(off topic) Little left of Bali bombers
- From: "Vagabond" <retoricus2@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 3 Oct 2005 05:18:29 -0700
The night that time froze in Bali
By Kathy Marks in Jimbaran, Bali
Published: 03 October 2005
At the southern end of Jimbaran Bay, a sweeping arc of white sand famed
for its beautiful sunsets, is a scene frozen in time.
The tables at the open-air Menega Café are laden with half-eaten
meals; crumpled white napkins flutter in the breeze. But the people who
gathered there on Saturday night to eat seafood under the stars are
nowhere to be seen. The clock at the café stopped at about 7.30pm,
when a bomb exploded between the candlelit tables. As diners fled
screaming, another bomb went off a few minutes later at the Nyoman
Café, just beside it on the beach. Three miles away, a third explosion
destroyed the Raja noodle and steak restaurant in Kuta, the heart of
Bali's tourist industry. Twenty-six people were killed and 122 were
Almost three years after the devastating blasts at two Kuta nightspots
which killed 202 people, terrorism has returned to the Indonesian
holiday island. Among the wreckage of Saturday's attacks were found the
severed heads of three suspected suicide bombers. Last time the
perpetrators targeted clubbers in Bali; this time it was families
dining on the sand. On both occasions, they struck on a Saturday night.
And, like last time, despite the selection of targets where tourists
gathered, many of those killed and injured were Indonesian. The
Balinese hoped such events would never recur. Now their nightmares have
been realised, in the most gruesome fashion.
Police have released footage captured on amateur video of a man in a
black shirt and jeans, strolling into one of the Jimbaran eateries and
blowing himself up.
Bodies are still being identified in the morgue at Bali's main Sanglah
Hospital, but 12 Indonesians, three Australians and a Japanese are
confirmed to be among the dead. The injured in-clude 64 Indonesians, 20
Australians, seven South Koreans, four Americans, three Japanese, one
German and one French tourist. Two Britons were wounded, one of whom, a
woman with dual British and Australian nationality, was flown to
Jakarta for treatment. The British ambassador to Jakarta, Charles
Humfrey, said he could not rule out British deaths, since 10 bodies had
yet to be identified.
Indonesia has arrested dozens of members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a loose,
shifting network blamed for atrocities across south-east Asia. But the
dirt-poor villages of the world's biggest Muslim nation still produce
men prepared to die for the cause. And still at large are two
Malaysians believed to have choreographed Saturday's events: Azahari
bin Husin, an explosives expert, and Noordin Mohamed Top, a senior
recruiter of suicide bombers.
Azahari was educated in Australia and at Reading University. A senior
Indonesian anti-terrorism official, Ansyaad Mbai, said the latest
bombings bore the hallmarks of the pair, who are believed to have been
behind the first attacks in Kuta and two others in Jakarta. "The modus
operandi ... is the same," he said.
The death toll in Bali is lower this time; 202 people, including 88
Australians, died on 12 October 2002. But the sense of shock is just as
deep. The tourism industry, the mainstay of the island's economy, had
only recently started to recover. Now the locals are confronting
hardship and ruin once again.
Security at Bali's tourist hotels is stringent, and has been for the
past three years. All vehicles entering and leaving are thoroughly
checked. But how can you protect a little café on the beach without
any doors and windows?
Last night the seafood joints that line Jimbaran Bay, selling freshly
caught lobster and prawns by the kilo, were almost deserted. The sound
of guitars wafted across the sand, but the musicians were playing to
rows of empty tables.
The owners of one café
stood outside forlornly. Oka and Yudi, two young Balinese friends,
opened the Lumba-Lumba (Dolphin) Café seven years ago. They borrowed
heavily from the bank and things initially went well. Then came the
2002 bombs, which slashed by half the number of visitors to the island.
In the past year, business had started to pick up. Until Saturday
"There was a bang, and now the customers are not coming again," said
Yudi. "I'm scared that the same thing is going to happen to Bali. And
this time maybe it won't recover."
In the kitchen, the cooks sat idle. "I don't know what we'll do," said
Oka. "We still have most of our loan to pay back. I just want Bali to
be normal again, with lots of people around. I can't believe that the
terrorists have come here twice."
On the road leading into Jimbaran, two little girls - Natalia, six, and
Melinia, seven - held aloft a black banner depicting an angel hanged by
the neck. "Condemn the terrorists," it read. "Forgive our disability to
keep Bali safe." The girls' father, Agleg, owns a small grocery shop
and is dependent on the holidaymakers. "I'm worried about my business,
and I'm worried about my family," he said. "I feel that it must be
dangerous here now."
Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was in Jimbaran
yesterday, churning up the dust outside Agleg's shop as he whisked by
in a convoy of armoured vehicles and motorcycle outriders. His visit
was intended to demonstrate support, but the locals' fleeting glimpse
of him almost seemed like a taunt.
At Nyoman Café, charred tables lay upturned and chairs leant at crazy
angles. Floral tributes had been placed against fences and saplings.
Beyond the police tape, forensic science officers were at work,
shovelling sand through a large flat sieve. A bloodstained sheet lay in
the middle of a pile of rubbish.
Kuta, too, was deathly quiet last night. Normally the area is raucous.
The tourists who fill its bars and cafés were at the international
airport, queuing to catch flights out. "Singapore, Bangkok, I don't
care where we go," said one woman getting out of a taxi. "Anywhere but
Bali." The street where the three-storey Raja's was situated, in
central Kuta, was cordoned off.
Mr Susilo Bambang warned recently of a possible terrorist attack,
noting that this time of year appears to be Indonesia's "bombing
season". After the blasts in Bali in October 2002, a suicide bomber
killed 12 people at the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in August 2003. In
September last year, also in the capital, nine Indonesians were killed
by another suicide bomber, in front of the Australian embassy.
Bali's police chief, I Made Mangku Pastika, said investigators had
found traces of TNT and metal slugs at the scenes, as well as the
remains of the suspected bombers. "There is evidence that the explosive
materials were attached to the body," he said. "That's an indication of
The footage of one bomber was unwittingly captured on video by a family
who were filming themselves having dinner in Jimbaran. After the man
walked in, the camera recorded a bright flash, after which screaming
could be heard.
Photographs released by the police of the three severed heads, with
their faces intact, show three young-looking Asian men. Major General
Mbai, the anti-terrorism official, said it appeared that they had
carried the explosives strapped around their waists. "All that is left
is their hands and feet," he said.
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