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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 06:17 GMT
Indonesia president visits Bali bomb site
Anti-riot police guarding the hospital in Solo where radical Muslim cleric was taken on Monday
Indonesian security forces remain on alert
Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has arrived on the island of Bali for a second visit to the scene of the bombing which killed at least 180 people earlier this month.

Her spokesman said Megawati would go to the tourist area in Kuta which was devastated in the attack, and would meet local officials before returning to the capital, Jakarta.

Megawati Sukarnoputri at the Bali bombing site
Megawati has been accused of weak leadership
The visit comes as police prepare to question radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, following his transfer from a hospital in his hometown in central Java to Jakarta on Monday.

The authorities want to ask Mr Ba'asyir about his alleged involvement in a number of attacks in South-East Asia, and his alleged leadership of a group some governments link with the Bali bombing.

It is unclear whether President Megawati will visit survivors of the attack at the local hospital.

She has been criticised by politicians and the Indonesian media for her handling of the crisis.

Hospital room stormed

On Monday, police clashed with hundreds of Mr Ba'asyir's supporters as he was taken away from hospital.

At least four policemen and several of his supporters were injured.

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir in his hospital bed
The cleric denies involvement in terrorism
Mr Ba'asyir, 64, was taken to a police hospital in Jakarta.

"Doctors said he should rest for four days," a police official told Reuters news agency. "After that, we will question him."

More than 300 police had taken up positions around the hospital in Solo where Mr Ba'asyir had spent the last 10 days being treated for respiratory problems and heart and stomach complications.

Police broke the lock on the door of his hospital room, put him in a wheelchair and wheeled him outside to a waiting van.

But they were soon confronted by radical Muslim leaders and students, many as young as 12, from Mr Ba'asyir's religious school.

'Assassination plot'

Punches were thrown as his supporters angrily shouted abuse at police. They accuse police of kidnapping him, arguing that there are no grounds for arrest.

The cleric's supporters surround a vehicle as he is taken away
Supporters of the cleric clashed with police on Monday
Mr Ba'asyir had been under detention in his hospital bed since 18 October. Police have been waiting for him to get fit enough to be questioned.

He is accused of involvement in a spate of bomb attacks on Christian churches in Indonesia in 2000 and an assassination attempt on Megawati before she became president.

The cleric is also the alleged leader of the militant Jemaah Islamiah group, which authorities suspect could have been involved in the Bali bombing.

Mr Ba'asyir denies all the allegations and says he is not the leader of the militant group.

The BBC's Richard Galpin reports from Jakarta
"It is not clear when the interrogation will begin"

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See also:

28 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
27 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
26 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
27 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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