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Car Bomb Kills Four in Indonesia

April 3, 2002

AMBON, Indonesia (AP) _ A car bomb exploded in the capital of Maluku province on Wednesday killing four people and injuring 20, in the first major violation of a cease-fire signed in February to end years of Muslim-Christian violence.

The blast occurred in a Christian-controlled part of the port city of Ambon, police chief Lt. Col. Noviantoro said. Following the explosion, a group of Christians forced their way into a government compound, setting fire to a building, he said. Police intervened and dispersed the crowd.

``It was a powerful explosion,″ said Bagus, a police intelligence officer who like many Indonesians uses only one name. ``The perpetrators obviously had training.″

No one claimed responsibility for the bombing. However, Muslim militants belonging to the paramilitary group Laskar Jihad have vowed to disrupt the peace process in Indonesian province of two million people, located 1,600 miles northeast of the capital, Jakarta.

Up to 9,000 died and tens of thousands were forced to flee their homes in two years of fighting in the archipelago, known as the Spice Islands during Dutch colonial rule.

Rival Christian and Muslim factions in Maluku signed a government-sponsored peace agreement in February that provides for the disarming of militias and allows for the return of refugees to their homes.

On Wednesday, dozens of grieving relatives crowded into Ambon’s hospital searching for their loved ones.

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