updated 12/6/2006 12:18:11 PM ET 2006-12-06T17:18:11

The mother of one of three Christian girls beheaded last year on an Indonesian island wracked by religious violence said Wednesday that she has forgiven her daughter’s killers.

Haderita Rongkohulu made the comments in testimony to the Central Jakarta District Court where the trial of Hasanuddin, 34, the alleged ringleader of three suspected Islamic militants accused in the slayings, began last month.

Yarni Sambue, Haderita’s daughter, was one of the three girls mutilated as they walked to school in Poso on Oct. 29, 2005.

Haderita told the court that she learned of her daughter’s death from a television report.

She said the three suspects had offered their apologies when she met them last month at the National Police Headquarters.

“I accepted their apologies. We have to forgive them for the sake of humanity,” Haderita said.

Hasanuddin, who goes by one name, has said they killed the girls to avenge the massacre of Muslims in Poso, the scene of religious clashes that left at least 1,000 people dead from 1998 to 2002.

Two other defendants, Lilik Purnomo and Irwanto Irano, will be tried separately.

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