Former Indonesian president suggests authorities had role in Bali bombings

A former Indonesian president said his country's police or military may have played a role in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, news reports said. Indonesia's military denied the accusation.

Former President Abdurrahman Wahid, who led Indonesia for 19 months until his ouster for incompetence in 2001, said he had grave concerns about links between Indonesian authorities and terrorist groups.

Wahid, 64, made the remarks in a television interview with national public broadcaster SBS shown Wednesday night on the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks and reported by newspapers on Thursday.

He said he believed terrorists were involved in planting the first of two bombs in Bali's Kuta nightlife district, but that the second, which destroyed the Sari Club nightclub, had been planned by authorities.

Asked who he thought planted the second bomb, Wahid told SBS: "Maybe the police ... or the armed forces."

"The orders to do this or that came from within our armed forces, not from the fundamentalist people," he said.

In Indonesia, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Kohirin Suganda Saputra denied the allegation.

"That is really untrue," he said. "How could the military and police, as protectors of the nation and people, do such a thing? We all know that those involved in the 2002 bombings have been convicted and sentenced."

Speaking to reporters in Jakarta, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer dismissed the allegation as "just rubbish."

Prime Minister John Howard told reporters in the national capital on Thursday: "I don't believe it," reports the AP.

Photo: the AP P.T.

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