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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 22:08 GMT 23:08 UK
Bali police quiz 'suspects'
Scene of bombing
It is feared late action led to vital clues being lost
A number of Indonesian nationals are still being questioned by police in the wake of a series of bomb blasts last weekend, the biggest of which killed more than 180 people on Bali.

However confusion has arisen over their status and whether they are suspected of involvement in either the Bali attack or a bomb blast elsewhere the same day.

Although national police spokesman Saleh Saaf told the BBC that two men had been formally detained over the Bali attack, he was later quoted by Reuters news agency as saying they were being held over a blast at Manado which injured no-one.

The spokesman was also quoted by the French news agency as saying that four Indonesians would be formally arrested as suspects, without indicating when that might happen.

Woman crying
  • Victims came from about two dozen countries
  • Australia, Britain and Indonesia suffered the highest number of casualties
  • Most of those injured were foreign tourists

  • Police also denied media reports that one of those being held - a former air force member - had confessed to building the device.

    But a spokesman confirmed that the officer was being questioned - he had the expertise to make such a bomb and was living in Bali.

    The attack late on Saturday at a nightclub at the Kuta beach resort also left hundreds injured.

    Australia, where most of the victims came from, has announced a reward of two million Australian dollars ($1.08m) for information leading to the likely perpetrators.

    Initial suspicion has fallen on Jemaah Islamiah - a radical Islamic group based in several Asian countries.

    Malaysian police arrested four members of the group on Wednesday, but did not believe they were involved in the Bali bombing, Inspector General Norian Mai said.

    Joint investigation

    Local media in Indonesia said two vans appeared to have been used for the attack, and the device - containing C-4 plastic explosive - was detonated remotely.

    US experts say the putty-like C-4 is the mark of a sophisticated terror group. The same or a similar explosive was used in the attack on the warship USS Cole in Yemen two years ago - an attack widely blamed on Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network.

    Australia has announced it is setting up a joint investigation with the Indonesian authorities - as well as renewing ties it had cut with Jakarta in the 1990s because of its human rights record.

    Enlarge image
    Enlarge image

    Aerial view of the devastation

    Officers from the American FBI, from Scotland Yard in London and from Japan and Germany have also joined the effort.

    Australian Prime Minister John Howard has denied media reports that he had prior warning from the American CIA of an attack in Bali.

    "The intelligence available to the government highlighted the general threat environment [in Indonesia], but at no time was specific about Saturday night's attack in Bali," Mr Howard told parliament.

    The Indonesian Government has also been debating forcing through emergency anti-terrorism measures to give police sweeping powers following the attack.

    Abu Bakar Ba'asyir
    Ba'asyir defends al-Qaeda's aim of a pan-Islamic state

    The missing

    The difficult task of identifying the victims is continuing in Bali, with only 39 bodies positively matched out of a confirmed death toll of at least 181.

    Mr Howard told parliament that the identification of the bodies could take weeks.

    "The condition of the bodies means that identification is extremely difficult," Mr Howard said, adding that the bodies could not be brought home until officially identified.

    Australians account for the single largest group of casualties, with 30 confirmed dead and up to 160 missing.

    Up to 33 Britons are also feared killed, with other victims including citizens of Indonesia, Singapore, the Netherlands, Ecuador, France, Germany and New Zealand.

    The BBC's Clive Myrie reports from Bali
    "Foreign expertise may help find the killers"
    Australian Prime Minister John Howard
    "We had no information of the nature of a specific warning"
    Military tactics expert Col Mike Dewar
    "C4 is an extremly effective explsovie"

    Key stories




    See also:

    16 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    16 Oct 02 | UK
    14 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    16 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    16 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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