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Indonesia Pledges to Fight Terrorism in Wake of Bali Blast

BY Admin  October 16, 2002 at 3:45 PM EST

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda told reporters the government was working on giving President Megawati Sukarnoputri authority to impose, by decree, a long-stalled anti-terrorism law. However, Megawati would have to seek approval from parliamentary leaders before doing so.

Meanwhile, Indonesian police say they are planning to formally arrest four men currently being held at the police station in Bali’s capital, Denpasar, national police spokesman Gen. Saleh Saaf told Agence France Presse Wednesday.

Saaf said all four are residents of the island, but not ethnic Balinese. Among the four, Saaf said, were two Indonesians detained Tuesday. He said the four are undergoing intensive questioning.

Earlier, Saaf confirmed that the source of the Bali blast was a minivan with the military explosive C-4 packed into its roof. He told Reuters the type of C-4 used in the bombing was not made in Indonesia. C-4 is the same type of explosive used in the deadly attack two years ago on the USS Cole in Yemen.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said earlier Wednesday that officials still “don’t have any hard evidence as to who is responsible” for the blast. Downer said Indonesia and Australia have agreed to form a joint intelligence team to investigate the bombing.

Australia has posted a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the attack and has sent more than 40 investigators to Bali. Thirty Australians have been confirmed killed in the blast, with 113 injured and 180 listed as missing, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In its Wednesday edition, The New York Times reported that Ralph L. Boyce, the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, and other American envoys had warned Indonesian officials about a possible terrorist strike a month before the Bali attack. But Boyce later in the day called the Times story “imprecise,” saying the warnings had coincided with a temporary closure of embassies in Jakarta and other regional capitals because of terrorist threats during the Sept. 11 anniversary and had not been specific to Indonesia.