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01 Jan 2002 00:00
Eight bombers in two vans staged the deadly Bali terrorism attack, a newspaper reported on Wednesday, as President Megawati was expected to discuss the investigation with members of her cabinet.
Citing police and intelligence sources, local daily Koran Tempo said the bombers may have used remote control devices to blow up the two bars filled mostly with foreigners in Bali’s busy Kuta tourist district.
Police have said that the explosion, which killed more than 180 people and has been blamed on al-Qaida, was caused by a car bomb and that the powerful plastic explosive C4 was used.
Two Indonesians have been detained in connection with the attack, which is being investigated by the local police backed by officers from Australia, Britain, Germany, Japan and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
One of the detained was said to have been in the Kuta area when the blast occurred. Tempo cited information obtained from an unnamed official of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) that eight people ? seven Indonesians under the leadership of someone from the Middle East—carried out the bombing.
“They are all already out of Bali,” the official said.
Bali Police Chief Brigadier General Budi Setiawan, asked about the newspaper report on Wednesday, said “that is from the report of our (police) intelligence” but declined further comment.
“The questioning and the investigation is still proceeding,” he said.
According to Tempo, the two multi-purpose vans used in the attack had first stopped near the popular Sari Club, causing a traffic jam in the narrow main street of Kuta while clearing a space in front of them.
One van was left behind and the occupants switched to the other vehicle which sped off before the bomb blew up shortly thereafter, it said.
“There are two possibilities, that the bomb was activated by a timer or the perpetrators just pushed a remote control button so that they can control the blast from a safe distance and give them enough time to flee,” a police source was quoted as saying.
The blast ripped through the packed Sari Club and a bar across the road and caused a fire that blazed for hours and gutted the area.
National Police Chief General Da’i Bachtiar said some witnesses spoke of a man who left a white plastic bag at the scene and fled when he was hailed shortly before the blast.
Sources said President Megawati was expected to discuss the probe into the country’s worst ever terrorist attack with some of her cabinet members on Wednesday.
Megawati’s limited cabinet meeting was mainly to discuss her upcoming trips abroad, Garibaldi Sujatmiko, the head of the press and media office of the presidential secretariat, told AFP but sources close to the cabinet said the investigation appear certain to be on the agenda.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has described the attack as “very carefully planned” and said Indonesian investigators believed Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, possibly working with a local group such as Jemaah Islamiyah, was responsible.
Megawati is scheduled to receive Downer for talks on Wednesday. Downer, who visited Bali before arriving here late on Tuesday, is expected to press Indonesia to set up a joint counter-terrorism task force which would give Australian a rare role in its activities, reports in Sydney said.
Australians and Indonesians are believed to account for the bulk of those killed and injured in Saturday’s attack. - Sapa-AFP
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