11/19/2004, 00.00
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Bomb against minibus in Poso, two young men detained

Blast kills six Protestants.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesian police detained two young men in connection with an explosion that killed six Christians in Poso (Central Sulawesi).  Poso police chief Aryanto Stadi said that the 25- and 28-year-old men have not been charged but are being interrogated. They will only be held for 24 hours unless there was evidence to file charges. Witnesses to the attack spoke of three people involved.

On November 2, a minibus on its daily trip between Poso and Tentenna blew up at a bus stop near a crowded market in Poso, just 50 meters from the city's main police station, killing six Protestants from the predominantly Christian village of Sape (18 km south-east of Poso).

The motive behind the blast was not known, but Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo Adi Sucipto described it as an act of terrorism. In his opinion, the blast was probably the act of groups bent on igniting a religious conflict.

Indonesia's Vice-President Jusuf Kalla suggested that besides the religious aspect there are terrorist cells using "illegal weapons" which the police has already identified and against whom is preparing a "decisive action".

Laskar Jihad, an Islamist group linked to Osama Bin Laden's terror network, has cells operating in Sulawesi province.

A Christian-Muslim conflict flared up in 1999. It was followed by a peace accord signed in 2001 which has reduced tensions and clashes but not altogether eliminated them. (MH)

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