Strike first, strike hard, no mercy!
- Dec 15, 2006
- New Zealand
Embassy officials are searching Jakarta hospitals for more Kiwis after a terror attack in the Indonesian capital killed a New Zealander.
Bombs tore through the five-star Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in Jakarta yesterday, killing at least nine people and injuring 50 others, just as breakfast meetings began in a district frequented by Westerners.
The bombs were thought to have been carried into the hotels by suicide bombers. An unexploded bomb was also found at the Marriott Hotel.
New Zealander Timothy David Mackay, 62, was at the Marriott for a business meeting and was killed in the blast at 7.45am (12.45pm NZ time). The father-of-two had worked in Jakarta as president director of PT Holcim Indonesia since 2004.
Witnesses said shattered glass and debris littered the street outside. About 100 foreign and Indonesian hotel guests gathered outside, some still in bathrobes.
New Zealander Tom Warden was reported as saying: "There were people in the elevator saying, `we've got to get the hell out of here'."
The Marriott was also attacked in 2003, when 12 people died. Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah was blamed in that blast and is suspected in yesterday's bombings.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, has a history of terrorist attacks, including the Bali bombings of 2002 which claimed 202 lives, including three New Zealanders and 88 Australians.
Chris Holm a New Zealand journalist based in Jakarta, was at the scene and said the front of Ritz-Carlton was blasted out. "There was a lot of damage on the first and second floor. You could see a chandelier hanging there."
Fifty ambulances were outside, and there was a strangely subdued atmosphere. "The army was out in force ... It's an attack on the heart of the business community in Jakarta. Captains of industry, heads of companies all frequent these hotels."
Another Kiwi journalist, Cameron Bates, also in Jakarta, said security at the city's hotels was a joke. "It looks impressive but if you wanted to smuggle a bomb or parts of a bomb in you wouldn't have too many difficulties."
The attack seemed to signal a shift in tactics by terrorists from car bombing to bombs inside buildings. "It's concerning for foreigners and anyone considering travelling to Indonesia."
A Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry travel advisory for Indonesia was updated last night with information about the attacks. Indonesia was already labelled a high-risk destination, with warnings against all non-essential travel.
The Indonesian embassy in Wellington strongly condemned the attacks, calling them "cruel" and "inhumane".
Prime Minister John Key said the attack was "another tragic moment" for Indonesia. "This is a deliberate attack designed to kill and wound innocent people.
"For the New Zealander whose life has been claimed it's a tragic set of circumstances and our heart goes out to their family and friends."
Mr Mackay was known for his work in developing countries and had worked in Fiji and Sri Lanka. He had an MBA from Massey University.
Friend Jeremy Smith told TV3's Campbell Live he was well known for his dedication. "It's barely believable. It's just so sad. He was just a very dedicated and competent person who knew how to connect with people."
Mr Mackay's former wife, Fran, told One News he was an "extremely special man". "He will be missed by all of us. He was a very good man."
A Kiwi who lived through the devastation of the Jakarta Marriott Hotel bombings in 2003 says the latest attacks bring back memories of absolute "carnage".
Bernard Isherwood lived in the Marriott Hotel for more than two years and said security was completely overhauled after the last attack. "But you can't stop someone [a suicide bomber] walking in," he said from his Nelson home.
The 59-year-old security specialist said after the 2003 bombings locals were "distressed and embarrassed" that foreigners were targeted.
Amanda Stanaway and husband Andrew survived the Bali bombing in 2002 and said news of the latest violence had brought back terrible memories.
"My heart really goes out to the families of those affected. I think that every country now ... has the makings for this to happen. I don't think we're as safe as we used to be."
JI strike again.
As mentioned in the article, the change in MO is interesting. What's also interesting is that it appears (unconfirmed) that these were explosives left by themselves, with no suicide bomber attached.