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Indonesia sets up team to tackle Sulawesi violence JAKARTA - Indonesia has set up a special counter-terrorism team to try to halt bloodshed in the country's east after a bomb attack on a Christian market which killed seven people, the chief security minister said on Wednesday. The bombing last Saturday hit a market in the city of Palu, capital of Central Sulawesi province.

It was the latest attack in what analysts say has been a campaign to re-ignite tension in a region where Muslim-Christian clashes raged several years ago, killing 2,000 people before a peace accord took effect. Minister Widodo Adi Sutjipto said the new team comprised police, intelligence officials and members of the Interior Ministry. It would have a three-month mandate, which could be extended if necessary.

"The focus will be on law enforcement, counter-terrorism, intelligence and security ... The stress will be on how to unravel criminal and terror cases more quickly," Widodo told reporters. Police said the team began operations on Wednesday. It would focus on Palu and the Muslim town of Poso, where much of the 1998-2001 sectarian bloodshed took place, Widodo added. Palu lies 1,600 km (1,000 miles) northeast of Jakarta.

Police have detained one man over the weekend nail bombing but he has not been named a suspect. The attack targeted a market selling pork, which is forbidden to Muslims, who account for 85 percent of Indonesia's people. The east of the sprawling country of 17,000 islands has large pockets of Christians. The blast came after warnings of militant attacks during the Christmas and New Year season in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

In other incidents of violence in Central Sulawesi, three teenage Christian girls were beheaded near Poso last October. Bomb attacks last May in the Central Sulawesi Christian town of Tentena killed 22 people. Most Indonesian Muslims are moderates, but an increasingly active militant minority has emerged in recent years.


Link to related event Related event:
Central Sulawesi conflict

Related blog entries (category 'C. Sulawesi conflict') Related blog entries (category 'C. Sulawesi conflict'):
03 January 2006 · Sulawesi police find traces of Palu bomb blast
01 January 2006 · Police detain man after market bombing
31 December 2005 · Bomb blast kills seven in Palu
20 November 2005 · Gunmen shoot and wound Christian couple in Sulawesi
13 November 2005 · 5 men detained over beheading of 3 girls released


Posted in C. Sulawesi conflict @ 04 January 2006 20:41 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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