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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 April, 2004, 04:20 GMT 05:20 UK
Gunmen attack Indonesian church
By Tim Johnston
BBC, Jakarta

Seven people have been wounded in a shooting at an Easter church service on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Hundreds of people have died on the island in conflicts between Christians and Muslims.

Police said two gunmen burst into the church on Saturday night and sprayed the congregation with automatic weapons fire before escaping.

Hospital staff said on Sunday none of the injured, who included a four-year-old girl, were in imminent danger.

The shootings happened just outside the town of Poso in central Sulawesi, an area that has acquired an unenviable reputation for inter-religious violence.

Different strategy

Hundreds of people have died around Poso, and despite a peace accord signed between leaders of the Muslim and Christian communities in 2001, the region remains a powder keg.

Analysts say that much of the unrest is being stirred up by members of the same group that attacked foreign tourists on the island of Bali a year and a half ago and is unlikely to end any time soon.

A recent report by the International Crisis Group said some members of the group, known as Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), were pursuing a different strategy from the Bali bombers.

It said that this branch of JI believed attacking foreigners was counter-productive and it instead decided to work towards establishing an Islamic state in Indonesia, starting in Poso.

But the report also warns that some militants are likely to become frustrated with the slow progress and return to a more confrontational path.

Saturday's attack may indicate that trend is accelerating.

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13 Aug 02  |  Asia-Pacific
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20 Dec 01  |  Asia-Pacific

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