National

Poso back to normal after
bomb blast


Erick W., The Jakarta Post, Palu

The situation in Poso regency, Central Sulawesi, returned to normal on Saturday, one day after a bomb explosion that killed a woman in a bus, but police kept closed the road where the blast had occurred.

The crowd, which had begun to gather at the bomb site on Friday night, had dispersed, Poso Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Unggung Cahyono said by telephone on Saturday.

He said locals in Poso had returned to their normal activities.

The bomb killed 18-year-old Eta and wounded severely four others, including the bus conductor who triggered the explosion when he opened the bag inside which the bomb was concealed.

All victims were passengers on a bus heading to Poso town along the trans-Sulawesi highway. The bus driver found the bomb inside a bag lying on the road and asked his conductor to pick it up.

A second bomb reportedly exploded after someone threw it against the side of the bus and it apparently killed Eta.

The incident occurred close to a security post. Locals, who tried to pursue the bomber, were angered when security personnel refused to join the chase. As more people gathered at the scene, police closed the road, Antara reported.

The incident was the second bus bombing since the Malino peace agreement, which was signed last December. The first occurred on June 5, 2002, on the highway, claiming five lives.

The region has been the location of fighting between Muslims and Christians, although clashes abated after the two warring groups signed the government-sponsored peace accord. Sporadic violence, however, continues. Eleven have died, including those from a bomb explosion in June.

""We call on locals to remain calm and not be provoked (into committing any form of aggression),"" said Sulaiman Manar, who chairs the working group of the Malino peace agreement.

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