Attack failed to achieve its aims, says Yudhoyono

Survivors, members of victims' families gather for memorial on Friday

DENPASAR - As survivors and victims' families mark the 10 years since the Bali bombings on Friday, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared that the attack had failed to produce what their perpetrators hoped for.

"It resulted in just the opposite. Throughout Indonesia, Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists overwhelmingly condemned the attack and repudiated those who misused religion to carry out acts of violence," he wrote in an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday.

"In such time of shock and grief, we all felt part of one humanity."

The blasts at a popular Bali nightspot killed 202 people and injured some 240 others, many of them Australian and Indonesian.

Dr Yudhoyono's comments come as over 2,000 survivors and members of victims' families prepare to attend a memorial ceremony at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana park in Jimbaran this morning.

While Dr Yudhoyono will not be at the ceremony, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa will.

The authorities said this week they had had a tip-off that terrorists were targeting VIP attendees.

On Thursday afternoon, armoured personnel carriers and bomb squad vehicles were seen heading to the site. Sniffer dogs stood ready to comb the area.

Bali's deputy police chief I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana said police had found nothing suspicious. "But we cannot shrug that off," he told news portal

Some 1,000 police officers and 1,000 soldiers, assisted by "pecalang" - local watchmen - were also deployed.

In his opinion piece, Dr Yudhoyono, who was coordinating minister for security at the time of the blasts, said he resolved that those involved "would pay for their monstrous act of terror".

"A decade after the Bali bombs, we can say with some relief that justice has been done," he said.

Three plotters have been executed, and several others killed in police raids.

Ms Gillard yesterday pledged to attend the ceremony despite the security threats.

"This is a moment of real significance for our nation. Ten years ago, I think we would all remember where we were and how we felt, how shocked we were.

"I want to spend some time with the families who have really had to absorb such grief," she said.

Ms Gillard, who is due to give an address at the ceremony, told Parliament that Australians would forever remember the horrific images from the bombings.

"We would give everything to erase the events of that night from the pages of history," she said. "But we cannot... Its horror and its meaning are imprinted on all of our hearts forever."

Meanwhile, Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika apologised to Balinese victims for not enough being done in the aftermath.

He said the provincial government would collect data on survivors, victims and their families to look after their welfare.