"We've taken a passive approach because these jihad Muslims came here to help their Muslim brothers," said M. Saleh Latuconsina, governor of Ambon and the Maluku Islands, in his first-ever interview with foreign correspondents.
"Only about 10 percent of them have been militant."
According to the governor, a Muslim, "cracking down on the people who are organizing this would be counterproductive and would make the situation worse."
Is the conflict a religious war?
"No, no," he
insisted, pointing at his
cabinet staff, which includes Vice Governor Paula B. Renyaan, a Christian."I'm asking the religious leaders to look inward at the false teaching that has led to this.
said change must start with individuals, then spread outward to village, city and district.But on the front lines, members of the Christian resistance have a different perspective.By night, six militia leaders from Christian communities slipped into Ambon
City to share their views.
Self-described "field generals," each has hundreds of men and boys ready for battle.
"Religious leaders from both sides talk reconciliation and peace, but then the Muslims go back and organize more attacks," said one resistance leader.