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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Indonesia media's 'shame' at attack
Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri
President Megawati called for calm

The Indonesian media express shock at the Australian embassy attack with some papers pointing at the police and government for failing to take security threats seriously.

"We are ashamed because our national police are incapable of preventing continued bombings," Media Indonesia newspaper says in an editorial beside a front-page headline: "Terror 9/9".

"We are ashamed because our nation has been seen as a den for terrorists.... Yesterday's bombing has utterly ruined our credibility."

"The bombing has crushed trust in Indonesia and public trust in the government."

The Jakarta Post says it appears that, after "good work" following the 2002 Bali bombing, "our police officers and intelligence agencies have somehow allowed their vigilance to slacken".

The sense of shame about how unsafe Indonesia appears to be is echoed in an editorial in Jakarta's Kompas.

"It is easy to foresee the impact of the bombing in front of the Australian embassy. The foreign governments which issued travel warnings have proven themselves to be right."

Spotlight on Australia

Some papers switch their anger to the Australian government's support for Washington's war on terror.

What has gone wrong with the policies of John Howard's government? Why does Australia tend to over-support the US?

"If it is true that the real target was the Australian embassy, the bombing ought to grab the attention of the Australian government," says Medan's Waspada.

"Why have Australians become bombing targets? What has gone wrong with the policies of John Howard's government? Why does Australia tend to over-support the US?"

"The unfair and double standard stance exerted by the US, Australia and their allies has hurt certain groups heavily," the paper says in an editorial.

"The Australian embassy has become a target," says a commentary in Kompas. "No country should blame Indonesia. This country has carried out optimal prevention efforts but has still become the victim."

Election impact

The visit to the scene of the attack by Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, battling for re-election on 20 September, received wide television coverage.

National Televisi Republik Indonesia 1 showed the president rushing back to Jakarta from a royal wedding in Brunei to tour the blast site and urge Indonesians to remain calm but vigilant.

Jakarta's Metro TV showed her main rival in the election, former general Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, visiting a Jakarta hospital and meeting wounded victims.

He urged the country's intelligence, police force, and military personnel to upgrade their counter-terror measures.

Jakarta's Rakyat Merdeka reports that prior to the bombing, the police issued several warnings to Jakarta residents to be cautious, particularly in the lead up to the presidential election.


As Indonesian police confirmed a van carrying explosives had been used in the blast, newspapers carry accounts of the attack from people who actually witnessed it.

I saw the car approaching the office. But I only saw a little. After this, suddenly I heard kaboom
Embassy security guard Abdul Hamzah

From his hospital bed, wounded embassy security guard Abdul Hamzah tells Surabaya's Jawa Pos he saw a dark coloured car driving slowly in front of the embassy.

"I saw the car approaching the office. But I only saw a little. After this, suddenly I heard kaboom!"

Widodo, a 42-year-old man, was stuck in a slow lane of traffic nearby. Receiving stitches to his head, he tells the paper: "Suddenly, there was an explosion from in front. Kaboom! Black-grey smoke immediately blocked my view."

An eyewitness named Rudy, who was waiting at a bus stop, saw two vehicles travelling at high speed. One of them suddenly changed direction.

"When approaching the Australian Embassy, the car visibly slowed down," Rudy tells Jawa Pos. He was knocked over by the blast.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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