Soldiers seized a large stash of chemicals that could be used for bomb making during a two-day security operation in an eastern Indonesian province, police said Monday. The troops discovered the 2.75 tons of ammonium nitrate in a car and house in Banggai regency in Central Sulawesi, police spokesman Lt. Col. Rais Adam said.
"The substance is for making fertilizers, but we took precautionary measures just in case it was going to be used for wrongful purposes," Adam said, adding that police were investigating whether the chemicals were being stored for an attack.
Ammonium nitrate, which is legally sold in Indonesia, was believed to have been used in a 2003 suicide bombing at the J.W. Marriott hotel in Jakarta that killed 12 people and wounded 150. Central Sulawesi was the scene of a bloody war between Christians and Muslims in 2001-02 that killed around 1,000 people.
A series of attacks have taken place in the province this year. In May, a bomb at a market in Poso, east of the provincial capital, Palu, killed 22 people. In October, unidentified assailants beheaded three Christian high school girls in Poso, reports the AP. I.L.
The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February