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Bomb Blast Wounds 5 Outside Jakarta Discotheque - 2002-06-09

A bomb has exploded outside a Jakarta discotheque, wounding five people. Indonesian police were able to defuse two other explosive devices before they detonated.

The bombing, in the early hours of Sunday morning, occurred outside a Jakarta discotheque in the city's Chinatown entertainment district. The crude device was planted in a nearby food stall.

Two additional bombs were discovered - one in front of another Chinatown nightclub; the other in a parking lot in the city center. Bomb squad officials defused both explosives.

Jakarta police spokesman, Colonel Anton Bahrul Alam, says all the bombs were homemade and have similar characteristics.

Police have questioned dozens of witnesses in the search for suspects. Jakarta's Chinatown was the center of violent anti-Chinese rioting in May 1998, part of massive unrest that contributed to the downfall of former Indonesian president, Suharto.

Several years ago the Jakarta Stock Exchange and a Philippine diplomatic building were targeted by bombers.

Authorities have not linked any of the incidents together and suggest various reasons behind the attacks including: politics, religious differences, and criminal rivalry.

Sunday's blast could be the work of crime gangs known to be active in Chinatown's nightclub scene. But radical Muslim groups have not been ruled out either. Entertainment spots, that serve alcohol, have been labeled by such groups as dens of sin. Indonesia is home to the world's largest Muslim population - the vast majority, moderates, who support the country's secular government.