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Tensions Run High as Indonesia Investigates Market Bombings

The authorities in Indonesia have said that terrorists were behind the Saturday

Family member holds a picture of the victim from a bomb blast during a funeral in Central Sulawesi
bombing of a busy market in the town of Tentena. Twenty-two people died and over 30 were wounded by the two bombs, which hit in an area that has seen bitter sectarian fighting between Christians and Muslims.

A day after the two blasts ripped through Tentena's busy market, it is still unclear who was responsible for them, although, given that Tentena's residents are overwhelmingly Christian, some officials are blaming Islamic extremists.

Indonesia's chief of police has visited the area, and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is visiting Vietnam, has told investigators they need to find the perpetrators quickly. He expressed his sympathy for those who lost their lives as a result of what he calls "senseless violence."

Indonesia's vice president, Jusuf Kalla, said he believed that the bombers had come from outside the region, but Central Sulawesi has a bitter history of home-grown sectarian conflict.

Between 1999 and 2001, more than 1,000 people died there when extremist groups from both sides of the Muslim-Christian divide went on the rampage.

The situation has been calmer since the two communities signed a peace deal in 2001, but sporadic attacks have continued, although few on the scale of Saturday's bombings.

During the original violence, Tentena's small Muslim population was forced to flee and the town acquired a reputation for harboring Christian militants.

Some analysts have suggested that Saturday's attacks might have been spurred by revenge. This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of the so-called Walisongo massacre, when Christians murdered hundreds of Muslim villagers, teachers and pupils who had taken refuge in the Walisongo Islamic boarding school, not far from Tentena.