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Ambon plea for UN intervention

WASHINGTON (CNS): Fears that a recent wave of deadly violence in Ambon, the provincial capital of Indonesia’s Moluccan islands, could spiral out of control has prompted the city’s bishop to call for UN intervention.

Bishop Petrus Mandagi of Ambon has appealed to the United Nations to pressure the Indonesian Government to put an end to the violence.

“If the central government cannot end this violence, Ambon will be the killing fields,” Bishop Mandagi told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview on April 30.

Deadly clashes broke out on April 25 after about a dozen members of the region’s small, mostly Christian separatist movement paraded through Ambon to mark the anniversary of a failed independence bid 54 years ago, Associated Press reported.

Local Muslims regard such public displays by the group as a provocation, AP reported.

A week of fighting left at least 34 people dead. The clashes raised fears that the region could plunge back into the Muslim-Christian violence that killed about 9000 people three years ago.

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