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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-324925 Indonesia/Bombs (L)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=5/29/05

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

TITLE=INDONESIA / BOMBS (L-ONLY)

NUMBER=2-324925

BYLINE=TIM JOHNSTON

DATELINE=SEMINYAK, INDONESIA

CONTENT=

HEADLINE: Indonesia Investigating Market Bombings

INTRO: The authorities in Indonesia have said that terrorists were behind the Saturday bombing of a busy market in the town of Tentena. Twenty-two people died and over 30 were wounded by the two bombs, which hit in an area that has seen bitter sectarian fighting between Christians and Muslims. The government has promised better security to prevent a further escalation of the conflict, but, as Tim Johnston reports for VOA from Seminyak, Indonesia, tensions are already high.

TEXT: A day after the two blasts ripped through Tentena's busy market, it is still unclear who was responsible for them, although, given that Tentena's residents are overwhelmingly Christian, some officials are blaming Islamic extremists.

Indonesia's chief of police has visited the area, and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is visiting Vietnam, has told investigators they need to find the perpetrators quickly.

/// YUDHOYONO ACT IN INDONESIAN, EST & FADE UNDER ///

He expresses his sympathy for those who lost their lives as a result of what he calls "senseless violence."

Indonesia's vice president, Jusuf Kalla, said he believed that the bombers had come from outside the region, but Central Sulawesi has a bitter history of home-grown sectarian conflict.

Between 1999 and 2001, more than one-thousand people died there when extremist groups from both sides of the Muslim-Christian divide went on the rampage.

The situation has been calmer since the two communities signed a peace deal in 2001, but sporadic attacks have continued, although few on the scale of Saturday's bombings.

During the original violence, Tentena's small Muslim population was forced to flee and the town acquired a reputation for harboring Christian militants.

Some analysts have suggested that Saturday's attacks might have been spurred by revenge. This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of the so-called Walisongo massacre, when Christians murdered hundreds of Muslim villagers, teachers and pupils who had taken refuge in the Walisongo Islamic boarding school, not far from Tentena. (SIGNED)

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