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Mobs burn church in South Sulawesi

Agence France Presse - December 4, 1998

Jakarta – A Moslem mob Friday attacked and set on fire a Catholic church in South Sulawesi in the latest incident of religious strife to hit Indonesia in the past two weeks, residents said.

The mob burned the Kare Catholic Church on the road to the airport, some 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Ujungpandang, a resident said. The incident took place after the Friday Moslem prayers.

Soldiers and policemen were deployed to guard the city's main Catholic cathedral in downtown Ujungpandang after the attack, another resident said.

The burning of the church appeared to be in retaliation for the burning and vandalism of several mosques and Moslem institutions in Kupang, the capital of the predominantly Christian province of East Nusa Tenggara. The stoning of mosques and looting of Moslem-owned shops in Kupang was followed by a similar incident in nearby Rote island.

The attacks on the mosques followed the burning or ransacking of 22 churches in central Jakarta during anti-Christian riots here on November 22 which also left 13 Christians dead.

A military officer in Ujungpandang confirmed that the church had been burned but made no further comment. A journalist in the city said the fire had been put out and the road to the airport was open.