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Jakarta Governor Says City Returning to Normal After Bombings


It has been nearly two weeks since suicide bombers attacked two luxury hotels in Indonesia. The blasts killed seven people and injured more than 50, but appears to have had little long-term economic or political impact. The governor of Jakarta said measures were taken to increase security and quickly restore confidence following the terrorist attacks.

On the day two bombs exploded at the Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, the Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo attended the opening of a conference. He said he went to send a message the people of Jakarta would not be intimidated by acts of terrorism.

"There is a tremendous crowd, I think 100,000 people attending the opening," said Bowo. "I was asking them if they had this feeling, fear for bombing, nobody responded by saying yes."

The bombings seem to have had little long term impact on the city. The hotels that were attacked have reopened. Foreign investment in the Indonesian economy remains strong. And the Governor says the hotel occupancy rate in Jakarta is back up to between 60 and 70 percent. The reason for the speedy recovery, he says, has been the government's quick reaction to the attacks.

"We have been increasing our intelligence services, that is for sure," said the Jakarta governor. "And secondly we retrain and re-inform all the security officers up to the grassroots level about the standing operation procedure that we have, that it is up to the international level that we have."

Governor Bowo said the investigation into the bombings is being handled at the national level, and he is confident that in time the perpetrators will be apprehended.

Police suspect the Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah is responsible for the blasts. Analysts say Malaysian fugitive Noordin Mohammed Top, associated with a militant break-away faction of the group, is the likely organizer. Top's wife is being questioned by authorities.

Police are also investigating an Internet message claiming responsibility for the bombings by a group calling itself al-Qaida Indonesia, which was purportedly signed by Noordin Top.

The Governor of Jakarta said this first bombing in Indonesia in nearly four years, is a reminder the threat of terrorism is always there.

"We should be aware that the soul of terrorism never dies, it will always be there moving from one place to another place, but I think we should be alert of it. We should increase the awareness of people at large," he said.

Governor Bowo says life in Jakarta is returning to normal, in part, because of increased security, but also because the people of Indonesia refuse to live in fear.

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