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Jakarta Post – Police have defused a home-made bomb found in the religiously-divided town of Poso in Central Sulawesi province, police said Friday.

Residents reported a suspicious package in front of a house in downtown Poso, near the local office of the state telecommunications company, after dusk on Thursday, First Insp. Obed from the Poso police said.

A police bomb squad found a home-made bomb inside and “it was defused”, Obed told AFP, adding that police had combed the site but found no other explosives. He could not give further details.

The planting of the device was the latest incident to trouble the fragile peace in Poso, where sectarian violence since 2000 has already left some 1,000 people dead. A truce has been in place since a December 2001 government-brokered peace deal but intermittent violence has continued.

Muslim extremists have been linked to bombings, shootings and other attacks targeting Christians in the area over the last two years.

The latest bomb was found as Muslims celebrated Idul Fitri, the festival marking the end of Ramadhan and the most important date on the Muslim calendar.

Police on Monday warned of possible attacks to coincide with the holiday, following a low-intensity bomb exploding aboard a packed bus just south of Poso on Oct. 27, which injured several passengers but caused no serious damage.

Tension escalated in Poso further following the beheading murders of three Christian schoolgirls last Saturday, with about 1,000 security forces sent to the area amid fears of further violence. (**)