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Indonesia province on alert after attack warnings
By Ahmad Pathoni

ICC Note: It would appear that Muslims are planning another attack on Christian in Central Sulawesi

2/16/07 Indonesia For full story….(Reuters) – Security forces are on highest alert in Indonesia’s restive Central Sulawesi province following warnings that militants may be planning attacks, the region’s police chief said on Friday.

The Australian government said earlier on Friday it had credible information militants may be in advanced stages of planning attacks in Central Sulawesi , the scene of tension between Muslims and Christians.

“We have been on alert level 1 since last month when there were warnings of a shift in (militant) operations from Java to Central Sulawesi,” provincial police chief Badrotin Haiti told Reuters.

Indonesia , the world’s most populous Muslim country, has in recent years been hit by a series of bomb blasts blamed on Islamic militants.

Most attacks against Western targets have taken place in the capital, Jakarta , and on Bali , where a total of 92 Australians died in two separate bombings in 2002 and 2005.

Haiti said security forces had also intensified a search for illegal weapons in Poso, a provincial region beset by Muslim-Christian fighting.

“Recent credible reports indicate that terrorists may be in the advance stages of planning attacks in Sulawesi,” Australia ‘s Department of Foreign Affairs said.

In January, 14 people, one of them a policeman, were killed during raids that involved gunfire between security forces and suspected Islamic activists linked to Southeast Asia’s main militant group Jemaah Islamiah.

One of the men arrested after the raids told reporters militant clerics indoctrinated Poso Muslims to take revenge for the killing of their relatives by Christians.

“I did not know religion back then. So, when the clerics told us to kill infidels as payback, we did it,” said Basri, the alleged leader of the gang behind cases of violence against Christians in Central Sulawesi who was paraded in front of the media at the national police headquarters in Jakarta .

“Those clerics also told us that it is forbidden to surrender ourselves to enemies of God,” said the tattooed former guitar player, adding government forces were seen as foes.

Basri, who denied having knowledge of Jemaah Islamiah before arriving in Jakarta two weeks ago, said although he was ready to face the death penalty he deserved a lighter sentence because he was only following directions from radical clerics.

Around 85 percent of Indonesia ‘s 220 million people follow Islam, giving the country the world’s largest Muslim population. Most Indonesian Muslims are moderates but there is a radical fringe that has been increasingly vocal and media-savvy.