Cafe bomber escapes Indonesian prison

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JAKARTA, Sep 24 (Reuters) An Indonesian Muslim militant who was serving 20 years for the bombing of a Sulawesi karaoke bar has escaped from jail, a prison official said today.

Jasmin fled Gunungsari prison in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, by using a rope to climb a wall while other inmates were performing evening Ramadan prayers on Friday night, said Syamsuddin, an official at the prison.

Prison officials, including its security chief, have been questioned by police over the escape, he said.

The blast at the bar in the Sulawesi district of Palopo killed four people in January 2004.

Police said some of the Islamic militants convicted for the bombing were also involved in a 2002 blast at a McDonald's restaurant in Makassar, in which three people were killed.

Indonesia has suffered a spate of bomb attacks in recent years, notably the 2002 Bali bombings which killed 202 people.

Most of the attacks have been blamed on Islamic radicals from the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) regional militant network.

Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country, and about 85 per cent of its people follow Islam. While the vast majority of Indonesia's Muslims are relatively moderate, a militant minority has become increasingly vocal.

REUTERS SZ BD1159

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