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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 September 2006, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Hundreds mourn Sulawesi militants
Police officer checks a woman's bag at Poso in Sulawesi
Security was tight at all churches and mosques
Hundreds of mourners have attended the funerals of three Christian militants executed by the Indonesian authorities on island of Sulawesi on Friday.

There was tight security at mosques and churches along the route to the burial ground, as thousand of residents lined the streets to pay their respects.

The men were convicted of masterminding attacks on Muslims in central Sulawesi in 2000 that killed at least 70 people. Their executions sparked riots by Christians on Sulawesi on Friday.

The three men - Fabianus Tibo, Marianus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva - were executed by firing squad on Friday morning in the town of Palu.

Trial fairness

Supporters of the men have complained their trial was unfair and that no Muslims have been executed for inciting violence.

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Previously known as Celebes, Sulawesi is Indonesia's fourth largest island
80% of residents are Muslim, while 17% are Christian
A December 1998 brawl in Poso led to months of religious violence in which hundreds died

But the Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda said the case was purely one of law enforcement and that the punishment given had nothing to do with the men's religion.

"It has nothing to do with the questions of tolerance between Islam and other religions," Mr Wirajuda told The Associated Press. "We have a truly independent judiciary. This is a new Indonesia."

Indonesia is home to the world's biggest Muslim population.

Hundreds of mourners attended the burial of two of the men in Beteleme in central Sulawesi, and on the island of Flores thousands more lined the streets from the airport to the main town as the third man's body arrived.

The Vatican had appealed for clemency for the men on humanitarian grounds.

Rioting

As news of the execution emerged on Friday at least 1,000 mourners packed the main Catholic church in Palu to pray for the three men.

Rioting broke out elsewhere, including on the island of Flores, the men's birthplace, and in Tibo and Riwu's Sulawesi villages as well as in Poso.

The worst violence broke out in the Christian-dominated town of Atambua in West Timor, where Da Silva was from.

At least 1,000 people took to the streets, throwing stones, torching cars and looting shops.

Rioters damaged the state prosecutor's office and broke into the jail, freeing some 200 inmates. Only 20 prisoners had so far returned, police said.

The attacks the three men were accused of instigating, in Poso, was part of a wave of violence triggered by a brawl between Christian and Muslim gangs in December 1998.

The violence left more than 1,000 people dead. The two sides signed a peace deal in 2002, but there have been sporadic incidents since.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Christians hold a vigil for the executed men



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Sulawesi executions
22 Sep 06 |  In Pictures
Sulawesi militants face execution
21 Sep 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia executions put on hold
11 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Three Indonesian girls beheaded
29 Oct 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Gunmen attack Indonesian church
19 Jul 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Death sentences for Indonesian violence
05 Apr 01 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia flashpoints: Sulawesi
28 Jun 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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