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Court in Aceh attacked by petrol bombs

Agence France Presse - December 1, 1998 (abridged)

Jakarta – A district court in Indonesia's troubled Aceh province was set ablaze when unidentified men threw petrol bombs into the building, press reports here said Tuesday. Several rooms, including the courtroom, were burned in the early hours of Monday forcing an indefinite postponement of court sessions, the Kompas daily reported.

A security guard and his wife who lived in the court building managed to put out the fires without help from the fire department. The guard said the bombers broke into the Lhoksemauwe district court building through the windows and poured kerosene on the floor before throwing the fuel bombs from outside.

North Aceh police chief Lieutenant Colonel Iskandar Hasan said police had found some evidence, but had yet to name a suspect. Employees and court officials said nothing appeared to have been stolen. The court's presiding judge, M. Islam, was reported by Antara state news agency as saying the motive behind the bombing was being investigated.

But Islam said he suspected the transfer of a murder case to Aceh's Weh island could be related to the bombing because the suspect had once threatened to burn down the Lhoksemauwe district court.