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Aceh blast could be suicide bombing - NEW YEAR'S EVE CONCERT EXPLOSION
Strait Times ^ | Jan 02, 2004 Indonesia | AP, AFP

Posted on 01/04/2004 5:44:42 AM PST by miltonim

Indonesian police chief says a corpse at the scene has not been identified, and police are investigating if it was a suicide bombing

JAKARTA - Indonesian police are investigating the possibility that a suicide bomber was responsible for a New Year's Eve blast that killed 10 people in restive Aceh province.

General Da'i Bachtiar said a corpse belonging to one of the victims of Wednesday's bomb at a crowded music concert in the east of the province had yet to be identified.

'Whether he was the perpetrator or not, we are still investigating. It is possible that it was a suicide bombing,' he told reporters yesterday without elaborating.

On Thursday, the authorities in Aceh accused separatist rebels in the province of planting the bomb, which they speculated was triggered by a timer.

The rebels have no history of suicide attacks or bombings designed to kill innocent civilians and have denied responsibility for the blast, which wounded 45 people.

It was the bloodiest bombing in Aceh since the government abandoned on May 19 a six-month truce and launched a military offensive against the rebels, who want independence for their oil-and gas-rich province.

The 2002 Bali nightclub bombings and a blast last August at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta were both believed to be have been suicide attacks. Those attacks were carried out by Islamic militants.

While Aceh is overwhelmingly Muslim, the Aceh rebels are not believed to have links with religious militants. They have repeatedly said their struggle is for a separate state, not an Islamic one.

The rebels launched their independence bid in 1976 after Jakarta refused to give the province increased autonomy. About 12,000 people have died in the conflict. More than 1,300 alleged rebels have been killed since May.

Meanwhile, residents and troops have given blood and additional doctors have been sent to treat the victims of the blast.

A paramedic at Langsa General hospital said 29 people were still being treated as of Friday, including 15 in intensive care.

Most were aged under 20 and they included a girl aged four, said the paramedic, who declined to be identified. Most had suffered burns.

Doctors from the provincial capital Banda Aceh and Medan in neighbouring North Sumatra had arrived to help and residents and soldiers had given blood.

'The homemade bomb that exploded in the crowd is the kind usually used by the local separatist movement,' said Lieutenant-Colonel Firdaus Komarno, a spokesman for the martial law administrator.

He said the dead included two boys aged one-and-a-half years and seven.

The attack was 'clearly carried out by GAM' because explosive residue was similar to bombs previously used by the rebel group, said Aceh provincial police spokesman Syed Husainy.

The aim was to 'instil terror into the public', he said. --

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aceh; indonesia; mohammedans; nye; southeastasia

1 posted on 01/04/2004 5:44:42 AM PST by miltonim
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