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Indonesia’s Infamous Poso Area Deteriorates Further
Bomb Planted At Church

ICC (1/24/07) — The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned that police removed a bomb from the Adventist Church on Tabatoki Street in Poso on January 20. This is a sign that the situation in Central Sulawesi is continuing to deteriorate, causing fear that the region might devolve again into the bloodbath of the late ‘90s and early 2000s.

The bomb was removed from the church premises by Central Sulawesi police forces after it was discovered near the front gate of the church. Poso’s Chief of Police, Rudy Sufahriadi, reported that the bomb was hand made and said, “It is good that the bomb was found before Sunday, when the Church will be full by Christian people who came to the Church for worshipping and praying.”

This discovery comes on the heels of another Poso Church attack. Approximately one week ago, a bomb exploded at Poso’s Ecclesia church. No one was injured in the blast, but it appears to be a warning.

Poso seems to be the epicenter of Indonesia’s radical Islamist forces. Over the past three years, ICC has reported on numerous pastor assassinations, bombings, attacks on churches, and even the horrendous decapitation of 3 Christian schoolgirls in November 2005 that came from these elements. We have heard continued reports of local government/police involvement and have called for investigations into these incidents.

Indonesian forces clashed with these hidden Islamist militants on Monday when they raided a suspected hideout. A firefight erupted and 11 radicals were killed, along with one policeman. Police arrested 25 suspected militants and seized ammunition and bombs from a hideout in the Tanah Runtuh area of Poso. In the aftermath of these attacks Jakarta, has sent in an additional 200 police, which is welcome news.

Our contact, who wishes to remain anonymous, said, “It’s more like a war in Poso. Police forces used their armored car to enter the area. Police also seized almost a dozen of M16’s and assorted assault rifles from the Muslim group, together with thousands of rounds of ammunition.”

ICC’s President, Jeff King, said, “We call again on the government of Indonesia to deal with the situation in Poso with utmost seriousness. If radical Islamist elements are not rooted out they will succeed in returning the area to full scale war. The only way the radicals can be permanently routed is if their collaborators in the police and military are exposed and prosecuted.”