNA) the blast killed two men and a woman in the Muslim district of Slamet Riyadi in the provincial capital Ambon.

MISNA gave no further details, and independent confirmation was not immediately possible.

The Moluccas has been riven by religious and communal clashes since January 1999, when a row between a Christian bus driver and Muslim boy during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr celebration triggered off mass clashes.

Thousands have been killed in fighting since.

The Moluccas, which lie some 2253 miles northeast of Jakarta, are home to roughly equal numbers of Christians and Muslims.

A "civil emergency" has been in force in the once idyllic spice islands since June 2000. Civil emergency is one level below martial law.