Accessibility links

Jakarta's International Schools Closed Amid Terror Threat - 2002-11-19


International schools remain closed in the Indonesian capital after new threats that they may be the targets of terrorists. And the country's vice president has voiced concern that the investigation into last month's bomb blast in Bali is too heavy-handed.

Indonesian officials say police and military teams will step up security around three international schools. The schools have been closed since last Friday after embassies received word about a "credible threat" against them. No officials have said where the threat came from.

The threat comes about a month after two bombs devastated a crowded tourist district on the island of Bali, killing at least 190 people. Many of the dead were foreign tourists.

Since then, several Western governments have issued or renewed travel warnings about Indonesia. Some, including the United States, have asked their citizens living in Indonesia to consider leaving the country.

But it is the latest threat on schools that may do the biggest damage to Indonesia, because it affects the foreign business community.

"It definitely has an impact on who's willing to work here and the overall quality of life for employees who are here," said Arian Ardie, vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia. "The nature of the threat was much more specific than the broader travel warnings and obviously this has caused quite a bit of concerns."

So far, Mr. Ardie says few business people or investors appear to be leaving. But he says the government needs to address security concerns, if it does not want to scare away potential new investors.

"And that's really where I think the broader business community is looking for that leadership from the central government," he continued, "in terms of how they're going to be addressing these issues into the future."

Investigators have named several suspects in the Bali bombing, but only one is in custody.

A few Indonesian officials have said that some suspects are linked to the regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, which may be tied to the al-Qaida terror network. Police in Bali, however, say it is too soon to make that connection.

Indonesian Vice President Hamzah Haz, however, has criticized police for their handling of the investigation. He charges that police raids on Islamic boarding schools have been too heavy-handed, which he says could create resentment.

XS
SM
MD
LG