Jakarta moves on a day after militant attack

A traffic policeman standing in front of floral tributes set up at the blast site - a police outpost - in Jakarta on Jan 15.
A traffic policeman standing in front of floral tributes set up at the blast site - a police outpost - in Jakarta on Jan 15.PHOTO: AFP
A newspaper vendor at the site of yesterday's gun and bomb attack in Jakarta on Jan 15.
A newspaper vendor at the site of yesterday's gun and bomb attack in Jakarta on Jan 15. PHOTO: REUTERS
A Indonesian Air Force personnel on patrol at Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar, Bali, on Jan 15.
A Indonesian Air Force personnel on patrol at Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar, Bali, on Jan 15. PHOTO: AFP
A policeman standing guard in front of the damaged Starbucks building in Jakarta on Jan 15.
A policeman standing guard in front of the damaged Starbucks building in Jakarta on Jan 15. PHOTO: AFP
Forensic officers working at the scene of a bomb blast in front of a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Jan 14, 2016.
Forensic officers working at the scene of a bomb blast in front of a shopping mall in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Jan 14, 2016.PHOTO: EPA
A security guard standing in front of the damaged Starbucks building in Jakarta on Jan 15.
A security guard standing in front of the damaged Starbucks building in Jakarta on Jan 15. PHOTO: AFP
A man carrying newspapers bearing pictures of an alleged gunman in Jakarta on Jan 15.
A man carrying newspapers bearing pictures of an alleged gunman in Jakarta on Jan 15. PHOTO: AFP
A police officer walking near a boarded up police box that was hit during yesterday's gun and bomb attack in Jakarta, on Jan 15.
A police officer walking near a boarded up police box that was hit during yesterday's gun and bomb attack in Jakarta, on Jan 15.PHOTO: REUTERS
Bullet holes seen on a car outside a Burger King outlet in Jakarta on Jan 15.
Bullet holes seen on a car outside a Burger King outlet in Jakarta on Jan 15.ST PHOTO: FRANCIS CHAN

JAKARTA - "Kami tidak takut," or "We are not afraid" in Bahasa Indonesia, was emblazoned across a wreath found at ground zero of the Thursday (Jan 14) attacks in downtown Jakarta.

The city woke up on Friday without a sense of foreboding despite Indonesia suffering its first major terror attack since 2009.

Two bystanders were killed and more than 20 injured after local militants laid siege to a Starbucks cafe located at a busy junction in central Jakarta on Thursday morning.

The words on the wreath, placed at the scene of the explosions, best sum up the spirit of a city that is no stranger to terror threats.

 

"There is nothing to fear, we must move on," said one office worker as he rushed off to work at Gedung Jaya, located just across the street from the Menara Cakrawala building where the Starbucks cafe is located.

 

The cafe, now a hoarded up crime scene, will remain a small symbol of why Indonesia will remain a target for extremists groups.

 

That is because while the country is home to the world's largest Muslim population, its government and people have embraced a largely secular way of life, balancing Islamic principles with an openness that is almost uniquely Indonesian. The government's strong stance against extremist groups is another reason.

Jakarta has seen over a dozen terrorist attacks in the past 15 years, carried out mostly by extremists with ties to the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) but Thursday's attack could be traced to local militants linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Traffic had resumed on the streets of Jalan M. H. Thamrin and Jl. K.H. Wahid Hasyim, where Thursday's attacks were played out just hours after the siege.

Aside from the partially damaged police post and the white hoarding covering the Starbucks cafe, things seemed to be back to normal as workers returned to work on Friday morning.

Earlier in the morning, Starbucks issued a statement saying it has reopened all its cafes, except the outlet at Menara Cakarwala, after it had shut all of its stores in Jakarta in the wake of the attacks.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has vowed to take out the militant masterminds and called for his countrymen not to surrender to such acts of terror.

"I have instructed the police chief and the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs to pursue and arrest the perpetrators and their networks," he said.

"Our nation and our people should not be afraid, we will not be defeated by these acts of terror, I hope the public will remain calm.

"We all are grieving for the fallen victims of this incident, but we also condemn the act that has disturbed the security and peace and spread terror among our people," he said.

The president had visited the scene and his newly appointed spokesman Johan Budi later announced that the government will compensate all the victims for their medical expenses.

There are still many unanswered questions, including the identity of the attackers, their motivations and whether ISIS has a direct hand in planning the assault.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mr Luhut Panjaitan, said that security agencies have made separate arrests and hopefully these will shed more light on the attack.

For now, Jakarta should breathe a sign of relief that the siege did not result in a higher death toll.

After all, the militants had hidden at least five more bombs primed for detonation as part of a second wave of attack, before the police killed them and prevented a wider catastrophe.

For more stories on the Jakarta attacks, please go here