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Alert: Warning of Terrorist Attack in Indonesia

UK Foreign Office Warns Visitors of ‘Advanced’ Terrorist Plans in Indonesia

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Terrorist plans are said to be in the ‘advanced’ planning stages and could take place anywhere across Indonesia in the coming months. This announcement prompted the UK Foreign Office to release a warning, advising British nationals to avoid trips to this area.

Following an attack in central Jakarta which killed eight people on January 14th this year, tourists are encouraged to be especially vigilant when visiting, particularly during public holidays such as Balinese New Year on March 9th and Independence Day on August 17th. British visitors are strongly advised to take extra caution when travelling around Indonesia, particularly the capital city.

The Australian government did not delay in agreeing with the UK Foreign Office, and released a statement urging all Westerners to avoid busy areas of Jakarta. After receiving ‘disturbing new evidence’ of planned attacks on Australians and other Western nationals, officials were quick to alert tourists of the potential imminent danger.

While many visitors have chosen to stay in the country, hundreds of British people have booked flights back home within the last few days. Even staff at the British embassy were given leave of absence to travel back to the UK.

However, the Indonesian government officials do not seem to be as concerned as the Western authorities, and Luhut Panjaitan, Chief Security Minister, stated that there is no evidence to suggest an imminent attack on the country.hqdefault[1]

He tried to reassure visitors to Indonesia by praising the police for their work in monitoring potential terrorists and preventing further incidents. Since the January bombings, the police have arrested a total of 19 suspects.

Panjaitan speculated that the attacks may have been organised by Rois, a terrorist on death row in Indonesia who was jailed after bombing the Australian embassy in 2004, killing nine people. The Chief Security Minister also spoke of how authorities have managed to trace calls between terrorists and cut off their communication lines, particularly those in connection with Bahrun Naim, an Islamic State fighter.

The Australian authorities have also pinpointed Bali as a location which could fall prey to terror attacks this year. More than 800,000 Australian citizens visit this island annually, making it a target for terrorists who want to attack a large number of Westerners. It would not be the first time that terrorists have invaded the island; in 2002, a total of 88 Australians were killed out of 202 murder victims, and 4 out of the 20 victims in 2005 were from Australia.

“Our region is not immune from links to the conflict in the Middle East,” said Michael Keenan, Australia’s counter-terrorism minister, when talking about the potential for more terror attacks. Keenan also stated that all countries in the region are a potential target for Islamic State extremists. In a bid to fight the possible terror plans, he has been discussing strategies with the chief of Jakarta police, Tito Karnavian.

Following the attacks in January, Jakarta has seen tourism levels plummet, leaving some small businesses and tourist attractions struggling to make ends meet. Numbers were down more than 17% after the attacks, according to the head of the Central Statistics Agency, who believes the bombings are the reason for the lack of foreign visitors.

Contrary to previous years, even the Chinese New Year celebrations in February did not help the tourism industry to recover from the recent collapse. The country aims to bring in at least 12 million foreign tourists this year – perhaps an ambitious goal considering the recent attacks and natural disasters. While many Westerners planning a trip to Indonesia in 2016 are undeterred by the reports, many are thought to be cancelling their flights and choosing another destination this summer.

 

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