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SLUG: 2-311396 Indonesia Aceh (S-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=01/01/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=INDONESIA BLAST (S-ONLY)

NUMBER=2-311396

BYLINE=KATHERINE MARIA

DATELINE=HONG KONG

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: A powerful explosion ripped through a crowd in Indonesia's war-torn Aceh province, killing 10 people and injuring 45. Authorities blamed the bombing on the province's separatist movement. V-O-A's Katherine Maria reports from our Asia News Center.

TEXT: Most of the victims in the New Years Eve bomb attack in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province were young revelers.

The blast occurred just three-hours before midnight in the town of Peureulak, where people had gathered to hear a New Year's Eve concert.

Aceh's current administration, which has ruled since May, blamed the separatist Free Aceh Movement for the attack. But the group denied involvement, and no one else has claimed responsibility.

In May, the Indonesian government launched an offensive against the rebels after negotiations failed to bring peace to the province. The rebels want independence for Aceh, which is rich in oil and gas deposits.

Just hours before the bombing, Indonesia's president, Megawati Sukarnoputri, characterized the government offensive against the rebels as a success. The military says it has killed at least 13-hundred rebels since the offensive began.

The conflict started nearly three-decades ago.

NEB/HK/KM/MH/RAE/TW



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