According to Indonesia’s national disaster mitigation agency, the victims were buried under fallen buildings. The quake also damaged many buildings of universities, houses, a mosque, a church, bridges and roads on Maluku’s Ambon island.
The US Geological Survey said the quake struck about 37km northeast of Ambon at a depth of 29km.
Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said no tsunami warning was issued. However, local media reported that hundreds had evacuated to higher grounds.
Last year, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi island killed more than 2,200 people, with another thousand declared missing.