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Tight security after Indonesian executions spark mob fury

Published 23/09/2006

Security forces guarded churches and markets in Indonesia today after the execution of three Roman Catholic militants sparked sectarian violence in the world's most populous Muslim country, with mobs torching cars and looting stores.

Soldiers and policemen were scouring the jungles for nearly 180 inmates who escaped after Christian youths attacked a prison in the West Timor town of Atambua yesterday sending guards fleeing into the jungle, local police chief Lt Col Heb Behen said.

So far, only 25 inmates have been caught or have surrendered.

The executions of the Christian militants by firing squad for a brutal massacre at an Islamic school six years ago appeared to smooth the way for the executions of three Muslims convicted in the 2002 Bali bombings.

Some analysts said the government would be unwilling to spark public anger by carrying out death sentences against the Islamic convicts ahead of the Christians.

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