Bombings Continue Jihad in Indonesia

Christmas Eve bombings targeting Christian churches across Indonesia killed at least 15 people and injured scores of others in Jakarta and eight other cities and towns. National Police spokesman Brigadier General Saleh Saaf said the TNT-powered bombs exploded within minutes of each other in what appeared to be a coordinated assault, the Associated Press reported.

Indonesia has weathered a firestorm of political, religious and ethnic turmoil since the fall of the Suharto regime in May, 1998. Since the beginning of 1999, more than 4,000 people have been killed in Christian-Muslim clashes and more than a million left homeless.

Most of the trouble since has centered on Ambon and other Maluku (Moluccas) islands, the one part of the country to have had a sizeable Christian community. Self-declared jihad warriors from a paramilitary group called Laskar Jihad were shipped in from other parts of Indonesia, and by mid-2000 Christian leaders were begging the international community to send in peacekeepers-an option rejected by the government in Jakarta.