Remain on Alert
Last week’s suicide bombing in Java was monstrous not only in its nature but in where it was carried out: inside a place of worship, a mosque. It demonstrates once again that those who base their murderous acts on God’s will – assuming this is yet another instance of Islamist terrorism – are doing nothing of the sort.
Thirty people were injured during Friday prayers when 32-year-old Muhammad Syarif blew himself up at a mosque on the grounds of a police station in Cirebon, West Java. While police have not uncovered the motive, they say the terrorist was most likely not acting alone.
The authorities’ commendable ferreting-out of militants has resulted in spectacular captures, dead and alive, but it hasn’t prevented radical elements from recruiting and plotting further attacks, including a plot to assassinate the president. Recent arrests in Aceh show the terrorist threat remains as real was it was when suicide bombers detonated themselves in Bali, killings 202 people.
As a result of the Cirebon bombing, security in Bali has once again been ramped up, particularly in advance of the Christian festival of Easter this weekend, and police have rightly called on the public to report any suspicious behaviour.
The west Bali gateway of Gilimanuk remains a concern. This newspaper reported earlier this year that the port connecting Java with our island was severely lacking in its security measures, and many people were entering Bali without themselves or their vehicles being checked. In light of the ongoing terrorism alert, this needs to be urgently rectified so that no one is allowed to pass without being thoroughly screened.
Indeed late last month an island-wide hunt was launched when a vehicle suspected of bearing explosives entered Bali via Gilimanuk. That it turned out to be carrying electrical equipment is no reassurance; there should have been no reason for the scramble to locate the possible threat.
Islamist militancy, fed by loathing of Western powers, their culture and their allies, is not on the retreat. Foreign governments such as Australia have not lifted their warnings for Indonesia. We should not wait for another attack in Bali. We should deploy all available measures to ensure our island – and the wider country – are as secure as possible. That means zipping up our ports of entry and everyone being on alert.Filed under: Editorial