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The BBC's Jonathan Head in Jakarta
"A calculated attempt to stir up inter-religious violence"
 real 56k

Father Frans Magnisusayno
"There could be a second wave of bombings"
 real 28k

Government spokesman Wimar Witoelar
"The government is trying its best"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 26 December, 2000, 03:02 GMT
Arrests follow church bombings
Nuns and soldiers in Jakarta
Security precautions at Christmas Day services
Indonesian police say they have arrested two people in connection with the series of Christmas Eve bomb attacks, which targeted Christian churches.

The bombings, which took place in several locations across thousands of kilometres of Indonesian territory, killed at least 14 people and wounded dozens of others.

The government must not hesitate to crack down on those responsible for such a criminal act against humanity

Cardinal Julius Darmaatmaja
Police say the suspects were detained in Bandung after a bomb they were apparently helping to build exploded prematurely.

Three other suspects died in the explosion.

Worshippers stay away

On Christmas day some churches were only half full, because of fears of new attacks, and police searched worshippers' bags.

Funeral of bombing victim
Friends and relatives mourn a victim of the attacks
Indonesia's chief security minister said police intelligence suggested similar bombings were being planned at other places of worship.

Christians make up less than 5% of the population of Indonesia - the world's most populous Muslim state.

The head of the Roman Catholic church in Indonesia called on the authorities to act against the bombers.

"The government must not hesitate to crack down on those responsible for such a criminal act against humanity," Archbishop Cardinal Julius Darmaatmaja said after a Christmas service in Jakarta.

Church blasts
5 blasts, 3 dead
Pekanbaru, Sumatra
7 dead
Sukabumi, W Java
3 dead
Mojokerto, E Java
1 dead
Blasts also in
Medan, Sumatra
Batam island
Bandung, W Java
Mataram, Lombok island
He also said Christians should show restraint over the bombings and not be quick to "blame certain groups of people before the wrongdoers are revealed according to existing laws".


Earlier, Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid called for calm after the Christmas Eve bombing of Christian churches across the country, accusing his opponents of trying to destabilise the country.

"Their steps are to destabilise the government and create fear and panic," said President Wahid, who is under pressure to resign because of the worsening political and economic situation in the country.

In an unusual move, Pope John Paul II said in his Christmas message that he was "thinking particularly of Indonesia, where our brothers and sisters in faith, even on this Christmas day, are undergoing a tragic time of trial and suffering".

It is rare for the Pope to mention a specific country by name in his Christmas message.

Co-ordinated campaign

The blasts happened within minutes of each other in what appeared to be a co-ordinated campaign of terror, police said.

President Abdurrahman Wahid
President Abdurrahman Wahid called for calm
No group has so far said it carried out the attacks, which coincided with the final days of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

In a statement, Laskar Jihad, a Muslim paramilitary group accused of past sectarian violence, denied involvement and said the bombings were "immoral and politically motivated".

The Free Aceh Movement (GAM), fighting for independence for the island of Aceh, also denied involvement in the bombings.

"We have no connection with the bombings in several places in Indonesia because the conflict in Aceh is not a religious conflict," GAM spokesman Teungku Amni bin Marzuki told the Indonesian news agency Antara.

There were fears that outraged Christians might retaliate against Muslims at the start of the feast of Eid al-Fitr on Tuesday night.

The BBC's Jonathan Head in Jakarta says the simultaneous timing of so many blasts is bound to throw suspicion on elements of the military.

They have been blamed for stirring up religious conflict in Indonesia in the chaotic two years which have followed the fall of the Suharto regime.

Religious tensions have risen in recent months throughout the Indonesian archipelago.

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See also:

24 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Indonesian bombings
13 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia's fragile archipelago
07 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Moluccas Christians bombed
25 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Violence flares across Indonesia
02 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Behind the Moluccan violence
14 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Moluccan militants: God on our side
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