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Saturday, 4 May, 2002, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Indonesia arrests Islamic militant chief

The leader of an Indonesian militant Islamic group has been arrested following allegations that it was involved in a massacre of at least 12 Christians in the Moluccan islands last weekend.

The man, Jafar Umar Thalib, heads Lashkar Jihad, which opposes a recent peace agreement between Christian and Muslim leaders.

The police say Mr Jafar is accused of inciting crime by calling for a holy war against the Christian community in a speech he made in the Moluccan provincial capital, Ambon, two days before the massacre.

The BBC Jakarta correspondent says the Moluccan conflict escalated two years ago when thousands of Laskar Jihad fighters arrived but the authorities seemed scared to act - now, the arrest of the group's leader has sparked a violent reaction.

At least two people have died in fresh rioting in Ambon.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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