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One sentenced in Christian killings

world Updated: Oct 05, 2007 12:59 IST

An Islamic militant was on Thursday sentenced to 15 years jail for killing two Christians during an attack on a passenger boat in eastern Indonesia in 2005.

Judges said Sulthon Qolbi was a member of Kompak, an Islamic militant group that took part in fighting between Christians and Muslims in the eastern Maluku island chain between 1999 and 2002.

The group kept up occasional attacks against Christian targets after the war ended.

Qolbi was found guilty of violating the country's anti-terror laws for taking part in the attack on the passenger boat off Buru island in February 2005. He and several other militants opened fire on the boat with automatic weapons.

It was not clear whether he would appeal the verdict, which was handed down at a district court in Ambon, the main town in the Maluku island chain.

Qolbi is the seventh in a group of militants convicted in a series of attacks against Christians that claimed more than a dozen lives between 2004 and 2005.

Maluku province is about 3,000 kilometers east of Jakarta and was known as the Spice Islands during Dutch colonial rule. Upto 9,000 people died in the 1999-2002 fighting, which helped train militants from the Al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror group.