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The BBC's Richard Galpin in Jakarta
"The question now is how quickly the police will react to the president's instruction"
 real 56k

Friday, 15 September, 2000, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
Wahid orders arrest of Suharto son
Bomb blast victim
Fifteen people died in the stock exchange bombing
Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid has ordered the arrest of the youngest son of former President Suharto in connection with Wednesday's bomb attack on the Jakarta Stock Exchange.

"In the cabinet meeting yesterday, I ordered the [police] to arrest Tommy Suharto in relation to the bomb case," the president told a congregation after Friday prayers in a central Jakarta mosque.

Tommy Suharto
Tommy Suharto: Built a large business empire during his father's rule
Fifteen people died and scores more were injured when the car bomb placed in the basement of the stock exchange building exploded shortly before the close of trading.

The leader of an an extremist Muslim organisation wanted in connection with the bombing, has given himself up to police.

Habib Ali Baagil's arrest had also been ordered by President Wahid, but, according to a police spokesman, he walked into the Jakarta police headquarters on Friday afternoon for talks with the police chief.

The bombing took place a day before the corruption trial of the former president resumed in a specially constructed courtroom in the south of the capital.

Tommy Suharto
Age 38
Youngest of former President Suharto's six children
Real name Hutomo Mandala Putra
Business interests included running national car project, the Timor, and national clove monopoly
Acquitted in October 1999 of corruption charges connected to a 1997 land deal
Although Mr Suharto failed for the second time to appear at court, there has been mounting speculation that the attack was connected to his trial.

It was the latest and by far the most lethal in a series of unexplained bombings to have hit the Indonesian capital in recent months.

Two weeks ago - hours before the trial opened for the first time - another bomb hidden in a bus exploded close to the court building although there were no casualties.

Tommy Suharto, whose real name is Hutomo Mandala Putra, is currently thought to be in Jakarta although police officials are quoted as saying that he has not yet been detained.

Bomb warning

The order for his arrest follows comments from Indonesia's defence minister suggesting that the former president's trial be called off amid fears of more violence if the case proceeds.

The bomb hit the stock exchange at the close of trading
"If we keep meddling with this matter we will not have time to take care of other problems because we will continue to be harassed ... More terror will keep coming," Mohammad Mahfud told the Reuters news agency.

He added that he felt the bombings were "being funded by conglomerates who took advantage of Suharto's government as well as Suharto's cronies who have a large amount of money".

During his father's three decades in power, Tommy Suharto built up a large business empire and earlier this year he was himself questioned by state prosecutors over allegations of corruption.

In early July, a bomb exploded in the central Jakarta building housing the attorney general's office about an hour after Tommy had been summoned for questioning there. No-one was injured in the blast, but it caused serious damage to the building.

'Sacred cows'

Tommy has himself faced questioning over corruption
A day later a second, more powerful device, was found at the building and defused by police.

In a cabinet meeting held the day after the stock exchange bombing, Mr Wahid told ministers he was determined to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

"I want the police chief and the attorney-general not to hesitate to act against suspects regardless of their position or status," he was quoted as saying.

"There are no sacred cows in this country."

BBC Jakarta correspondent Richard Galpin says the question now is how quickly the police will react to the president's instructions and then how the still powerful Suharto family and its supporters will react.

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See also:

15 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Profile: Suharto's playboy son
13 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Death toll rises after Jakarta explosion
06 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Wahid's many problems
14 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Judge orders tests on Suharto
01 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid lays blame for Jakarta bomb
04 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Bomb blast in Jakarta
30 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Rise and fall of strongman Suharto
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