Eklesia Church, Poso

Jul 3rd, 2006, in News, by

A bomb exploded in the Eklesia church in Poso, central Sulawesi.

The bomb, thought to be a homemade device, exploded on Saturday night at the Eklesia church, on Jl. Pulau Seram in Gebang Rejo village, in the Central Sulawesi regency of Poso, but no casualties were reported.

The explosion was heard about three km’s away, but caused no major physical damage to the building. The church was still under renovation after suffering fire damage due to Islamic jihadist attacks several years ago.

Local people who had been waiting for the start of the World Cup soccer match between England and Portugal were said to have roused themselves from in front of their televisions and rushed to the scene of the explosion. Police lines were erected and an investigation begun. A growing crowd dispersed after being asked to leave.

Inspector General Paulus Purwoko, chief of the Central Sulawesi Security Operation Command, said that preliminary investigation results suggested a homemade bomb had been used.

It was caused by an explosive which had no metal casing. It caused a loud explosion but would not hurt anybody due to the absence of metal particles.

Police will continue investigating by collecting debris from the blast, he added.

Security forces in the city have been on high alert since 2005 following a spate of attacks targeting Christians. The renewed violence has included bombings at marketplaces and the beheadings of three schoolgirls.

Darwis Waru, head of the Poso Conflict Resolution center, said it had become a kind of habit that whenever security officers were withdrawn from an area, bomb blasts, shootings, murders and kidnappings followed.

We predicted there would be a new incident because Koopskam is ending its duties. So we’re not shocked. It’s become normal for us in Poso.

Update July 06

It seems that the cause of the bombing was that certain people object to the church’s rebuilding after it was damaged in inter-religious violence several years ago. Now, six days after the latest attack, workers yesterday (5/7), returned to the site to continue the reconstruction, reports say. The workers were initially reluctant to return but now they are protected by security officers. It is planned that a (permanent?) police guard house will be built opposite the church.

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