Police muscle meets threat of bomb attack
Indonesian police will deploy more than 100,000 personnel throughout the archipelago in a massive show of force to prevent a fresh wave of bomb attacks on New Year’s Eve.
National police spokesman Salleh Saaf said yesterday that security would be beefed up primarily to watch over churches, mosques and other places of worship, key installations and entertainment venues.
“Altogether, some 110,000 men will be out in the field,’ he said. The Sunday Times understands that the total number includes soldiers from local military commands.
Police intelligence reports warn there will be more attacks after a series of explosions near 19 churches on Christmas Eve killed 14 people and wounded 119.
Since then, security forces in the key Indonesian cities – Jakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, Ujung Pandang, Medan, Ambon and Batam – have all been on high alert.
More troops will be deployed in these key cities, given the potential for violence.
The biggest fear is another bloody terrorist attack in Jakarta. The capital has seen periodic bomb explosions this year, the worst being September’s strike on the Jakarta Stock Exchange.
Jakarta police spokesman Anton Bahrul Alam said authorities would impose tighter security today compared to Christmas and the Idul Fitri holidays.
The number of troops would almost double, from 18,000 to 32,000, to foil any violence in the city.
There seems little evidence to suggest the plan has already been implemented. Yesterday there was no visible presence of troops in the capital.
Jakarta is in a festive mood with the mood of most Indonesians not dampened by last week’s bombing.