Like the cowards they are, they came in the night, slipping away leaving havoc and unspeakable human misery in their wake.
Shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, 2002, a series of bomb blasts shook Bali and ended the peace the island had so jealously enjoyed over the past 4 years of Indonesia's troubled history. The two, almost simultaneous explosions were heard across the entire southern part of the island. One blast, thought to be targeted at the U.S. Consulate on Jalan Hayum Wuruk in the Renon District of Denpasar, apparently missed its mark, exploding 100 meters south of the U.S. mission destroying a tree in a vacant lot and a roadside gutter. The other, more deadly, explosion was delivered via a car loaded with explosives and parked outside of two popular night spots on Legian's main thoroughfare.
Parked on the road between the Sari Club and Paddy's Restaurant, the bomb was positioned to extract a brutal toll on a day and hour calculate to affect the hundreds of tourists would frequent the two night spots. The amount of explosive employed was massive as evidenced by the two-meter deep crater and the almost total destruction rendered on the tightly-packed surrounding businesses and subsequent fire that raged for hours after the initial explosion.
A Still Mounting Death Toll
By Sunday evening the death toll had surpassed 180 people, with scores more feared to be laying under the charred remains of the building. Meanwhile, hundreds of injured people were undergoing treatment at local area hospitals and clinics. A special mercy flight from Australia arrived on Sunday evening carrying an emergency medical team and medical supplies to assist in the care of casualties. That same evening a series of special air ambulances began the evacuation of the most severely injured to hospitals in Australia.
Shocked and saddened at the death and injury of both local Indonesians and foreign visitors, members of Bali's community responded in a variety of ways to the emerging crisis.
+ Representatives of the Indonesian Guide Association (HPI) and the local community descended on local hospitals to comfort the injured and act as multi-lingual interpreters facilitating communication between patients and medical teams.
+ Lines of Indonesian and foreign blood donors quickly formed at the Sanglah Hospital blood bank in response to an overnight telephone and fax appeal.
+ Medical services for the injured were donated without charge by local hospitals.
+ Local volunteers from the IDEP Foundation set up a missing persons bureau at the Sanglah Hospital to help re-unite and identify the missing.
+ Ice and cold storage containers were donated by local businesses to help the Sanglah hospital morgue cope.
+ Local hoteliers sent food, drink, bedding, towels and volunteer cleaning teams to the Sanglah hospital.
+ Floral tribute from members of the Bali community began to arrive at local consulates and ground zero.
In our Devastation, Bali Turns to God
Reflecting the Balinese commitment to the concept of Tri Hita Kirana that mandates harmonious relations between man and man, man and nature, and man and God Ė plans are now underway to host a program of prayers offered by representatives of all the religious faiths represented in Bali at ground zero.
Intense Police Efforts Underway
On Sunday morning a top-level delegation comprised of the President and leading members of her Cabinet came to Bali to inspect the damage firsthand. Minister of Culture and Tourism, I Gede Ardika, in a press conference on Sunday afternoon unreservedly condemned the attack, echoing the statement of the nation's defense chief in branding the tragedy as a horrendous terrorist attack.
Meanwhile, police and military authorities have placed the island under the highest level of security alert selectively closing or placing under tight surveillance the island's ports and airport.
Without revealing additional details at this time, police have indicated a preliminary list of suspects in the bombing and report they have launched a manhunt for their capture.
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