(RNS) Nearly 40 people were reported dead Monday (Dec. 27) in afresh round of Christian-Muslim violence on the Indonesian island ofAmbon, ignoring efforts to bring peace to a region once celebrated forits religious tolerance.

Indonesia's official Antara news agency said the victims were fromtwo days of clashes that broke out after a 14-year-old Muslim boy washit by a car driven by a Christian.

Most of the victims were burned to death in arson and fighting onDec. 26 in Ambon city, the capital of the Spice Island province, andalready devastated by yearlong sectarian strife, Reuters reported.

Once held up as a model of interreligious tolerance, Ambon has beenplagued by a year of violent clashes triggered by a dispute between ataxi driver and a drunk that have taken some 800 lives.

The Associated Press reported that in addition to the deaths,Ambon's main Christian church and a Muslim mosque were set on fire.

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