Militants Killed in Bali Raid Plotted Tourist Attack: Police

By webadmin on 12:21 pm Mar 20, 2012
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Made Arya Kencana

Denpasar. The five suspected militants shot dead by the police in Bali on Sunday were from a group that may have planned an attack on a popular tourist cafe, police said on Monday.

“From our investigation, they [the suspects] did a survey there,” Bali Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Hariadi said, referring to La Vida Loca cafe in the tourist area of Seminyak in South Bali.

Unyil Yunitasary, the operational manager of the cafe, said the area around the cafe had been tense for the past week as dozens of armed personnel were stationed there to provide security. On Sunday, she said, the tension was palpable.

“There were about 200 armed police guarding the area around of the cafe and they stayed here until the cafe closed at 3 a.m.,” she said.

Unyil speculated her cafe may have been targeted “because it’s packed and most of our customers are foreign tourists.”

So far, the five dead men are believed to have been planning robberies in Denpasar and Badung district. Split into two groups, they had started conducting surveys using rented cars.

Hariadi said their targets included a money changer on Jalan Sriwijaya in Kuta and a gold jewelry shop on Jalan Uluwatu.

Police say some of the men had rented a room at a nearby hotel, Puri Naga, in the Double Six area in Seminyak, while others were staying at a boarding house in the Jimbaran area.

Hariadi said their bodies would be sent to Jakarta today.

Dudut Rustiyadi, the head of the forensics unit at the Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar, said the bodies would be transferred to the Kramat Jati Police Hospital in East Jakarta for an autopsy. In Bali, they were given photo labels in line with Interpol standards but no medical examination were conducted on them.

The men were fatally shot on Sunday as members of the National Police’s antiterrorism unit Detachment 88 (Densus 88) traded fire with them in two raids.

Human rights activists have been critical of Indonesia’s harsh treatment of suspected terrorists, but the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) has defended Sunday’s raid, saying police are allowed to use extreme force in emergency situations.

A witness of the attack identified as Sekar said she had seen three men leave a brothel at the end of a dead-end alley next to a laundry shop she runs on Jalan Danau Poso in Sanur.

“It was after they left the brothel that the chase took place,” she said. “In the beginning, I didn’t think the ones they [the police] were after were terrorists.”

After the three men went into the bungalow, Sekar heard several explosions. Two ambulances and a truck full of police officers came shortly after.

On Jalan Gunung Soputan in West Denpasar, where the two others were shot, local residents said they heard what seemed to be two gunshots at about 10 p.m.

Hariadi said all five men belonged to the same group and that the police confiscated firearms and several rounds of ammunition from both locations.

He declined to give details about the group, including whether they took part in a terrorism paramilitary training camp in Aceh in 2010, several members of which are still at large.