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Official says ex-soldiers behind Indonesian church bombings
    Indonesia's Defense Minister has said that former soldiers of the National Defense Forces (TNI) were behind the bombings of churches across the country on Christmas Eve.
    "I say this because the incidents happened at the same time as several ex-TNI members were being investigated," the Indonesian Observer daily quoted Defense Minister Muhammad Mahfud as saying.
    Mahfud said the bombing was under the control of a very powerful man, and he therefore expressed the hope that people must not be quick to cast suspicion on certain religious groups, because the incident has nothing to do with religious affairs, although several persons questioned are activists from certain Islamic organisations.
    The Defence Minister also said those behind the bombings are the same people who killed a number of Islamic clerics in East, Central, and West Java provinces in 1998, accusing them of practicing the black arts. Mahfud did not mention the identities of those responsible, saying the public could easily work out who they were because ex-generals are in short supply. "How many (ex-)generals are there in Indonesia. You know (them)," he said.