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2002 Bali terrorist bombing

On October 12, 2002, only four days after the Indonesian parliament started deliberations on introducing anti-terrorism legislation, a terrorist bombing happened in the town of Kuta[?] on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people and injuring 209, mainly overseas holiday makers.

Indonesian newspapers report on October 12th, before the bombing, that Ralph Boyce, the US Ambassador is putting a lot of pressure on the Indonesian government to show more effort in the war on terrorism, threatening to either evacuate the US Embassy or close it down completely.

At 11:05pm (1505 UTC) an electronically triggered bomb ripped through Paddy's Bar, driving the dead and injured out into the street where ten to fifteen seconds later, a second much more powerful car bomb in a white Mitsubishi van exploded in front of the Sari Club. Windows throughout the town were blown out. Now claimed to have been aimed at Americans, the majority of the victims were Australian; 75% of the casualties are said to have been overseas holiday makers. As of Oct. 16, 2002 the nationalities of the dead or missing were thought to include Australian, Indonesian, American, Ecuadoran, French, German, British, Japanese, Dutch, New Zealander, Singaporean, South Korean, Swedish, Swiss, and Taiwanese. Additionally Italy, Finland and Belgium reported injured citizens.

According to various sources including the Australian government, who lost 88 Australian citizens in the attack, principal suspects for this terrorist atrocity are a group seeking to establish an Islamic state in Indonesia, Jemaah Islamiyah, although it could equally be the work of al-Qaeda. In any case, Jemaah Islamiyah is alleged by various governments in the region to have links with al-Qaeda.

The Indonesian chief of police, General Da'i Bachtiar[?] said that the bombing was the "worst act of terror in Indonesia's history". Other Indonesian ministers have stated their belief that the blasts are somehow related to al-Qaeda.

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, (also spelt Bashir) a muslim cleric believed by many to be among the leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah and wanted in Singapore and Malaysia, held a news conference on October 12 to deny any involvement. In a number of statements he denied that it had been perpetrated by Indonesians and blamed the USA for exploding the bomb, claiming that it was impossible for Indonesians to contruct such a sophisticated device.

The bomb device was first considered to be made of C-4 plastic explosive. However, on October 21 investigators of the scene disclosed that the main bomb was made of ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer agent and easily available in Indonesia, while C-4 is a military grade product and difficult to get.

In mid-April 2003, Indonesian authorities charged militant cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir with treason. It is alleged that he tried to overthrow the government and set up an Islamic state. The specific charges relate to a series of church bombings in 2000, and, in 2001, a plot to bomb United States interests in Singapore. He has not been charged in the Bali attack although he is suspected of leading the group accused of carrying out the attack.

On April 30 2003, the first charges related to the Bali bombings were made against Amrozi bin Haji Nurhasyim, usually just called Amrozi, for allegedly buying the explosives and the van used in the bombings. He could face the death sentence if convicted. [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/world/asia-pacific/2987523.stm) As many as 45 others were jailed and awaiting charges at that time.

External Links

  • This webpage (http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2003/20030210_bali_confessions/default.htm) from the Australian current affairs program "Four Corners" provides information of the bombing's suspects, a timeline based on confessions obtained, and a transcript of an episode that covers this bombing.

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