Fri, 17 Nov 2000

Blast at Sutiyoso's official residence

JAKARTA (JP): Even Jakarta's number one resident, Governor Sutiyoso, is not immune from the spat of terrorist attacks rocking the capital as an explosion, believed to be from a hand grenade, slightly shattered the official gubernatorial residence in the flush Menteng area, Central Jakarta, late Thursday night.

No casualties, other than a minor injury to a household technician staff named Budi, were reported. The hand grenade exploded at about 8:25 p.m. on the front roof of the garage located outside the main residential building.

A red Toyota Corona usually used by the governor's wife parked in the garage was slightly damaged at its bumper. Five other vehicles inside the same garage, including a Chrysler Cherokee and a Toyota Land Cruiser, are left unscratched.

Chief of the Jakarta Police criminal investigation unit, Sr. Supt. Harry Montolalu, said his men were still questioning a number of witnesses and collecting evidence from the scene.

"We still have no idea about the time of the explosion. But, it's not a firecracker," he said at the scene. "Judging from the impact, it looks like that the device is similar with the one that blasted at the compound of the Malaysian Embassy recently."

A witness said that he saw a blue Timor sedan pass in front of the house slightly before the blast.

According to the governor, who was accompanying a group of visiting United Nations Security Council representatives for a dinner function at the time of the blast, he had no idea about the motive of the attack.

"I have no enemy. I received no threats. But please do not ever think that Jakarta is no longer safe simply because there's an explosion at the governor's home," he told reporters.

Upon his return to the Central Jakarta mansion on Jl. Taman Suropati No. 7 at about 10:10 p.m., Sutiyoso could only stand in bemusement as he observed the damage while police bomb squad personnel continued to sweep the compound for evidence.

A damaged bird cage seen lying mangled on the ground near the damaged vehicle was further testimony of what could have been a lethal blast. "But the bird is safe," Budi said.

A group of five security officers, including two from the military, were on guard at the time.

Sutiyoso's wife and one of his two daughters were on a trip to Surabaya, East Java. Their other daughter lives in another house with her husband.

The latest incident further highlights the susceptibility of security in the area. Sutiyoso's official residence is located just 200 meters from the official residence of Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri and a few meters away from the residence of the U.S. Ambassador. (dja/bby/ylt)