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|Wednesday, July 05, 2000, updated at 14:01(GMT+8)|
Violence Intensifies in Ambon, IndonesiaState Pattimura University and three surrounding villages in Ambon, capital of Indonesia's Maluku province, were set on fire by armed attackers as violence intensified on Tuesday.
At least 10 people were killed and hundreds of houses went up in flames.
According reports reaching here Wednesday, the violence broke out in the predominantly-Christian villages of Poka, Rumahtiga and Wailela on Monday and continued through Tuesday. The dispute area housed the 30-hectare campus of Pattimura University, the most prestigious university in Maluku.
Numbering in the thousands, armed attackers descended from the predominantly-Muslim Jasirah Leihitu, Batu Merah and Galunggung areas. They attacked the villages from three directions.
"No troops were available when the rioters arrived. They just kept on ransacking and destroying the villages and sprayed bullets everywhere. They burned everything," a survivor from Poka was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying.
The reports quoted witnesses as saying that the university was destroyed by fire on Tuesday. The main building, administration office, the library, schools, a laboratory, a gymnasium, the Bethesda Church, which was built during Dutch colonial era, and a Catholic church were all destroyed.
Tuesday's incident was likely the worst since the imposition of a state of civil emergency on June 26. It was a continuation of similar armed mob attacks on the area which began on Saturday and has claimed at least five lives, or an overall of 76 since the violence resurfaced in Ambon in May.
Also in Maluku Tuesday, the local subdistrict police chief was arrested for alleged involvement in smuggling weapons to the ravaged islands. Security forces in recent weeks have stepped up the search for illegal weapons and seized 17 vessels containing thousands of weapons to be smuggled to Maluku.
"From one of the vessels, we have arrested Daruba Subdistrict Police Chief Inspector N. Saimima," Commander of the Indonesian Eastern Fleet Vice Admiral Adi Haryono was quoted by the Antara News Agency as saying.
In North Maluku province, four people were killed and eight others injured on Monday as a fresh clash broke out in Leloda town in Halmahera island.
The renewed violence in Maluku and North Maluku is the continuation of a strife that has troubled the two provinces for one-and-a-half years. More than 3,000 people have died in the strife.
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