Atrocities in Ambon Reported by Eyewitnesses


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(The following is the text of a report of a visit to the war zone of a religious war between Moslems and Christians on the island of Ambon, East Indonesia, by the Rev. Willem Hekman, Pastor of Calvary Life Fellowship meeting at the Imperial Century Hotel, Lippo Karawaci, Tangerang, West Java. Because of the gravity of its content, it is reprinted in full with permission from Rev. Hekman. Pictures to illustrate this eyewitness account may soon be made available upon request to Michael Ireland at <>).

Mr. Daniel from Switzerland and I visited the island of Ambon from November 28th to December 2nd, 1999. What we witnessed is almost indescribable. We arrived at the airport but we could not go via the road to the city of Ambon. Certain areas are controlled by Moslems and we were told that the Moslems stop all vehicles, check ID cards and shoot the Christians on sight.

We took a speedboat to the other side of the bay where the city of Ambon is located.

The city of Ambon is divided into two areas controlled by Christians and Moslems. There is no communication between the two areas with the exception to police and military vehicles. The Moslems control the area of the harbor and the Christian the airport and part of the city. Army units guard the boundary areas between the Moslem and Christian areas.

Hundreds of churches and thousands of houses of Christians have been burned by the Moslems, usually assisted by Moslem soldiers of the armed forces. I read many reports of attacks on Christian villages and I am mentioning some reports in this account.

We visited one village called Hative Kecil and saw a protestant and Pentecostal burned down together with all the houses of the Christians in the village. The Pastor Rev. Lopulaan reported that the attack came at about midday on Wednesday, July 27th, 1999 after a Moslem mob had stoned the village for the previous hour. Then 5 military personnel posted in the village came down the street firing into the air. They paved the way for the Moslem mobs to loot and burn down the houses of the Christians.

The people told me that the Immanuel church was being guarded by 26 Christians. When the soldiers got to the church they went into the church continuing to shoot. They killed 24 of the men and dragged their bodies outside the church where they were burnt. The soldiers belonged to the elite strategic reserve command KOSTRAD 413 and also some members of the paramilitary mobile police (BRIMOP). The victims ranged in ages from 18 to 35. The pastor said that by the time they returned to the scene 21 of the bodies were beyond recognition so we they were buried in a mass grave. I took pictures of the burned out churches and entire village.

This is but one account of many villages burnt, Christians killed, bodies cut open, people beheaded by masses of Moslem mobs shouting, “God is great!” I have dozens of reports of atrocities committed by Moslems assisted by members of the Indonesian Armed Forces. Names, dates and crimes committed. Even names of witnesses and list of names of victims.


We visited two wards and several rooms and met with about 50 men who were wounded during the rioting in the city of Ambon. I wrote down a few names:

Klefi Latupeirissa, 22 years old. His kneecap was damaged. He said he was shot by a soldier of the ZIKON (Construction Division) of the TNI (Indonesian Army) on September 1999.

Daniel Kainama, 45 years old. He lost his hand. He told me he was shot by a soldier of the ARMED Division. (Special Artillery troops) at close range.

Rudy Resbal, 27 years old, severely wounded by soldiers of KODAM 733/16.

Herman Sabono, 15 years old, shot in the back by soldiers while running away from the rioting scene.

Yohanes Leka Tompessy, 25 years old. Severely wounded on October 4th 1999 by soldiers of the ZIPUR 3 Division of the Army.

Tony Tamaela, 28 years old, severely wounded by a hand grenade.

Mrs. Reni Matatula, 32 yrs old, related to Pastor Arnold’s wife. She has two children, a boy in first class junior high school and a daughter in elementary school. She was in her house picking up something getting ready to flee from her village of Mardika as the soldiers were shooting and using tear gas to clear out the village. She was shot in the back twice and once in her wrist. Some soldier from ARMED units shot her from the nearby Wijaya Hotel. The bullets used are of the SS1 type, which explode upon entering the body. One bullet still remains in her stomach. The others were taken out. Much damage was done to her internally. Her husband has been told there are surgeons in Ambon and she must go to Jakarta. They have no funds for travel and for the operation. The travel costs are approximately $1200 for her, a nurse and the husband. She cannot move the lower part of her body and is on intravenous feeding. The cost of operation would cost an estimated $1000.

Hetaria, 35 years old from the village of Batu Merah. Severely wounded by three bullets shot by a soldier of KODAM Wira Buana of the Kostrad Division of Ujung Pandang.

All the others in the hospital have the same story and told me how they were shot by soldiers of the TNI (Indonesian Army).

Visit with Waiheru Village Chief, Mr. El Taihutu and Pastor of the Molucan Protestant Church in Waiheru, Rev. Martin Siahaya, November 30th, 1999, in the Refugee Camp in Paso.

The village of Waiheru, on the island of Ambon consisted of 65% Moslems and 35% Christians. They had been living harmoniously together for many years. Their village covers and area of about 3 square kilometers.

On November 22nd, 1999 a Moslem mob assisted by armed forces members of Company B, Infantry 733, Kodem 16 Pattimura attached the village and burned down approximately 400 houses of the Christians. The Protestant and Roman Catholic churches were saved from destruction because both churches were guarded by 7 Christian soldiers of Company Ban and Company B of the same army units.


The next day a lady from the same village, Mrs. Endang Taihita was beheaded by Moslems and her body burned. She was buying needs for her family in a Moslem controlled market where she had been shopping for many years. Another lady, Mrs. Lis Apalem was also beheaded; her head placed upon her body and consequently the body was burned. She had crossed the road to get some vegetables from her garden.

