Thu, Aug 14, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Indonesia considers measures after attack

REUTERS , JAKARTA

A young girl cries during the funeral for Edi Sucipto, in Jakarta yesterday. Sucipto, died Tuesday afternoon at Jakarta's state-run Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital. He was the 12th life to be claimed in last week's suspected suicide bombing at the Jakarta Marriott Hotel.

PHOTO: AP

Indonesia said yesterday it would probably strengthen anti-terrorism regulations to prevent attacks such as last week's bomb blast at a Jakarta hotel, as the US ambassador warned more attempts at attacks were likely.

Chief security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters the Cabinet would debate the issue tomorrow, but added the world's most populous Muslim nation would not copy draconian security laws used by its neighbors.

Anti-terrorism regulations were introduced in the wake of last October's Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreigners, but are not as far reaching as laws used in Singapore and Malaysia.

Authorities have blamed the Bali and hotel bombings as well as others over the past year on militant Muslims linked to the regional Jemaah Islamiah group and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda.

"The main idea of the government is to revise the current law. Particularly, we will study whether the current regulation is accommodating enough or not," Yudhoyono told reporters.

However, the government has "no thought" to "plagiarize the ISA [internal security acts] of Singapore and Malaysia."

"The government is not as stupid as that, because our conditions are different, the substance is different," he said.

There have been calls by some officials for Indonesia to follow the Singapore and Malaysian examples of draconian internal security laws since the Aug. 5 bombing at the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 people and wounded up to 150.

But civil rights groups and some legislators have responded angrily to suggestions the government might seek to revive laws similar to those used by former autocrat Suharto during his 32 years of iron rule that ended in 1998.

US envoy to Jakarta Ralph Boyce said he had warned Americans to expect more attempts at terror attacks.

In remarks to reporters who asked him about a meeting of US citizens in the heavily guarded embassy complex earlier, Boyce said a theme of his comments was that "we believe it likely there will be further attempts" by militants at such attacks.

He said he also suggested to those at the gathering that if they left the meeting more concerned or even more frightened than when they came they would have got the message.

The meeting itself was off the record to the media.

Washington has already issued several warnings, most recently on August 8, of terrorist threats in Indonesia, and said places where Americans and other foreigners gather or reside are potential targets.

While all but one of those who died in the Aug. 5 Marriott attack were Indonesians, the hotel was viewed as a Western symbol, and had been used by the US embassy for various events.

Australia issued a warning yesterday for its citizens to avoid all international hotels in Jakarta after new intelligence found the capital could be under threat of further attacks.

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