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Indonesia Returns to Normal Despite Threats of New Attacks

  • Brian Padden

In Indonesia authorities are intensifying efforts to prevent further terrorist attacks in the wake of last week’s deadly siege by Islamist militants. Despite warnings of possible future attacks, life in the Indonesian capital is quickly returning to normal.

The Jakarta Starbucks coffee shop that was bombed is boarded up for repairs, and the memorial of flowers at the site is now gone. Traffic at the busy intersection in front of the Sarinah, the city’s oldest department store, is again congested as usual.

Eight people died in the attack, including four militants.

Police officers react near the site of a blast in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 14, 2016.

Police officers react near the site of a blast in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jan. 14, 2016.

Muhamad Yunus, an “ojek” motorcycle taxi driver has received widespread praise for his actions after the explosions and gunfire.

After the second explosion Yunus rushed to the police station to help a woman whose legs were severely injured, even though the assailants were shooting at anyone in the area.

“I got that woman and I told her, don’t cry. Please be strong. Be strong. Please don’t be sad,” he said.

Yunus said he found out later that the woman was with her nephew, who died in the blast.

There have also been demonstrations by Indonesian Muslims denouncing terrorism and calling for the government to eradicate radical militants linked to the Islamic State group that claimed responsibility for the attack.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he will consider tightening the country’s security laws to prohibit Indonesians from joining radical groups overseas.

Critics say the government has been slow to act.

“The issue itself started in 2013, 2014 but there has been no result. It’s not part of the government’s priority,” said terrorism analyst Taufik Andrie.

The latest threat was a letter sent to police in Bali warning of an attack. Authorities advised visitors and residents of the resort island to stay alert and have increased security at shopping malls and other locations that draw crowds.

Indonesian Special Police patrol at Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, Jan. 15, 2016, one day after a series of explosions hit the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

Indonesian Special Police patrol at Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, Jan. 15, 2016, one day after a series of explosions hit the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

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