Sunday, October 01, 2006

Another blast hits Poso

Unidentified men threw what appeared to be a home-made bomb at a police vehicle in an Indonesian town which has been plagued by religious violence, but it caused no casualties, police said Sunday. The blast was aimed at a police bomb-squad van in the Central Sulawesi town of Poso and occurred a few hours before midnight Saturday. It was the fourth to rock the town in a day, AFP reported citing local police. "It only caused slight damage to the vehicle while those inside the car were uninjured," First Inspector Dian of the Poso district police said. He declined further details. Poso was rocked by three low-explosive blasts at separate locations earlier Saturday. Police believed they were aimed at stirring up unrest following the execution of three Christians in the province last month.
The trio, Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus da Silva and Marianus Riwu, were shot dead for inciting violence against Muslims in religiously-divided Central Sulawesi in 2000. The executions were strongly opposed by Christians. Sporadic unrest in several Christian-dominated areas in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, erupted last week after the executions. The Kompas daily said that the evening blast triggered panic among the population, with some 2,000 people, many armed with swords, gathering near a marketplace where security was still tight following the earlier blasts. There was no reported violence and the crowd disbanded peacefully later. International rights activists had criticised the fairness of the condemned Christian convicts' trials and suggested they were merely scapegoats for the violence that rocked Central Sulawesi, including Poso.

There was also another bomb blast near Maranatha Church in Kawua an hour before the bombing attempt on the police van. The Indonesian version of Antara reports that the two blasts were only 300 metres apart and the second blast was on Jalan Tabatoki near the District Office in south Poso, slightly damaging the police vehicle. The 714th Battalion and Central Sulawesi Brimob (Mobile Brigade) have been dispersed throughout the city to maintain order.

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