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Blast rocks Philippine consulate in Indonesian city

REUTERS, Saturday October 12, 2002 10:07 PM

Blast rocks Philippine consulate in Indonesian city

MANADO, Indonesia (Reuters) - A suspected bomb exploded in the front yard of the Philippines consulate in the Indonesian city Manado on Saturday, causing some damage but no casualties in an attack that officials blamed on terrorists.

The explosion, which occurred around dusk, blew out the windows of the two-storey consulate in the country's northeast and knocked over the gate of the compound.

"We suspect that this was a homemade bomb placed in the yard," one police officer on the scene, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

The Philippine consul-general, Renaldi Martinez, accused terrorists of being behind the blast. He gave no evidence.

Manado is a mainly Christian city located in the northeast of the world's most populous Muslim nation. The city is a jumping-off point for the southern Philippines.

Police had no motive for the attack, although there have been latent tensions over the arrests this year in the Philippines of Indonesians suspected of involvement in terrorism. The arrests have drawn fire from some radical Islamic groups in Indonesia.

Martinez said there were no casualties as the consulate was shut at the time. The city mayor, Wempie Frederik, added: "The perpetrators were very professional. They were terrorists."

The periodic detention of fishermen from the two countries has also been a minor irritant in bilateral relations.

Some foreign diplomats have recently expressed worries about security in Indonesia. Last month the U.S. closed its mission in Jakarta for a week over concerns of a possible terrorist attack.

In mid-2000, a car bomb exploded outside the front of the Philippine ambassador's home in Jakarta, killing two people and badly wounding the envoy.

Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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