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Bali Marks 2002 Terror Bombings with Anger


As survivors and relatives of those killed in the 2002 Bali terrorist bombings marked the third anniversary with a somber ceremony, anger among the local population boiled over. A Balinese mob tried to break into a prison where some of the convicted bombers are being held, shouting for their death.

Several hundred Indonesians and foreigners gathered in Bali's Kuta Beach at a monument marking the spot where 202 people were killed by terrorist bombs three years ago. The names of the victims are carved into the stone monument.

The majority of the 202 were foreign tourists. Australia lost 88 of its citizens.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer attended the commemoration ceremony along with Indonesian officials. He said the terror attacks had brought Indonesia and Australia closer together rather than driving them apart.

Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marty Natalegawa took note of another bombing on Bali this past October 1, which killed another 20 people.

"Today we mark, commemorate, three years since the Bali bombing took place," he said. "It is especially poignant obviously, because only a week or so ago we suffered a similar attack, though thankfully of a much lower scale. But all in all, both the original Bali bombing and just now reflect the fact that the threat of terrorism is very much with us, and it is a struggle we are yet to overcome."

The two bomb attacks not only killed local people along with tourists, they had a devastating effect on tourism, the source of many local people's livelihood. Not long after the ceremony, an angry mob of around 500 Balinese tried to break into the Bali prison where some of those convicted in the 2002 bombings are being held.

The mob broke down the front gates of Kerobokan jail, not far from Kuta Beach, shouting "Kill Amrozi" - the name of one of three original bombers who have been sentenced to death.

Just one day earlier, after several days of demonstrations by Balinese calling for the three to be executed quickly, the police moved the men to a prison island off the main island of Java.

Only one arrest has been made so far in the latest attack, a 45-year-old construction worker named Hasan who allegedly lived with the three suicide bombers. But Bali police chief I Made Mangku Pastika is playing down the significance of that arrest, saying the suspect has told police nothing of significance and denies knowing the bombers.

Sidney Jones, a terrorism expert with the International Crisis Group in Jakarta, does not think that the investigation is going slowly. "I think it takes time to follow these things through," she said. "I do not have any reason to believe that the investigation is going any more slower than usual."

Governments from across the region are working with Indonesian authorities to hunt down the alleged Malaysian masterminds of the two Bali attacks, Noordin Mohamed Top and Azahari bin Husin.

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