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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Australia vows to punish Bali bombers
Memorial service in Bali
Most of the victims of the bomb were Australians
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said that his government will do everything in its power to bring those responsible for Saturday's bomb attack in the Indonesian island of Bali to justice.


There are no words I can summon to salve the hurt and suffering and pain being felt by so many... We will do everything in our power to bring justice to those responsible for this foul deed

John Howard
He was speaking at a sunset memorial service for the victims of the attack, many of them young Australians.

Hours earlier, Australia had urged all its citizens still in Indonesia to leave the country, following "disturbing new threats". The UK followed by issuing similar advice to its citizens.

The Indonesian Government has said it will issue an emergency decree on Friday to give its security forces extra powers to tackle the terrorist threat in the country.

Nearly 200 people died in the car bomb attack on Bali's Sari nightclub.

Officials say 30 Australians have now been confirmed dead and serious concerns are held for another 89.

Emergency law

BBC Jakarta correspondent Richard Galpin says the Indonesian decree is expected to enable the police to detain suspects for up to a year without bringing charges.

Our correspondent says, the security forces will be able to request the detention of suspected terrorists based only on information from the intelligence agencies.

Investigators at scene of attack
Australian police are helping the Indonesian investigators
The justice minister said the government would establish a special anti-terrorism unit, consisting of officials from the ministries of defence, justice, politics and security, as well as from the army and police.

Ministers and members of parliament gave reassurances that the powers would not be abused by the government to crack down on political opponents. Nor would freedom of speech be restricted.

Indonesian police are now questioning four Indonesians in connection with the attack, the national police spokesman said on Thursday.

Enlarge image
Enlarge image

Aerial view of the devastation
Police have also confirmed that members of the al-Qaeda terror network were in the country.

The group has alleged links with a regional organisation which the radical Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir is accused of leading.

Australia and Indonesia have now agreed to set up a joint investigation and intelligence team in the wake of the bombing.

Memorial service

"What occurred on Saturday night has shocked our nation to the core," John Howard said.

The service was for relatives and close friends of victims of Saturday's bombing - especially Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders.

It was a small gathering timed to take place at sunset as other vigils have in the past few days.

Earlier in the day, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told parliament the new warning of generic terrorist threats was "based on intelligence material we received a number of hours ago".


Bali bomb victim Laurie Kerr
  • Victims came from about two dozen countries
  • Australia, Britain and Indonesia suffered the highest number of casualties


  • Mr Downer also said the threats were serious enough to upgrade Australia's travel advice for other South-East Asian countries - including Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos.

    Shortly before he spoke, two bombs ripped through a shopping centre in the southern Philippines, killing at least three people.

    The Australian Government has come in for sharp criticism this week after admitting it failed to publicise intelligence warnings of possible attacks in Indonesia.

    There is still speculation as to why Australian nationals appear to have been targeted in Saturday's bombing.

    One suggestion is that militant groups which blame Australia for the loss of Indonesia's former territory, East Timor, were responsible for the attack.


    Australian PM John Howard at a memorial service in Bali


     WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Richard Slee
    "There are now fears of further attacks"
    The BBC's Jonathan Head in Bali
    "Some people are still not able to take the bodies of their loved ones home"
    Australian Foreign Office's Julie McDonald
    "We've upgraded our tourist information for nine countries in South East Asia"

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    See also:

    17 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    16 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    16 Oct 02 | UK
    14 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    16 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    16 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
    15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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