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Security Alert at East Bali Ferry Crossing

Bomb Explosion in Bima, Sumbawa Prompts Heightened Scrutiny for Passengers and Cargo Arriving at Bali Ferry Port of Padang Bai.

(7/17/2011) The explosion of a home-made bomb at a religious training school in Bima, Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara on Monday, July 11, 2011, has prompted officials in Bali to tighten security at the ferry crossing between Bali and Lombok at Padang Bai, East Bali.

The bomb’s explosion caused the death of a teacher at the Khilafatul Umar Bin Khotob Islamic Religious School in Bima. Press reports suggest that the explosion may have taken place when the students were being taught how to make bombs to be used in retaliation attacks on local police stations. While13 people are being questioned by police in connection with the blast, efforts by investigators to inspect the scene of the explosion have been physically barred by local citizens who oppose police efforts to uncover the details surrounding the bombing or the school's activities.

The school and the surrounding community in eastern Sumbawa are known as a hotbed of fundamentalist religious belief, adherent of which have fled to Sumbawa from other parts of Indonesia.

Added security at the Padang Bai ferry crossing in Bali includes a large contingent of local police officers, members of the canine corps (K-9), officers from Bali’s police headquarters and representatives from the regional government of Karangasem.

Beritabali.com reports that all passengers and vehicles arriving from Lombok are now channeled through an inspection process at the Bali ferry port. In addition to a check of identification papers and vehicle registrations, police, assisted by bomb-sniffing dogs, are reviewing all personal belongings and cargo.

Police at the Padang Bai post confirm that the inspections will remain in place at the port until further notice.

Every day at least 18 ferries land at the Padang Bai terminal. Passengers on the ferries sailing from the Lombok port of Labuhan include tourist visitors, Lombok residents as well as  people form Bima and other parts of the eastern Indonesian island chain.