Blast At Port In East Indonesian City Wounds At Least 12, Police Say

Friday, March 2nd 2007, 9:23 pm
By: News On 6

AMBON, Indonesia (AP) _ An explosion wounded at least 12 people Saturday at a port in the east Indonesian city of Ambon, the scene of past deadly sectarian violence, a police chief said.

The mid-morning blast occurred as passengers disembarked from a ship, Ambon police chief Lt. Col. Trilulus Rahardjo said.

The wounded, who were hospitalized, were passengers and motorbike taxi drivers waiting to collect customers, Rahardjo said.

Rahardjo said that a bomb squad was investigating the scene and witnesses were being questioned.

No suspects were immediately detained.

Investigators taped off the area and were combing through the debris, collecting shrapnel, nails and needles apparently used in the bomb, he said.

Local residents said the explosion was heard more than a mile away.

Ambon is the capital of the Maluku island chain, where fighting between Muslims and Christians between 1999 and 2001 killed 9,000 people.

More than 80 percent of Indonesia's 210 million people are Muslims, but the Maluku Islands are evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. The area has been largely peaceful since 2001, but sporadic bombings and fighting between gangs still take place.