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Religious conflicts kill one in East Timor

Lusa - February 24, 1997

Dili – An estimated 6,000 East Timorese have burned tens of houses owned by Indonesians migrants after local people became enraged by a slight against a Catholic priest who had been given a dinner-box containing leftover food on Wednesday evening.

The incidents in Ambeno, about 200 km west of Dili, capital of East Timor, on Friday morning were reported to have lasted more than six hours, causing the death of one person, 30-year-old Mahmud Abuh, and injuries in six other people.

The official governor of Ambeno, Filomeno Musquito, told Associated Press, that 86 houses had been burned as well as two cars and four motorcycles owned by Moslem migrants from the Indonesian island of South Sulawesi.

East Timor was invaded in 1975 by Indonesia and annexed one year later but the United Nations still regards Portugal as the territory's administering power.

East Timor is a predominantely Catholic territory while the Indonesian population is mainly Moslem.