(11 November 2002) Bali's Police Chief, Brigadier General Budi Setyawan, working against a self-imposed 30-day deadline, has managed in the last week to make promised arrests in the terrorist attack on a Kuta nightspot that claimed some 184 lives on October 12th. Despite having falsified ownership records and removing serial numbers, the owner of the L-300 Mitsubishi van used to carry the explosives was eventually traced to a 30-year-old East Java man, Amrozi, who, when apprehended and questioned by police, has admitted his role in purchasing the explosives and helping to plan the attack.
Information provided by Amrozi has lead police to a local residence in Denpasar, where the bomb was constructed and where residue traces of the explosive materials have been discovered by forensic investigators. Amrozi has also provided leads for at least 10 other suspects sought by police and implicated himself as having played a role in the 2000 bombing of The Jakarta Stock Exchange and several other bombings across the Country.
In related developments, Police and Indonesian Defense Department officials have confirmed a link between the suspect and the outlawed Jemaah Islamiyah organization. Moreover, CNN reports that websites operated by the Al Qaeda organization have now claimed responsibility for the blast.
Investigators are terming the arrest of Amrozi as key to their investigative efforts and expect to make more arrests in the coming days.
Heightened Security on the Island
In the weeks following the bombing, police and defense authorities on Bali launched a campaign under the title of "Bali Tegar Agung." This program provides for concrete safety measures to protect visitors to the island and includes enhanced security standards at all vital public utilities, airports, sea ports, foreign legations, places of worship, hotels, and public tourist attractions.
Meanwhile, the Casa Grande - an association of 46 four and five star hotels in Bali, have undertaken close coordination with both the local police and their respective member's in-house security staffs to upgrade already high standards of security in the wake of the attack. Additional plain clothes and uniformed security staff are in place at all hotel properties with strict inspection and surveillance of all vehicular traffic and luggage entering the hotel premises now in effect.
A Week of Solemn Ceremonies
Daily ceremonies of prayer and preparation are planned leading up to the ritual cleansing ceremony scheduled for Friday, November 15, 2002. These include the taking of holy waters from each of Bali's sacred sources and all night vigils at temples near the scene of the outrage and other nearby temples. The final ceremony will be held on Friday starting at 10.00 a.m. near the bomb site.
All are welcome, traditional Balinese dress is suggested.
Business as Normal
Although visitors to the island are markedly decreased, tourism businesses continue to operate normally across the island. In the presence of the dramatically heightened security on all fronts in Bali, the
island is arguably safer than ever before with authorities demonstrating heightened vigilance and little patience with even the actions of petty criminals.
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