Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Indonesia: Officials Concerned with Possible Terrorist Attack on Bali

According to The Associated Press, Indonesian authorities warned earlier today (October 10) that terrorist groups in the region may be planning an attack targeting dignitaries and events in Bali this week to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the deadly attacks on October 12, 2002.

Indonesian police have raised the country's security alert to its highest level after uncovering terrorist movements that could indicate they are preparing to target visitors scheduled to be in Bali for a series of memorial events on the anniversary of the attack Friday. 

COMMENT: The attack, which was carried out by the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), was the most deadly ever in the region. Fortunately, most of bad actors involved in the 2002 attacks have either been arrested, killed or incarcerated. 

Thanks to ongoing anti-terrorism training provided by the British, US and Australian governments, Indonesia's counter-terrorism (CT) capacity rivals found only in developed nations. 

As a result, there have been no major terrorist attacks in the country since 2009. In March of this year, CT units neutralized a planned terrorist attack in Bali.

Although I see no reason for tourists and travelers to cancel travel to Bali during the ten-year remembrance, they nevertheless should realize that a terrorist attack is possible in Bali. Visitors should also be prepared to report anything abnormal to Indonesian police and to always observe people around you. 

Visitors to Bali should realize that the national police have deployed considerable assets to Bali in anticipation of a terrorist attack. These assets include EOD, special operations units and aggressive patrols throughout Bali.