A bomb connected to a cell phone charger and a watch was found in Lantojaya, Poso, Central Sulawesi, on Tuesday. A schoolboy found the device, which was later detonated by a bomb squad. Nobody was injured in the incident. (Antara/Zainuddin MN)
The Central Sulawesi Police bomb squad detonated a homemade bomb on Tuesday found by a junior high school student in Tonipa hamlet, Poso Pesisir district in Poso as the situation in the Christian-majority regency remained under control.
Police detonated the bomb after identifying the suspicious object, found at around 6:30 a.m. local time, was a homemade bomb placed in a 1 kilogram paint can.
The bomb was found by a ninth grader at the SMP 4 state junior high school in Poso as he was waiting for a public minivan to go to school. The student stumbled upon the white can strapped with black tape and immediately reported it to the Tonipa hamlet head who later reported the matter to the police.
At around 7 a.m., personnel from the Indonesian Military (TNI) and police arrived at the location where the bomb was found, followed by members from the bomb squad who arrived an hour later and detonated the bomb at the site.
Poso Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Eko Santoso confirmed the discovery of the bomb, which was likely intended to be detonated through a cell phone. He said the current situation around the location was secure and residents had carried out their daily activities as usual.
He expected that residents would remain calm and not be provoked by the terror perpetrated by particular groups in Poso recently.
He also urged residents not to be provoked by rumors involving tribal affiliations, religion, race and societal groups (SARA) issues, which were intentionally spread to disrupt the peace in Poso regency.
Earlier on Monday, a homemade bomb exploded at a traffic police post in Kasintuvu subdistrict in Poso, wounding a police officer and a bank security guard.
With regard to the burning of a Pantekosta church early on Monday in Madale village, Poso, Eko said that his subordinates were investigating the matter. An unidentified witness of the church’s congregation had been questioned, but little information was obtained.
Eko believed the perpetrators were members of a group involved in the recent murder of two police officers. “They set the church ablaze on purpose to provoke anger from Christians so that there would be retaliation. However, both Muslims and Christians worked hand in hand to put out the church fire,” he said.
As of now, police and TNI personnel are stepping up security in Poso by conducting operations in border areas.
The Central Sulawesi chapter of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has urged the authorities to investigate the matter and arrest the mastermind behind the cases of violence in Poso over the past two months.
Central Sulawesi Komnas HAM head Dedi Askary said authorities should also catch perpetrators operating in the field.
The terror attacks taking place in Poso over the past two months include the shooting of civilians, murders of police officers and bombing.
According to Dedi, the series of terror attacks would disrupt economic development and the administration in Poso, which was so far running steadily.
Poso, with a population of around 215,000, was the site of bloody clashes between Christian and Muslim communities between 1997 and 2001 that claimed around 1,000 lives and displaced 25,000.
But after a government-brokered peace pact in 2001, local extremists, many of them linked to and directed by terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), mounted attacks on Christians and local officials in the hope of reviving the conflict.