Wed, 13 Aug 2003

Yogya bombs not connected with Marriot attack, say police

Syaiful Amin, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta

Police said on Tuesday they had arrested four people after three small, homemade bombs exploded in the tourist city of Yogyakarta, injuring a 23-year-old man identified as Jono alias Wardono.

One of the arrested men was the victim, who was transporting the bombs on his motorbike. The three others who were arrested were Ishak Samil, 19, Iswanto, 18, and Riris Wahyudi alias Cangik, 27, all local residents.

Jono, a resident of the hamlet of Biru in Trihango village, Sleman regency, is being treated at the Bethesda hospital for serious burns.

Yogyakarta Police chief Brig. Gen. Sudirman confirmed the arrests of the four suspects and said his officers were searching for two others accused of assembling the bombs.

"We have reported the incident to National Police Headquarters. But I have to stress that this has nothing to do with the bombings in Jakarta and Bali. It's a local case," he said without elaborating.

Jono was injured when the three bombs he was carrying in a plastic bag on his motorcycle exploded on Monday evening in front of the Janabrada University campus on Jl. Tentara Rakyat Mataram.

The bombs, made from firecrackers, apparently exploded prematurely when Jono's motorbike crashed.

Police were tightly guarding the hospital where Jono is receiving medical treatment, with his legs being shackled to prevent him from escaping.

Surdirman said the police arrested Ishak Samil and Iswanto on Monday night, while Riris Wahyudi was apprehended at Lempuyangan railway station as he was attempting to leave the city.

"The investigation into the suspects is continuing. But based on preliminary questioning, they intended to blackmail a number of hotels and cafes in Yogyakarta," he said.

"Probably they were going to demand money. If they were refused, then would then threaten to blow up the hotels or cafes," Sudirman added.

Yogyakarta Police chief Rudi Hartono echoed Sudirman's statement, and identified the suspects as "hoodlums" who were known to demand protection money from businesses.

The police had also seized two motorbikes, including Jono's, he added.

Earlier, the Novotel Hotel in Yogyakarta received a bomb threat. The bomb squad later searched the building but found nothing.