Jakarta blasts: Indonesia terror -‘Concerning for ex-pats’

January 14, 2016 4:48 pm

Video grab from World Aggregate showing the bomb blast. Photo / https://twitter.com/WAGGNewsNew Zealand ex-pat Cameron Bates said the blasts happened just 2km or 3km from his apartment block.
“I work from home, I’m on the 25th floor of an apartment tower 2km or 3km away from it, I didn’t hear anything,” he said.
“But I work in social media so it pretty quickly came to our attention that something was happening.
“A friend of mine has an office over-looking the scene of the attack and he was posting photos of what he was seeing, including the deceased. “
There was some indication the bodies may have been those of suicide bombers, he said.

“It’s unclear. There was definitely no police officers that I could see from the images, but you couldn’t see the inside of the police post.”
The attack took place outside a police post – a kiosk station for traffic police – on one of Jakarta’s most popular streets, he said.
“The significance of ex-pat one of the main drags. [Jalan Thamrin] connects the national monument with the centre of Jakarta and it’s outside Sarinah Mall which was Indonesia’s first shopping mall, and it’s near the United Nations building,” he said.
“It’s not far from an area which is popular with backpacking tourists – Jalan Jaksa, which anyone who’s passed through Indonesia would have stayed at.”
The street “would have been packed”, he said.
“It’s a very busy city – up to 12 million people during the day.”
Mr Bates said he was still in a “bit of shock”, and had collected his 7-year-old son from school early.
“We’re kind of really unsure of what is happening at the moment,” he said.
“I’ve seen images of four bodies lying around dead … then there were reports of ongoing shootings, possibly targeting a Starbucks in the mall below. That hasn’t been confirmed.
“And now there are reports of further explosions around the city, at least four others.
Again not believed to be massive detonations, perhaps suicide bombing attacks, including one on a 5* hotel popular with Westerners.
“It’s a bit of a state of confusion.”
Mr Bates has lived in Jakarta for 15 years, and said today’s explosion was the fourth bombing he had experienced in that time.
“The others were a bit closer, and larger and more visible,” said.
There were “significant numbers” of Indonesians who had travelled to the Middle East attracted by Isis, Mr Bates said, according to local reports.
“I was just talking about this to an acquaintance a couple of days ago, I told him, ‘we are going to get attacks from these sorts of people returning back from the Middle East’, and it’s going to move away from the old [terrorist] attacks of big bombs, to more sort of focussed, small suicide bombings or targeted shootings,” he said.
“I can’t speak because I don’t know how many attacks there have been, but it would appear to have been of a coordinated style, that we feared.”
There was a lot of confusion, Mr Bates said.
“No-one knows what’s going on.”
He added: “There are reports of seven attacks, all based around the central city – Palmerah, South Jakarta. South Jakarta is very popular with ex-patriots particularly the oil and gas industry, it’s more of an upmarket suburb.
“There’s reports of it being very much a coordinated attack, still reports that some of the terrorists may be holed up inside the Jakarta Theatre, which is a cinema inside the Sarinah building. Reports of other terrorists involved in that attack escaping on motorcycle, through the central city.
“It’s fair to say it’s very confusing, very concerning for ex-patriots.”
His son was ok, he said, and had “no idea” about what had happened.

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