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Friday, 6 September, 2002, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Ambon bomb blamed on 'provocateurs'
Indonesian military on guard in Aceh, Sumatra
It has been a violent week in Indonesia
The Vice-President of Indonesia, Hamzah Haz, has said that Thursday's bombing in Ambon was the work of provocateurs aimed at destabilising the fragile archipelago.

The death toll from the home-made bomb, which exploded in a sports centre, has risen to four people, after a 20-year-old woman died of her injuries overnight.

The other three victims were girls aged between 12 and 17, according to police. Eight other people were wounded.

Ambon, some 2,300 kilometres (1,400 miles) east of Jakarta, and the hub of the Moluccan islands, has been plagued by religious clashes between Muslims and Christians for the past three years.

However, Mr Haz, who is also head of Indonesia's largest Islamic party, denied that Thursday's attack was religiously motivated.

"There is a party that doesn't like to see Indonesia stable - maybe from within our circle, maybe from abroad," Mr Haz told reporters.

Indonesia, which is struggling to persuade foreign investors that it is sufficiently stable to do business in, has suffered several violent incidents in the past week.

Bloody week

On Thursday, separatist rebels in the restive province of Aceh, on Sumatra island, ambushed vehicles carrying several government officials.

And in the remote eastern province of West Papua on Borneo island, another separatist hotspot, two Americans and an Indonesian were killed near the US-owned Freeport Mine.

Police said on Friday US security officials were investigating the deaths.

The Indonesian authorities blame rebels agitating for a separatist state, but human rights activists believe the military could have mounted the attack in order to earn support for its fight against the rebels.



See also:

02 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
12 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
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