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Indonesia Christmas Bomber Infiltrates Franciscan Community
    Indonesian Army Special Forces are behind deadly bombings in 10 towns in Indonesia in Christmas Eve that killed 16 people and injured almost 100, according to Christian sources in the Asian country.
    The Vatican missionary news agency Fides reports that a suspected member of the National Defence Forces was found to have infiltrated the Karmat Franciscan community in Central Java.
    On 31 December, Jakarta police detained a man thought to be involved in the Christmas Eve bomb explosion in Jakarta Cathedral. The man, who was living in the Franciscans' house, gave his name as Hieronymus, but according to identity papers found later in his room, his name is Khairullah. Father Sandyawan Sumardi, SJ, said a police officer gave a tip-off that the man was an intelligence officer from the Indonesian Army Special Forces. The priest, who supports the Indonesia Damai, a network for investigation and political pressure over the bombing, told Fides the man had inside information about the church site since he joined the Cathedral church's crew of workers on 23 December before the explosion.
    Police later claimed the man was insane. However, the secretary of the Indonesia Damai called for further investigation. He said that infiltration took place also in other bombing locations at churches. The Indonesia Damai includes pro-democratic activists and reformists.
    Franciscan monk Cyprianus, who accepted the man, told Fides he could hardly believe the development of the case of Hieronymus, as the man presented himself as a sympathiser of the Order, interested in possibly becoming a Franciscan.