Jakarta police targeted in suspected suicide bomb blasts

Eyewitnesses in Kampung Melayu, in east Jakarta, said two loud explosions were heard at about 9pm, occurring near a bus stop and a parking lot for motorcycles, reported Elshinta radio. Police have yet to determine the cause of the blasts.
Eyewitnesses in Kampung Melayu, in east Jakarta, said two loud explosions were heard at about 9pm, occurring near a bus stop and a parking lot for motorcycles, reported Elshinta radio. Police have yet to determine the cause of the blasts.PHOTO: TEMPO

An Indonesian policeman was killed and several other officers injured after a suspected suicide bomber struck near a bus terminal in Kampung Melayu, in east Jakarta, at about 9pm local time yesterday.

The perpetrator was also killed in the blast, Deputy National Police Chief Syafrudin told reporters at the scene. It appeared that the bombing was targeted at police, and comes after several planned attacks on the police have been foiled.

Transjakarta, the company that runs local bus services, tweeted at 9.40pm local time that it was a suicide bombing, but did not elaborate further. Jakarta police spokesman Colonel Argo Yuwono said yesterday that the area had been sealed off for investigation, but they had yet to start working at the scene of the explosions.

"We cannot say yet how many injured, killed as of now," he added.

The Straits Times understands that a 17-year-old private car driver and 19-year-old student were also among those who were seriously wounded.

According to eyewitnesses in the densely populated neighbourhood, two loud explosions were heard at about 9pm, reported Elshinta radio.

Details were still unclear at press time, but various witnesses had said the first and second blast occurred between five and 10 minutes apart near a bus terminal and a parking lot for motorcycles.

The police have yet to determine the cause of the blasts, but photos and videos from the scene that circulated shortly after showed pieces of bloodied human flesh and dismembered body parts, including a limb and what appeared to be a severed head inside the Transjakarta bus terminal.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, has long struggled with Islamic militancy, and hundreds of radicals from the South-east Asian state have flocked to fight with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), sparking fears that weakened extremist outfits could get a new lease of life.

A gun and suicide attack in Jakarta left four attackers and four civilians dead in January last year, and was the first assault claimed by ISIS in South-east Asia, reported Agence France-Presse.

Indonesia has suffered a series of Islamic militant attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline 'Jakarta police targeted in suspected suicide bomb blasts'. Print Edition | Subscribe