I witness the burning of the village of Ahuru, a Roman Catholic village in the city of Ambon, on December 1, 1999.

For several hours I heard shootings by the Armed Forces in the areas of the village of Galunggung (Moslem village) towards the village of Ahuru, which we had visited the previous day. The strategy of the Moslems (assisted by Indonesian soldiers) is to scare away the Christians from the villages with several hours of shooting at the houses and at the people. The Christians flee the area. Then the Moslems move in, loot the homes of the Christians and set fire to their houses. I took a series of pictures of the houses being burned one after the other.

Rudy Tahertian was shot and killed and Mr. Makatita was wounded. No one comes and helps these Christians. On December 2nd I saw the body of Mr. Joel Huka, 52 years old. He was shot and killed by one bullet while trying to safe people from their burning houses. He leaves behind his wife and 7 children.

I saw 3 trucks roll by full of Kostrad Army troops but it made no difference.

The houses kept being burned. After the village is burned down, the military come and guard the burned out village so that the people don’t return.

Village after village is being burned down and little by little the Moslems are driving out the Christians and occupy their areas. The Christians are trying to defend their property, their land, houses and their families. They have fabricated homemade handguns and pistols but they are no match for the Indonesian soldiers with modern weapons, grenades, teargas and even armed vehicles. I saw some dozens of young men walking in a long line toward the battlefield holding their primitive weapons. They cried out to me. We have no one to help us! The world is paying no attention to us as we are losing our homes, land, churches and family members.


The morning of December 1st, 1999 my companion, Daniel from Switzerland and I visited the village of Mardika in the heart of the city of Ambon. The story is the same. Soldiers of ARMED 11, Kostrad from Solo (Java) entered the village of Mardika on November 26, 1999 at 9.30 am shooting and using tear gas to drive out the Christians. Seventeen people died that day. After the Christians fled their village the Moslems came in, looted all the houses and burned down over 100 houses. They write degrading words about the Lord Jesus Christ on the walls of the burned out houses. They come prepared with cans of gasoline to do their evil work. We witnessed 2 burned bodies lying in the doorway of their house.

I have pictures of the bodies and the burned out village as proof of this eyewitness account.


I read a report from the Head of the village of Elaar and from Pastor A. Luhukay, the Pastor of the Molucan Protestant Church in Elaar.

The following people were shot and killed on April 6, 1999:

1. Mr. Esau Warbal, 44 years old.

2. Mr. Semuan Larubun, 60.

3. Mr. George Madubun, 50

4. Mr. Anton Ngarbingan, 40.

5. Mr. Marten Renoat, 20.

6. Mr. Harun Madubun, 70.

7. Mr. Wilhelmus Renoat, 70.

8. Mr. Bernabas Madubun, 70.

9. Mrs. Fransina Madubun, 70.

10. Mrs. Min Madubun, 80.

11. Mr. B. Foudubun, 80.

12. Mr. Boy Ngablin 80.

13. Mr. V. Ngabalin, 80.

14. Mrs. Nel Rahantoknam, 80.

15. Mrs. Fin Renoat, 80.

16. Mr. Silas Metubun, 40.

17. Mr. Ibrahim Balubun, 60.

18. Mrs. Atina Balubun, 60.

19. Mr. S. Madubun, 30.

20. Mr. Moses Balubun, 70.

21. Mrs. Mice Renyaan, 60.

22. Mrs. Dolvina Labetubun, 80.

23. Mrs. Esterlina Labetubun, 70.

24. Mrs. Salomina Labetubun, 60.

25. Mrs. Costafina Ditubun, 60.

26. Mr. Charles Labetubun, 100.

Before the 72 houses were burned to the ground they were looted by the Moslem mobs. The village Center and the office of the Village Chief were also burned down. The Protestant Church was also burned down.


According to the report of the Village Chief and the Pastor, the Moslem mobs who killed, looted and burned above village were led by the following men:

1. Drs. Ali Rahayaan, The Director of the Department of Education and Culture

of the Southeast Moluccans, Ambon.

2. Drs. Mohamed Madubun, a. government employee at the Bupati Office KDH tk.

II, Southeast Moluccans, Ambon.

3. Mr. Hasan Rahayaan, An employee of Shipping Company PELNI in Tual, Ambon.

4. Mr. Aly Rahabaw, Member of Indonesian Army, Kodim 1503 Malra.


The morning of December 1st, 1999 at 10 am Daniel and I had the privilege to meet with and encourage about 100 Christian leaders who had gathered in the Salvation Army church in the city of Ambon. First Daniel shared and then I shared from Colossians chapter 1. It was a privilege to meet with these servants of God who are going through much suffering and encourage them to be steadfast and not loose their faith in the Lord. We had wonderful season of prayer at the close of the service. Nearly all stood to their feet to make a full surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. Pastor Arnold led in the prayer of dedication of these God’s choice servants from the Protestant churches, Baptist, Pentecostal, Bethel Church, Salvation Army and others. Praise the Name of the Lord.

Further information, reports, documentary accounts, etc. can be obtained by

contacting the following addresses:

1. Council of Churches, Jl. Pattimura, No. 1, Ambon, Indonesia.

Tel. 0911-352276.

2. Pentecostal Churches of Moluccans, Jl. Imam Bonjol, 24, Gg KOMATSU

PO Box 1075, Ambon 97127. Tel. 0911-97127.

3. Team of Church Lawyers, Maranatha Church, Jl Pattimura 1, Ambon

Indonesia, Tel. 0911-352276.



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