Poso Bombings

Dec 31st, 2005, in News, by

A bomb in Palu, Sulawesi.

A bomb has exploded in front a house where pigs are slaughtered in the central Sulawesi town of Palu. So far 8 deaths have been reported and 47 injuries. The area outside the house, where there is a roadside shop, or kiosk, selling pork meat, was bustling with Christian shoppers buying provisions for New Years’ Eve celebrations. On the other side of the road from the kiosk is located a branch of the Bethel Church.

The blast comes despite much increased security operations in the Christmas-New Year period. Brigadier General Oegroseno, the Central Sulawesi Police Chief said:

This is a deliberate act to disrupt the New Year celebrations.

The brigadier however refused to attribute blame for the attack pending investigations. He said a second bomb was found at the scene and defused.
The attack brings back memories of another New Years’ in the provincial capital of central Sulawesi when in 2002 four churches were bombed although no one was killed on that occasion.

1st January 2006. It appears Indonesian police have detained one man believed to have been involved in the attack that killed seven people in the central Sulawesi town.

The deputy national police spokesman said:

We are interrogating one person intensively. Based on what witnesses said, he was around the crime scene before the bomb blast asking questions of people there.

The man, in his forties, and a stranger to the area, was said to have been asking local shopkeepers where they lived and other personal details.

The homemade bomb was filled with nails and injured around fifty people in addition to the fatalities. Typically, the authorities and religious leaders have claimed that the bomb attack was an attempt to stoke the fires of religious hatred in the religiously divided province.

Update, January 02, 2006. It is believed by some that a group known as “Tim Bunga”, or Flower Team, is responsible for the attack.

The Indonesian military announced that one of those killed in the bombing was a serving officer in the regular army. Chief Sergeant Tasman Lahansa, 35, and his wife Postalina Manis Mandey, were shopping for New Years’ provisions when the bomb at the market in Palu, Sulawesi exploded. A military service was held for the soldier before the bodies were flown to their hometown in pre-dominantly Christian North Sulawesi province.

No further concrete news regarding arrests or charges in the bombing. The man, named Mulyono, who has is still being questioned is believed to be a supplier of pork meat to the traders in the market. Mulyono is from a nearby town in central Sulawesi and had been noticed at the market asking traders odd questions shortly before the blast.

Central Sulawesi Police chief Brigadier General Oegroseno said Mulyono was:

Not as a suspect yet, but a highly-suspected person.

whatever that means.

Oegroseno also said the bomb was of a low-explosive type, and filled with pieces of iron, glass and nails. It was similar to the bombs that had been used in other attacks on Palu, and Poso, approximately 300 km east of Palu.

Update, January 03, 2006 – Part 2. It now appears the bomb used in the blast was packed with the head of a mortar round and ball bearings, not nails and glass as earlier reported, police said today, Jan. 03. Traces of potassium chlorate, sulfur and aluminum were also found at the bomb site.

Mulyono, the 37 year old man being held for questioning has not been charged and the authorities have until Saturday to release or charge him under anti-terrorism laws.

Update, January 04, 2006. One of the victims of the blast recounts how his brother met the man who is currently being questioned by police:

He told me there was this guy near him who was carrying a plastic bag. This guy put it on the food table while ordering some meat. When the vendor went to look for small changes for the man, he went away. The vendor later put the plastic bag under his table, which exploded minutes later.

The chief of the Poso desk at the Office of Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Demak Lubis, said the bombing was connected to the terrorist network led by fugitive Noordin M. Top.

Based on our intelligence, Noordin has something to do with the bombing. The perpetrators are related to those who launched recent bomb attacks in Poso and Tentena (both in Central Sulawesi).

Update, January 08, 2006. Not to anyone’s surprise the police yesterday released the 37 year old Mulyono due to lack of evidence. Rais Adam, police spokesman:

Based on our anti-terror law, we have to release him as we did not find sufficient evidence to charge him after seven days of questioning. However, there is still another suspect undergoing questioning.

10th January 2006. The man held for one week in connection to the bomb blast at the Palu pork market in Sulawesi was released without charge. Mulyono, a native of central Java, was seen milling about the market suspiciously before the blast, asking traders where they lived.

According to the man, who it now appears is 58, not 47 as previously thought, he was simply looking for the fellow who is going to marry his niece. Said he:

I know nothing about the bombing

The police however still have one man under interrogation and are said to be also looking for the driver of a red Panther car, Isuzu make, from which the bomb is thought to have been hurled into the crowded Christian market.

11th January 2006. On the Muslim holy day of Idul Adha, or Goat Slaughtering Day, a device, thought to be some sort of firecracker cocktail, exploded near the Sion Church building in the town of Poso, central Sulawesi. No-one was hurt.

The explosion could be heard two kilometres away and caused panic among local residents. The police said:

After a preliminary probe by a bomb squad, there was no indication of a bomb. What has been found was merely a package of aluminum foil papers. There was no black powder or a timer.

Looks like an amateur job, but it comes in nervous times, what with the recent attack on Christians in nearby Palu town.

March 7th 2006. Five homemade bombs were found at the back of a high school in Poso, central Sulawesi today, 7/3/. An anonymous caller tipped off the police who then deactivated the bombs which were said to consist of “black powder” and nails. From Media Indonesia.

March 10th 2006. A bomb was found at the front of a state primary school in Poso, central Sulawesi early this morning Metro TV says. It was found by a student who reported it to the school head, the police were called and they deactivated it. Four days ago a similar bomb was discovered at another school in Poso and yesterday a bomb exploded at a Hindu temple.

March 16th 2006. Eleven live bombs were found in the vicinity of Poso in central Sulawesi today.

Tempo reports that the bombs were found in two places; 10 bombs in a septic tank at a burned out house, and one bomb in a water drain at another location.

The regent of Poso, Piet Ingkiriwang, had received a telephone call by an unknown person saying that shooting was going in the Sayo area of Poso. He informed the police who then went to the area and found the bombs during a search.

The bombs were made from steel piping, 15cm long, 3cm wide, and were complete with detonators. The police said that they could have been detonated by battery, timer, or mobile phone. Who the bombs belong to is not known but they are said to be very similar to the bomb found in a high school last week.

March 22nd 2006. Another bomb has gone off in the town of Poso in central Sulawesi.

It exploded at about 7 pm tonight, Wednesday 22 March, and blew the top off a neighbourhood security post. No one was in the post and no one was hurt. Police said it was a crude low explosive device but which made a very loud bang which could be heard 5 km away.

The bomb went off only 500 metres away from the scene of another bomb blast at a Hindu temple that occurred on the 9th of March.

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