National

Tentena still tense after
bus bombing


Jupriadi, The Jakarta Post, Poso, Central Sulawesi

Tension remained prevalent in the predominantly-Christian town of Tentena over the weekend following a series of violent incidents which have claimed the lives of local residents.

Some residents in Tentena, located about 45 kilometers south of the Central Sulawesi town of Poso, said on Saturday that they were sick of being victims and would continue to protest the sluggish investigation into the June 5 bus bombing which has now killed five and injured 17 others.

The victims were mostly from Tentena. Yanti Alimbuto, 25, who died at the Tentena General Hospital on Thursday, became the latest casualty of the June 5 blast which destroyed an Antariksa public bus plying the Palu, Poso and Tentena routes.

Other fatalities were identified as Edy Makawimbang, Edy Ulin, Gande Alimbuto and Lastri Octovia Alimbuto.

The bus, carrying 25 passengers, exploded in the Landaiga hamlet of Toini village, Poso Pesisir district.

Some local residents said on Saturday that security conditions might look stable on the outside but had the potential of explode since many residents were ""angry, emotional and disappointed"" due to the incident.

They said the bombing was a threat to the Malino peace deal signed by representatives of Muslim and Christian groups on Dec. 20 last year to end a three-year sectarian conflict in Poso.

Tentena has also been sheltering Christian refugees who fled the bloody clash.

""Locals here are still angry. We have become extra sensitive and cautious about everything. We are sick of becoming the victims ... the Malino peace deal had after all been signed. We are really disappointed,"" Chris, a Tentena resident, told The Jakarta Post.

""You should be careful during your stay here. Don't make matters worse. People here don't like outsiders, particularly after the recent incidents.""

National Police Chief Gen. Da'i Bachtiar had earlier said that the bombings that had rocked the regency in the five months since the Malino peace deal was signed were the work of ""outsiders"".

In the past two months, three incidents have caused losses to and scared residents of Tentena.

The first came on May 16, when Agus Pasolle was murdered in the Masane hamlet of Lakalemba village, in Poso Pesisir district. The second was the bus bombing and the latest was a clash in the Kayamanya Atas area of Poso district on June 9, which left a Christian, identified as Risman Pantoli, dead.

Tentena Police subprecinct chief First Insp. Palulun Sesia said that even as the two murders were purely criminal cases, people remained restless and the recent bombing had worsened the mood of local residents, who are already tired and frustrated of having lost friends and family in the sectarian conflict.

Deputy Poso Police chief Comr. Yusman Jaya said on Saturday that police were still investigating the bus bombing.

""We are still searching for the suspects. I am sure those responsible for this bombing are provocateurs who do not want security conditions in Poso to return to normal. I hope there are no more fatalities as a result of the blast,"" he said.

The government-initiated Malino peace accord, named after the town in South Sulawesi where the peace talks were held, was expected to bring to an end the violent conflict in the regency, which has left thousands dead.

The peace deal called for the disarming of the civilians, sending back to their hometowns migrants who arrived in Poso after the conflict began, repairing houses and buildings damaged in the violence, pulling out troops from the area and encouraging villagers to set up neighborhood patrols to prevent outbreaks of violence.

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