Mon, Oct 14, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Mourners commemorate 2002 Bali bombings

AFP, DENPASAR, Indonesia

People attend a memorial service on Saturday for the victims of the 2002 Bali bombings at the Bali Bombing Memorial in Kuta, Indonesia.

Photo: AFP

Hundreds of mourners and survivors on Saturday commemorated the 17th anniversary of the Bali bombings that killed 202 people and injured more than 200.

Grieving families, attack survivors and representatives from several embassies laid flowers and lit incense sticks at a memorial in the tourism hub of Kuta, where radical Islamists detonated bombs in 2002.

Some victims’ family members broke down in tears and others even fainted during a candlelight vigil to remember the victims.

Most were foreign holidaymakers from more than 20 countries, but Australia suffered the biggest loss, with 88 dead.

Several were expatriate and local rugby players from around the region, in Bali for a weekend tournament.

The Taipei Baboons, an expatriate rugby club, lost four players and a Taiwanese female fan, while the Hong Kong FC Vandals, the Jakarta-based Komodos Rugby Football Club and the Singapore Cricket Club lost a total of 22 players and supporters.

“It has been 17 years, but the wound is still fresh for me. It is difficult to fully heal but I am trying to let go of the past,” Endang Isnaini, 48, who lost her husband in the attack, sobbed.

Japanese attendee Takako Suzuki said she comes annually for the ceremony to remember her son, Kosuke Suzuki, who died in the explosions.

“I come here every year to give strength to myself and my other children. This is incredibly sad, but we can move on from this,” Suzuki said.

The Indonesian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), linked to al-Qaeda, was blamed for the bombings, which took place at two popular night spots that accounted for all the victims.

Another device exploded harmlessly outside the US consulate.

Indonesia has long struggled with Islamist militancy and Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Friday ordered beefed-up security measures to help prevent further attacks.

The intervention followed Thursday’s assassination attempt on chief security minister Wiranto, a 72-year-old former army chief, by two militants from a group linked to the so-called Islamic State group.

The Indonesia’s counterterrorism squad on Thursday arrested two suspected militants accused of plotting an attack on police on Bali, local police spokesman Hengky Widjaja said on Saturday.

Widjaja said the two had confessed to planning to attack police with a bayonet.

He said police were tipped about their whereabouts after interrogating suspects who were arrested on suspicion of links to Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a militant group aligned with the Islamic State.

The JI network was neutralized following the arrests of hundreds of its militants and leaders in the wake of the Bali bombings, but new threats have emerged in recent times from IS group-inspired radicals who have targeted security forces and local “infidels” instead of Westerners.

Additional reporting by AP and staff writer

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