Jakarta sends troops to island strife


Jakarta dispatched 400 extra paramilitary police, or Brimob, and two battalions of troops to Ambon city to control the violence, which has left 29 dead and 150 wounded since Sunday.

UN staff and families were withdrawn from the conflict zone, where the building housing UN agencies was burned down on Sunday. Most schools and businesses remained closed yesterday.

Ambon remained on edge yesterday, braced for an influx of 7000 Islamic warriors promised by hardline Muslim leaders in Jakarta.

Police spokesman Hendro Prasetyo said the warriors, or laskar, had the right to come to Ambon but added that he hoped they would stay in Jakarta. He said the warriors were welcome as long as their only aim was to sit down with the Ambonese to help work out a peaceful solution.