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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        22  April 2011

Indo bomb targeted church

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A massive 150-kilogram bomb buried beneath a gas pipeline in Serpong, Tangerang, on Thursday morning was targeting the nearby Catholic Church in a Good Friday attack, Indonesian officials said.

National Police Chief Gen. Timur Pradopo said the arrest of 19 suspects on Thursday led police to the gas pipeline near a church in Serpong, where they found the massive bomb just about a hundred meters from the church.

Ansyaad Mbai, head of Indonesia’s National Counter-Terrorism Agency, added that the men “were arrested in relation to the book bomb attacks, and it was discovered that they were also planning to bomb the church.”

Djoko Suyanto, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said he believed Islamic militants had been plotting the attack for Good Friday celebrations.

In the wake of the incidents, Djoko said the president ordered all security institutions to be on the highest level of alert for this weekend's Easter celebrations.

"The president has ordered the military and the police and all other institutions related to terrorism eradication to coordinate on this," he said at the president's office following a limited cabinet meeting on security issues.

"Starting tonight until the day after Easter, the military and the police will be on the highest alert at all places," he added.

Those arrested on Thursday included six accused in a series of mail bombs sent last month. The first book bomb was sent to one of the offices of Ulil Abshar Abdalla, co-founder of the Liberal Islam Network (JIL), in Utan Kayu, East Jakarta.

The second was sent to a former anti-terror police official who now heads the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), Gories Mere, and a third to Yapto Suryosumarno, a prominent politician.

The fourth bomb was sent to musician Ahmad Dhani’s home. A police source told media on Thursday that those arrested had links to “old terror network Jemaah Islamiyah [JI]. They don't have any political motivation, purely terror.”

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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