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Tuesday, 26 September, 2000, 09:09 GMT 10:09 UK
Indonesian soldiers held over bombings
Bomb blast victim
Fifteen people were killed in the stock exchange attack
Indonesian police have arrested two soldiers in connection with the recent spate of bombings in the capital, Jakarta.

Jakarta attacks
4 July: Bomb explodes at attorney-general's office
1 August: Bomb explodes at Philippine ambassador's residence
27 August: Grenade attack at Malaysian embassy
13 September: Stock exchange bomb kills 15
The arrests bring to 28 the number of suspects detained in connection with the bombings, including this month's explosion at the city's stock exchange which killed 15 people.

Speaking after his swearing-in ceremony, the country's new police chief, General Suroyo Bimantoro, said the two soldiers detained "were the ones who planted the bomb". He said one was a member of the elite Kopassus special forces unit.

"They also pitched in with making the bomb. We have proof for that," he added.

Kopassus effectively acted as former President Suharto's private army during his rule and the latest arrests are likely to heighten suspicions that elements in the army carried out the bombing in protest at the former president's trial on corruption charges.

General Bimantoro
General Bimantoro says the two new suspects are rogue soldiers
General Bimantoro denied suggestions the military as a whole was behind the blasts and said those arrested had acted individually.

He said the pair had been detained in the Javanese city of Bandung on Sunday following the arrest of 25 suspects in Jakarta a day earlier.

Police say one of the suspects has admitted his next targets were to include the United States embassy and a Jakarta department store.

Corruption trial

The stock exchange explosion happened on the eve of the resumption of Mr Suharto's corruption trial.

Suharto: Many have linked his loyalists to the bombings
Mr Suharto is charged with stealing at least $583m in government money during his 32-year rule.

Earlier this month President Abdurrahman Wahid ordered the arrest of Mr Suharto's youngest son Hutomo 'Tommy' Mandala Putra in relation to the bombing campaign, but he was released after police said there was no evidence of his involvement.

Mr Wahid last week dismissed police chief General Rusdiharjo for his refusal to arrest Tommy and a little-known Muslim leader, Ali Baaqil, in connection with blasts.

Mr Wahid has also ordered security chiefs to disarm all the Suharto family's private armed guards.


Reports on Monday said Mr Suharto's family had handed over more than 100 firearms to police.

On Thursday another important phase in Mr Suharto's trial takes place when prosecutors say he will be told categorically whether or not he will be forced to attend court.

So far, his lawyers have claimed he is too ill to stand trial following a series of strokes.

The police say more patrols will be on the streets, especially in areas considered potential flashpoints, while hundreds of security personnel will surround the courthouse.

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See also:

24 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Dozens arrested over Jakarta bombings
13 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Death toll rises after Jakarta explosion
01 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Wahid lays blame for Jakarta bomb
13 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Indonesia's fragile archipelago
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