Muslim-Christian Violence Continues in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia, DEC. 2, 2001 ( Dozens of houses were set on fire and four soldiers were shot today in new fighting between Muslims and Christians on Sulawesi Island, witnesses and hospital officials said.

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The clashes mark a week of sectarian violence on the Indonesian island that has killed at least seven people and caused thousands to flee their homes, the Associated Press reported.

Witnesses in the coastal town of Poso in central Sulawesi province reported hearing gunfire and explosions until dawn. A doctor at Poso´s hospital said four soldiers were being treated for bullet wounds.

Fighting between Muslim and Christian villagers in Sulawesi, about 1,000 miles northeast of Jakarta, has killed at least 1,000 people in the last two years.

The recent violence has been blamed on the arrival of hundreds of fighters belonging to the Laskar Jihad, a paramilitary Muslim group accused of stoking a sectarian conflict in neighboring Molucca province. About 9,000 have died in the province since 1999.

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