Tue, 14 Nov 2000

Detonator, timer found at Medan bomb blast site

MEDAN, North Sumatra (JP): A damaged detonator and timer along with other objects related to a homemade bomb were found by Medan Police at the bomb site on Jl. Syailendra on Monday, head of Medan Police Laboratory Supt. Anto Sugiarto said.

Anto said the lab officers were combing the site soon after the bomb exploded on Sunday afternoon.

"We also found a cover to the bomb. We've been examining all the evidence, but we have not yet come to any conclusions, including on the type of explosive used."

Anto said the bomb, containing highly explosive material, was set off from a distance. But he said he had no idea what type of explosive was used.

"I assume the explosive was put in a pedicab parked on the side of Jl. Mataram," Anto said.

The bomb, which killed one person and injured six others, exploded near an Indonesian Protestant Church (GKPI) and the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI).

Hotinda Sihite, 22, died from severe injuries to her head. Two of the six injured are in critical condition at Herna Nursing School Hospital.

Deputy Governor Wahab Dalimunthe said after he visited two of the injured, Imelda Borumanik and Cacah Putri, at the hospital that the North Sumatra administration would pay all the victims' medical expenses.

The Indonesian Communion of Churches has also agreed to allocate money for the victims' medical expenses.

Meanwhile, North Sumatra Police spokesman Supt. Amrin Karim confirmed on Monday that three people, "two security guards and one employee of the Institute of Science and Technology," were being questioned in connection with the blast.

He did not say if they were being detained.

Medan has been a target for terrorists, judging from the series of explosions in various places in the city this year.

On May 28 a bomb blast rocked a GKPI church on Jl. Padang Bulan, injuring more than 45 people attending a service.

Also in May, three other bombs were planted in two churches. They did not explode, but three were injured after another explosion destroyed a restaurant on Jl. Pemuda.

Two other blasts took place in an area near Jl. Bahagia in August. No fatalities were reported.

Police have been criticized for failing to discover any of the bombs. No suspects were arrested for the blasts.

HSD Panggabean, a councillor, said on Monday that police should work extra hard to investigate all the bombings in Medan.

"We don't want the cases to remain unsolved. Police must finish their investigations with good results. The bombings have created unrest among the people," he said.

National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Saleh Saaf linked the blast to the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) separatist rebels.

"The indications are obvious. Medan is very close to Aceh and (GAM) always creates public disorder every time police conduct an operation," Saleh told reporters in Jakarta.

The police, however, was facing difficulties in finding the suspects because so far nobody was willing to testify.

Meanwhile, People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Speaker and National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman Amien Rais said in Siantar on Monday that those who planned the bombings were just political thugs. Quoted by Ahmad Mulyadi, the deputy secretary of the head of the North Sumatra chapter of PAN, Amien urged the police to arrest the barbaric and irresponsible people behind the fatal bombings. (39/jaw/sur)