NEW POLICE CHIEF ON SECURITY: ‘Strong Culture’ Bali’s Best Terror Defence


DENPASAR ~ Bali’s strong culture and social cohesion are potent weapons against terrorism, according to new Bali Police chief Sutisna.

He says these factors combined with strong and effective policing and beefed-up security are the best defence against terrorists from outside.

Sutisna warned that Bali remains a prime target for terrorists because it is the tourism icon of Indonesia and a place favoured by thousands of foreign tourists.

And he pledged to continue the tough security measures introduced by his predecessor and to deploy police resources effectively in enhancing security and maintaining law and order.

Sutisna said police and the community needed to work together to create an environment in which terrorists planning crimes would find it extremely difficult to operate undetected.

This must be the major task of the police in the new security environment created by the July 17 Jakarta bombings.

As part of the tough new security line following the bombings, and as part of the continuing search for the alleged mastermind of the July 17 attacks, fugitive Malaysian extremist Noordin M. Top, police are targeting bus terminals for spot searches.

On Tuesday, in one such sweep, 60 police including members of the crack Densus 88 security team checked the Ubung terminal, in Denpasar, paying particular attention to buses and passengers arriving from Lombok via the Lembar-Padang Bai ferry service.

Two tracker dogs were also used in the operation.

Officer Made Sebudi said the operation was designed to find any explosives and firearms or other weapons passengers might be carrying or have in their luggage.

“Every inter-island bus is checked. Passengers with bags or parcels are required to open each one for inspection,” Sebudi said.

“We pay particular attention to every bus that has come from Lombok.”

Similar operations will continue until further notice as part of the strategy to “narrow the space” in which terrorists can operate ahead of any attacks they might be planning.

Searches so far have turned up nothing suspicious.

Extra police backed by armed troops are also deployed at Ngurah Rai International Airport to provide additional security. All vehicles are now checked thoroughly immediately after passing through the ticket gates at the entrance to the airport.

The new police chief, who comes to Bali from a senior post in police investigative management, was formally welcomed to his new position at a traditional Balinese ceremony and lunch at Denpasar Police Headquarters on Monday.

Sutisna, who will celebrate his 57th birthday on August 24, officially began his tenure as Bali’s new police chief on July 29.

He replaced Tengku Ashikin Husein, who had been chief of police for 15 months and who has retired from police service.

The new chief comes to Bali from a senior post as an investigative management specialist. He was born in West Java and has three children.

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