Schools closed, fewer cars on roads: Surabaya streets silent after terror attacks

A police line on an empty street following a bomb blast at a police station in Surabaya, Indonesia, on May 14, 2018.
A police line on an empty street following a bomb blast at a police station in Surabaya, Indonesia, on May 14, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

SURABAYA - An eerie calm has descended on Surabaya after a wave of deadly terror attacks carried out by entire families, including children, rocked Indonesia's second-largest city.

Streets which are commonly jammed with cars in the city of more than 3 million people were nearly empty on Monday (May 14) afternoon, and remained less busy than usual on Tuesday (May 15).

All elementary and junior high schools were closed by the order of Mayor Tri "Risma" Rismaharini, and will remain so until Friday. Public places like shopping malls saw fewer visitors. 

Mr Salim, an intelligence officer at East Java police headquarters, told The Straits Times as he bought chicken satay at a roadside stall on Tuesday evening that traffic on the road was about "30-40 per cent less than normal".

 
 
 

Several terrorist attacks had shaken the thriving city in Java and the nearby city of Sidoarjo on Sunday and Monday, killing 25 people, including 13 suicide bombers, and injuring dozens others.

Three families who carried out or who were planning the attacks were said to have acted under the orders of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In the wake of the attacks, residents have been urged to remain on guard and stay vigilant and report any suspicious activities to authorities.

"This road is usually crowded on normal days, especially during afternoons like this. Now, it's very quiet," a taxi driver named Tri told the Jakarta Post on Monday afternoon.

On Sunday evening, thousands of people gathered in downtown Surabaya to denounce terrorism, the paper reported. GP Ansor, the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, the country's largest Muslim organisation, called for unity in the fight against terror. The youth group has also deployed its members to guard churches across Surabaya.