Tourist video reveals full Bali horror
The video images are grainy but the effect is chilling.
A man in a black T-shirt calmly crosses the Raja restaurant in Bali, where friends and family are eating, drinking and chatting away, enjoying a festive Saturday night out.
He walks back toward the kitchen, and then comes the boom of an explosion.
And then there are screams and panic.
Indonesian police showed the footage to reporters on Sunday but declined to identify the man who shot the video, saying his identity was being kept secret for his own protection.
But the images of one of the three bombings that ripped through Bali, killing at least 19 people and wounding more than 120 in all, provided a glimpse into the work of those who kill themselves in order to kill others.
“This is a suicide bombing,” Bali police chief I Made Mangku Pastika said at a press conference.
“I am certain that there are others involved in this bombing. There are those who planned it, there were those making the arrangements, those preparing the bombs,” Pastika said.
“Those are the ones we must search for.”
He said at least three people helped the bombers carry out their attacks but did not explain one of the many questions now facing police—why the bomb set off in the Raja did not do more damage.
The bomber walked past tables with dozens of diners unaware of what was to come, went to the back of the room and entered the kitchen, which was screened off from the dining room by a chest-high partition.
Suddenly the bomber—who appears to be carrying a backpack—is engulfed in a blinding flash and explodes in a ball of fire.
Only one other person was killed at the restaurant. Police did not name the victim but friends of waiter Wayan Sudik told Agence France Presse they had identified his body.
Pastika said authorities were probing whether the device was operated by a timer or set off by the suspect himself.
“We are investigating how the explosion took place,” he said.
The video shown to reporters was edited and the faces of the cameraman’s party were obscured by police, who did not indicate what happened to the group other than to say that the cameraman’s arm was injured.
But some of the wounded from the blasts are known to have been pierced by ball bearings, which the bombers apparently packed into their bombs to inflict maximum pain and injury.
Police later showed pictures of the severed heads of the three men believed behind the blasts in Kuta and Jimbaran, and said one of the heads was found 25m away from its body.
The heads were intact and the country’s top counter-terrorism official, Ansyaad Mbai, said they appeared to belong to Indonesians.
‘What if he wakes up and needs us?’
Meanwhile, news of the bombs sent relatives scrambling for any news of their loved ones.
Rizal Sutisna’s desperate search for his missing nephew ended in a stifling ward of Bali’s main hospital, where he found him lying in a coma.
The young man, Hendrik Gunawan, had travelled to Denpasar with 25 other employees of the Jakarta office of the China International Freight company who were thrilled to be offered a trip to Indonesia’s idyllic resort island.
Like many other holidaymakers they opted to have dinner at one of the candlelit restaurants along Jimbaran beach’s sweeping arc of shoreline on Saturday night.
Five of them didn’t make it out alive.
As news of the shocking suicide attacks at Jimbaran and Kuta spread to the Indonesian capital, Sutisna flew down before dawn the next day with his wife and Gunawan’s younger sister, determined to find out what had happened to him.
“I arrived here [at the hospital] at around six and I did not see Hendrik’s name on the list of victims, dead or injured,” Sutisna said.
With a heavy heart he went to the morgue attached to the Sanglah hospital but to his relief could also not find his 24-year-old nephew there.
“Then I checked each and every room to look for my nephew, so that I could be certain whether he is still alive, or dead,” he said.
Two hours later, Sutisna finally found him in the intensive care unit, Gunawan was in a coma and only identified as “Mr X”.
Many of those injured in the blasts had ball bearings, shrapnel and other debris driven deep into their bodies. In Gunawan’s case they had penetrated his skull. But Sutisna said despite that there were some encouraging signs.
“We were a bit pleased because he can now move his feet. We want to be able to communicate with him, but for the time being we cannot. We can only watch him,” he said.
Gunawan’s parents and girlfriend were expected to join the vigil, Sutisna said, as he and his wife and niece waited anxiously in a hallway just outside the ICU.
“We will stay here the entire evening. What if he wakes up and needs us?” he said.
Seventeen of Gunawan’s colleagues, many of them injured, were flown back to Jakarta but three others were in such a serious condition that they could not be moved.
One of the evacuees, Reynold, could not hide his excitement at being told by a nurse that he and his friends should prepare themselves for a flight home.
He violently turned his head to look at the nurse’s face and tried to sit up, but wincing in pain he was forced to give up.
A few minutes earlier, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had visited his ward and spoke briefly to him, asking him where he came from.
“I answered that I come from Jakarta, but whatever the president said afterwards I could not hear. He spoke softly and my ears are still painful,” said Reynold.
He grimaced in pain again as friends helped him change into a T-shirt for the trip to Jakarta on board a free flight laid on by the national carrier, Garuda.
The Sanglah hospital, which was overwhelmed by the 202 dead and many more injured in the 2002 bombings, has benefited from generous aid donations that have seen improvements including a new burns unit.
Although their response to the latest disaster has generally been applauded, there were complaints and concerns on Monday from the relatives and friends of those still languishing there.
Rudy Darwin, whose 27-year-old sister Ifen Sani was among Hendrik’s group of Jakarta colleagues and suffered shrapnel wounds to her hand and leg, said he was anxious to take her home.
“The facilities here are not enough, they should have increased the equipment after the 2002 bomb blasts, but sadly it has not changed much,” he said.
“My family are worried, we will check with the doctor if it is safe to send her to Jakarta.”
Economy won’t be affected
Indonesia’s economy will not be badly affected by the blasts, despite fears of damage to the tourism industry, the IMF and Indonesia’s top economic minister said on Monday.
“We don’t see a massive exodus of foreign tourists as yet, like what happened in 2002,” Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Aburizal Bakrie said, referring to similar attacks on Bali’s nightspots which killed 202.
“Should the number of foreign tourist arrivals decline, it [the drop] is unlikely to reach 25%,” he added.
Bakrie said that a 25% decline in foreign tourist arrivals could potentially cut the country’s economic growth by 0,25—0,30%.
If tourist arrivals drop by as much as 50%, it could cut economic growth by around 0,50—0,60%.
The government projects GDP growth of 6% this year. Tourism income contributes around 5% of GDP.
Despite the Bali tragedy and last week’s fuel price hike, which saw pump prices more than double, Bakrie said he was still optimistic that growth this year can reach 5,9%.
And in Tokyo, a senior International Monetary Fund official also said that the bombings were unlikely to have a significant impact on the Indonesian economy, using as a guide the 2002 attacks which did not cause lasting damage.
“Tourism in Indonesia at this time accounts for five percent of its GDP roughly and Bali is a significant part of that,” the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department Director David Burton said.
“It could have some relative effect on the growth in Indonesia but the previous Bali bombing in the end didn’t have major impact on tourism or on the economy,” he said.
“It’s early to assess the event but I hope there won’t be a large, significant effect on the economy.”
However, National Development Planning Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on the weekend that the blasts would deal another blow to economic growth after the fuel price hike.
“If we are lucky I think we can still maintain [growth of] 5,7 or 5,9% by the end of 2005,” Mulyani said. - Sapa-AFP