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ASIA
DECEMBER 7, 1998 VOL. 152 NO. 22


Muslim leaders interrogate a Christian, Tahan Manahan Simatupang, moments before he was beaten to death. JOHN STANMEYER/SABA


Descent into Madness
Riven by ethnic and religious hatred, Indonesia is slipping out of control
By TERRY McCARTHY Jakarta

When Jimmy Siahae hit the ground, that was the end. The Muslim mob never let him up again. Their weapons were dull--bamboo staves, kitchen knives, metal spikes--but their hatred was sharp. Siahae was 45, a Christian from the eastern Indonesian island of Ambon, suspected of attacking their mosque. As the terrible retribution began, Siahae didn't have a prayer.

They started on his head, beating and kicking. One man hacked at his left hand, nearly severing it at the wrist. Knives plunged into his flesh. They had stripped him to the waist so they could see the wounds they were inflicting. They were in no hurry to kill him. At one point a youth--he could not have been 18--leaned over and quite deliberately stuck an ice pick between two ribs deep into Siahae's right lung. He pulled it out again and looked at the blood on the steel with satisfaction. Siahae was face down on the concrete now, heaving for breath, too battered to cry out, barely conscious. His back was scored with stab wounds. The youth was smiling.

The mob turned its victim over and stomped on his face. It was already beaten beyond recognition. One eyeball was out of its socket. Another of his tormentors sliced his ear with a blade. "Let him die slowly," someone said, and the mob laughed.

PAGE 1  |  2  |  3

R E L A T E D
S T O R I E S :

FALLING APART AT THE SEEMS
As legislators meet to draft new election laws, students and troops clash in the worst street violence since Suharto's fall. The country's political future hangs in the balance





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