28 January, 2006

Major quake triggers panic in Indonesia

A major earthquake measuring 7.7 on the Richter scale has rocked eastern Indonesia, cracking walls and triggering panic, the US Geological Survey and local residents said.

The quake struck at 1:58 am (1658 GMT Friday) in the Banda Sea, around 195 kilometers (120 miles) south of Ambon city at a depth of 340 kilometres (220 miles), the US Geological Survey said in on its website.

There were no immediate reports of major damage or casualties.

"It was so strong that people who were soundly sleeping were awakened," Ambon resident Sulaiman Tuasikal.

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