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More bomb victims moved to Makassar for better care

Andi Hajramurni

The Jakarta Post, Makassar (01/04/05)

The Jakarta Post – The Journal of Indonesia Today

More victims of last weekend’s bomb attack on a market in Palu, Central Sulawesi, have been referred to a better-equipped hospital in Makassar, South Sulawesi, as police continue trying to uncover the role of key Malaysian terror suspect Noordin M. Top in the incident.

The Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital said on Tuesday it had received two more bombing victims, a married couple, from Palu’s Budi Agung Hospital , where their legs had been amputated due to the severity of their injuries.

Accompanied by a medical team from the Budi Agung Hospital and their family, Aris Marifi and Yulianti were flown to Makassar because the local hospital was running out of staff to look after the 14 bomb victims already there.

Hospital staff said Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital was far better equipped and managed, and would be able to treat severely-injured victims and prevent further infections.

Another victim is scheduled to be transferred to the hospital on Wednesday, bringing the number of injured survivors to be treated there to five.

Seven people died when a pork stall was bombed in the Palu Market, which also injured more than 50 others.

Aris’ brother, Nathan Maripi, said his family wanted the couple to be treated at the Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital because of its better medical facilities and human resources.

“We were worried that their condition would worsen had they stayed in Budi Agung. They still have to look after their children, so we hope that they’ll get better treatment here,” he said.

Nathan said his brother had actually met the man who allegedly placed the bomb in the market, while he and his wife were buying food for New Year’s celebrations.

“He told me there was this guy near him who was carrying a plastic bag. This guy put it on the food table while ordering some meat. When the vendor went to look for small changes for the man, he went away. The vendor later put the plastic bag under his table, which exploded minutes later,” said Nathan, quoting his brother.

The Central Sulawesi administration has promised to pay for all the medical expenses of victims being treated at the Budi Agung Hospital , including the plane tickets for those transferred to the Wahidin Sudirohusodo Hospital .

Meanwhile, head of the Poso desk at the Office of Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Demak Lubis, said the bombing was connected to the terrorist network led by fugitive Noordin M. Top.

“Based on our intelligence, Noordin has something to do with the bombing. The perpetrators are related to those who launched recent bomb attacks in Poso and Tentena (both in Central Sulawesi ),” Demak said.

Noordin along with Malaysian master bombmaker Azahari bin Husin, who was killed last year in a police raid, were blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings and a series of other terror attacks across Indonesia .

Demak said the government would in the next two days establish an operations command to restore security across Central Sulawesi, one of the most violence-prone provinces, particularly after the sectarian conflict five years ago that killed some 2,000 people.

Human rights groups and local leaders have urged the government to set up a fact-finding team to get to the bottom of the perpetual violence in the area.

They also demanded the withdrawal of non-local military and police personnel from the province, claiming that they could actually be part of the problem as their presence had failed to stop the violence.