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The Jakarta Post

The Jakarta Post, November 21, 2004

Two Poso men released, no link to terror bomb found

Ruslan Sangadji, The Jakarta Post, Palu

The two men arrested on suspicion of involvement in the Pasar Sentral bomb attack in Poso, Central Sulawesi on Nov. 13 were released on Friday night as police investigators cited a lack of evidence to link them with the fatal attack.

Poso police chief Adj. Comr. Abdi Dharma Sitepu told The Jakarta Post on Saturday evening that the two, identified only by their initials, N, 26, and K, 24, were released at around 11 p.m. Friday evening.

Central Sulawesi police chief Brig. Gen. Aryanto Sutadi, however, said on Saturday evening that he was not aware of the release of the two.

"I have no knowledge about the latest developments of (their investigation)," Aryanto told Antara.

At least six persons were killed and three others injured when a bomb exploded in a public minivan near Poso's Pasar Sentral last Saturday, less than two weeks after a minibus driver was shot dead and a Christian village chief was beheaded.

Poso police arrested N and K at their homes in Poso Kota district without any resistance early on Friday morning. They also said that they were still searching for another possible suspect identified as "I".

N is the son of a former legislator, and his parents had insisted that N, a university student, was sleeping when the bomb exploded.

Meanwhile, police in Central Sulawesi began on Saturday a massive search for firearms and explosives in Palu, Donggala and Poso.

With rifles at the ready, police searched every house and stopped motorists in the three areas, where intermittent religious conflicts have killed thousands of civilians since 2000.

According to Antara the raids were conducted by joint teams of police and intelligence agents, with backing from 400 Army soldiers.

"This is a preventive effort to reduce the violence in the province as ... religious violence continues to claim innocent lives," Central Sulawesi police spokesman Adj. Comr. Sr. Rais Adam was quoted by Antara as saying.

He said police set no deadline to end random raids for arms and explosives across the province.

"We have called on the people repeatedly to give up their weapons, so we will not hesitate to punish them if they still have weapons," Rais said.

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