Bomb in Jakarta
I've got friends and family heading this way over the next two or three weeks. Then there's Jen in Queensland
arriving in January to live the expat lifestyle with her family for a couple of years.
You will have heard of a small bomb
being set off in an A & W junk food outlet in a newly opened shopping mall.
"It is too early to say whether this was the work of Jemaah Islamiyah (
JL)", not least because, if the aim was to cause chaos and to encourage martyrdom in the name of .... who knows what?, the target does not seem to have strategic value and the bomber and his bomb were relatively insignificant.
JL is seemingly moving away from indiscriminate bombings
and has moved towards the traditional religious view that bombings are unlawful unless there is immediate danger to the Muslim community of believers
. This is not to say that there are not cells of radicals who do not approve of the direction that JL is now.seemingly taking.
Apparently the 36 year old bomber, Muhammad Nuh, was an admirer of Dr. Azahari, Jemaah Islamiyah's top bomb-maker, who was killed last year in a police raid. However, Jakartass can state categorically that the bomber was a total incompetent. I can also state that he still is, because he's now lying in hospital about to be interrogated by Jakarta's finest.Anti-terror official Budi Cahyono said that the suspect was apparently acting alone and that . officers seized two bombs ready for detonation from his rented house, together with powder explosives, cables and a timer, but
"nothing that could not have been bought at an ordinary market
According to one TV report, the suspect's mother died earlier this year and he was extremely upset. The bomb did minimal damage: it cracked a window, and only injured the bomber who has now recovered consciousness.
And why A & W? It suffers from an image problem as its products, apart from root beer, are not mentioned with the same awe or opprobrium as Ronald's or the Colonel's. The newly renovated mall is in an area of Jakarta, Kramat Jati, which most expats would have problems finding. However, it has now become a minor tourist attraction for the residents of East Jakarta
So this is not the start of a campaign. There is no need for governments to issue travel warnings, except possibly to George Bush II. He is due in Indonesia
in a week or so and can expect a very hot reception, not least because drought conditions continue. Oh, and the protests and demonstrations against his visit which have already begun.