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Nine People Killed in Aceh New Year's Eve Bombing - 2004-01-01


Indonesian authorities says nine people were killed and at least 32 injured when a bomb exploded at New Year's Eve concert in the country's war-torn Aceh province

Authorities say the bomb ripped through the concert stage in the eastern Aceh town of Pereulak. Witnesses say the bomb appeared to have been planted under or near the area where musicians were playing.

Police say many of the victims were teenagers and young children.

No one claimed responsibility for the blast. An Indonesian military spokesman blamed the rebel Free Aceh Movement, which has been fighting for independence for the province for 27 years. But a rebel spokesman denied the group was responsible.

Indonesia's police chief warned Tuesday that Islamic militants might stage attacks on New Year's Eve.

Indonesia launched a massive military offensive against separatist rebels in Aceh last May. The military says it has killed hundreds of rebels since the offensive began, but separatists say most of those killed were innocent civilians.

Just before Wednesday's bombing, Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri defended the military's Aceh offensive, saying it is aimed at preventing the country from breaking up.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP/

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