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Bombs explode outside church, home in Poso

Jakarta Globe - October 10, 2012

Farouk Arnaz & John Lory – Twin explosions rocked the restive district of Poso, Central Sulawesi, on Tuesday as the region's ongoing sectarian violence continued.

No one was injured in the blasts, which targeted the home of a Christian public employee and a church, National Police Spokesman Brig. Gen. Suhardi Alius said on Wednesday.

The first bomb exploded outside the home of Okrifil Mamuaya, a Christian man working for the district public works office, in Poso at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday. An hour later, a second bomb was detonated near a church in Pamona Timur, Suhardi said.

"The blast caused the windows of the house to shatter and a silver Avanza car parked in front of the house was also damaged," Suhardi said of the first explosion.

The assailants reportedly fled the scene on a motorcycle. "Just about two minutes before the blast, a motorcycle came out from the alley where the explosion took place," a local resident said.

Another residents said that there were two people on the motorcycle that sped out of the alley. The residents also said that the blast took place 50 meters from an army infantry base.

The second bomb exploded outside the Imanuel Church in nearby Taripa at 9:15 p.m, Suhardi said. A van was seen leaving the scene. "A Kijang van heading toward Pendolo is suspected [of carrying the bomber]," Suhardi said.

Local police urged residents to resist any temptation to retaliate for the bombings. "I call on residents not to fall to provocations, because the police are still conducting an investigation," Brig. Gen. Dewa Parsana, who heads the Central Sulawesi police said.

Sectarian violence has left thousands killed and wounded in Poso since conflicts between Muslims and Christians peaked between 2000 to 2001. Sporadic attacks have continued in recent years as the region became a hotbed for Islamist militants and terrorist training camps.