Dozens of houses and a mosque were set ablaze today when Christians and Muslims clashed in Indonesia's Spice Islands, leaving 14 people dead and three others missing, officials said.

The fighting occurred in Masohi, a small town on the island of Seram, 1,500 miles east of Jakarta, the capital of the Indonesian archipelago.

Malik Selang, an administrator at Al Fatah Hospital in Ambon, said nine Muslims were killed. A Christian clergyman in Ambon said five Christians were also slain in the clash and three were missing. He refused to be identified for fear of reprisals.

Both men said that most of the casualties were caused by security forces firing into battling mobs. Military officials were not available for comment, and the reports could not be independently verified.

At least 1,200 people have died in the region, known as the Spice Islands during Dutch colonial rule, since sectarian clashes first erupted a year ago.

Although Indonesia has been plagued by violence in recent months as several provinces pursue independence, this week's fighting was the worst of any religious conflict in the country's 50-year history. About 350 people have been killed in the past week.

Today, the army dispatched more reinforcements in an attempt to end the fighting. About 500 troops landed on Morotai island in North Maluku province, local commander Lt. Col. Slamet Riyadi said.