FRIDAY
January 5, 2001
volume 12, no. 5
Official Says Ex-soldiers Behind Indonesian Bombings

    JAKARTA (CWNews.com) - Indonesia's defense minister has said that former soldiers of the National Defense Forces (TNI) were behind the bombings of churches across the country on Christmas Eve.

    "I say this because the incidents happened at the same time as several ex-TNI members were being investigated," the Indonesian Observer daily quoted Defense Minister Muhammad Mahfud as saying. Mahfud said the bombing was under the control of a very powerful man, and he therefore expressed the hope that people must not be quick to cast suspicion on certain religious groups, because the incident has nothing to do with religious affairs, although several persons questioned are activists from certain Islamic organizations.

    Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation in the world. Thousands of people have been killed in fighting in the Moluccas, a majority Christian region since fighting between rival gangs began in 1998. In recent months, organized militias of Muslim holy war fighters have entered the region with more sophisticated weapons and embarked on a campaign to eradicate Christians. On Christmas Eve, churches in at least nine cities were attacked with bombs, leaving 17 dead.

    The defense minister also said those behind the bombings are the same people who killed a number of Islamic clerics in East, Central, and West Java provinces in 1998, accusing them of practicing the black arts. Mahfud did not mention the identities of those responsible, saying the public could easily work out who they were because ex-generals are in short supply. "How many (ex-)generals are there in Indonesia. You know (them)," he said.

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January 5, 2001
volume 12, no. 5
Global News from the Universal Church



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