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Police find stash of explosive material in Palu PALU - Police on Tuesday found a half-tonne of ammonium nitrate, the same explosive material used in the Bali bombings. It was the second such discovery in a week.
The chemical, also used as fertilizer, was seized from a house in Palu, Sulawesi island, said police Lt. Col. Haka Astana. The owner of the house is being questioned over the find, he added. The discovery comes just as the Canadian Embassy in Jakarta warned Canadians not to travel to Indonesia because of "credible information" it had received about possible terrorist attacks "in the near future" against tourists. On Christmas Day, police seized 250 kilograms of the same fertilizer in a car in Palu. Authorities have arrested five people over the find but are still hunting for the alleged owner of the stash.
Ammonium nitrate can be mixed with fuel oil to make a powerful explosive. It was the substance used in the blasts in Bali that killed 192 people, mostly western tourists. Timothy McVeigh used two tonnes of the fertilizer - mixed in barrels and loaded into a rental truck - to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.
Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaida linked terror group blamed for the Bali blasts, is believed to have stockpiled about four tonnes of the substance. Several bombs have exploded over the last year in Palu, about 1,500 kilometres northeast of Jakarta. Almost 1,000 people have been killed on the island in fighting between Muslims and Christians since mid-2000, but large-scale clashes between the two faiths have died down over the past year.
Ammonium nitrate is widely used by Indonesian farmers, while fishermen use the substance to make bombs to stun fish. Its sale is restricted, and it is a crime to possess it without a licence.



Posted in C. Sulawesi conflict @ 31 December 2002 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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