21 Jul 2015

Papuan church leaders react to 'religious' violence

3:41 pm on 21 July 2015

Three Christian church leaders have hit back at reports that Christians were at fault following a violent attack on Muslims in Indonesia's Papua province.

Indonesia's new national police chief, Police General Badrodin Haiti

Indonesia's national police chief, Police General Badrodin Haiti. Photo: AFP

The Antara news agency has quoted the National police chief, General Badrodin Haiti, saying police shot at people on Sunday in Tolikara, as they were pelting stones at Muslims.

General Haiti said the violence may have been prompted by a circular letter distributed a week earlier, bearing the signatures of local church officials.

The content of the letter was not published.

There are reports police responded to the violence by shooting one 15-year-old attacker dead and injuring at least 10 others.

The church leaders say they deplore the actions of the attackers, but also reject the accusation that churches have fuelled anti-religious violence.

They say they would like the Indonesian authorities to react just as swiftly to investigate the shooting deaths of school children at a peaceful rally in Papua in December.

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