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Mobs burn houses, mosques in Madura

Agence France Presse - December 15, 1998

Jakarta – Thousands of Moslems attacked and burned down three houses and two mosques in two villages on Indonesia's Madura island, off the coast of eastern Java, following rumors a deviant Islamic sect was active there, a report said Tuesday.

The mob, aboard scores of pickups and motorcycles, on Monday attacked the house of Bustamil, a local Moslem leader whom they believed was preaching a deviant form of Islam, in Kertagenah village, the Berita Buana evening daily said.

Unable to find Bustamil at his home, the mob burned down his house and those of two of his close friends. They also torched a mosque where Bustamil usually preaches.

The mob, many armed with machetes, then proceeded to neighbouring Sedur village, some seven kilometres (four miles) away to look for another close friend of Bustamil. Failing to find him, they burned another mosque there where the man usually preached.

The mob was only dispersed after a joint police and military force was dispatched to the area. Warning shots were fired, the daily said. The two villages remained under heavy security guard Tuesday morning, it added. Madura is a stronghold of Indonesian Moslem traditionalists.