Sat, 03 Jun 2000

Suspicious parcel found outside Salvator Church

JAKARTA (JP): The West Jakarta police are still waiting for the National Police examination results of an object, believed to be a bomb, found outside the backdoor of Salvator Christ Church on Jl. K.S. Tubun on Thursday, an official said.

"I haven't received the official results yet. The question is whether it was a real bomb or not. From the looks of it, no... but I'd have to wait for the official results," West Jakarta Police chief Col. Adjie Rustam Ramdja told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Adjie was referring to the examination of the National Police Bomb Disposal Squad (Gegana) and the National Police Forensic Laboratory (Puslabfor), whose officers have collected the mysterious object.

The item, in the form of a drinking bottle packed with a brown cement sack, bound and connected by wires to batteries, was found at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, minutes before the congregation of the church was about to hold the second mass service for the Ascension Day of Jesus Christ.

According to F. Rujimin, a senior staffer at the church, he came across the item that morning without knowing who placed the object at the backdoor.

"I was due to walk into the Sakristi Room at the back of the church at about 8:45 a.m. to prepare for the second mass of that day.

"But, suddenly, I found a tube like a bomb on another door, just before the Sakristi Room door," he told the Post.

The Sakristi Room is used by church staff to keep the church's ceremonial equipment, such as the Catholic priest's clothing and electronic goods. The first mass had already been held from 7 a.m to 8 a.m.

In a panic, Rujimin grabbed the alleged bomb and then rushed it to an empty spot, some 20 meters away to the left of the door.

"I threw the bomb into some empty land, planted with grass," he said at his house which is located in the church compound.

At the time, hundreds of church's visitors had already thronged the church for mass.

"I then followed the second mass, held from 9 a.m to 10 a.m. I did not report it to the head priest, Father Robert Suykens, since I didn't want to create a panic situation in the church," he said.

Rujimin said he believed, by placing the suspected bomb at the vacant land, it would not have injured the congregation should it have detonated.

He recalled that the object was a 550 milliliter Aqua bottle and packed with a cement sack paper.

"The batteries and the cables were not covered," he said.

"It was laid down outside the backdoor of the church," Rujimin said.

He said that an aide to Suykens, Tanti, received at least four calls in the morning from an unidentified party about a bomb planted at the church.

"The latest call came at around 8.30 a.m.," he said.

"We then reported it to a police officer, a member of the church," he said.

Rujimin said that Gegana officers arrived at the scene at around 11 a.m. and safely took the bomb away. (asa)