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Explosion rocks police HQ JAKARTA - A blast that rocked police headquarters in Jakarta early on Monday was triggered by an explosive device, police said, but there was no immediate report of casualties. Police spokesman Edward Aritonang told reporters the blast took place outside an auditorium in the headquarters complex that is frequently used for public events like weddings.
"The guard found a black bag outside the building's terrace near a flower pot," he said. The bomb squad was called, but an explosive device in the bag went off before the squad arrived, Aritonang said. A witness in the headquarters complex told Reuters: "The device was a bomb found around 6.30 a.m...According to the police it was a homemade one with a timer and battery."
"It was a small blast and (there were) no casualties," the witness said. The explosion shattered windows and severely damaged the roof of the building's lobby, other witnesses said. Aritonang said the building would be closed indefinitely. "We admit that it is one of our security weaknesses, because the (building) is open for the public," he said.
He did not speculate on who might have planted the device. Indonesia has seen sporadic bomb blasts in recent years as it struggles to deal with ethnic, religious and separatist violence. Nearly 200 people were killed in a bomb attack last October 12 on Indonesia's resort island of Bali in an incident that authorities have blamed on Islamic militants linked to the Southeast Asian regional Jemaah Islamiah network.
More than 20 people have been arrested over the Bali attack. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. The vast majority of its Muslims are moderates, but the growing militancy of some elements has prompted clashes with Christian groups and calls to switch from a secular government to an Islamic one.
Since September diplomats and other sources have warned of possible bomb attacks in Jakarta by militant groups linked to Jemaah Islamiah and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda. There have been several bomb alerts in the capital since, with explosive devices being found in some cases. A U.S.-owned building was said to be the target of a botched grenade-throwing incident in September in which one would-be attacker was killed.
Security has been stepped up at embassies and many private and public facilities in Jakarta, but Monday's blast may raise fresh questions about whether enough is being done.



Posted in Violence @ 03 February 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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