Vatican anger at beheaded girls

Sulawesi, Indonesia - The Vatican called the beheading of three Indonesian girls from a Christian high school a barbaric act and said that the Pope was praying for peace among the people of the region.

Unidentified assailants attacked a group of girls from a private Christian school in the tense province of Central Sulawesi, beheading three and seriously wounding another. Police said that one of the heads was left in front of a new Christian church and the others near a police station.

Joaquín Navarro-Valls, the Vatican spokesman, said: “The Holy Father charged Monsignor Joseph Theodorus Suwatan, the Bishop of Manado, to offer his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the diocesan community.”

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation, but Central Sulawesi has a roughly equal number of Muslims and Christians. A sectarian war in the region in 2001 and 2002 killed about 1,000 people from both communities. Beheadings, burnings and other atrocities were common. The Government mediated a truce, but the killing of Christians resumed.