Sun, 02 Mar 2003

Body parts of Oct. 12 bombing victims cremated

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali

The Bali authorities cremated 169 body parts belonging to victims of last year's bombing on Bali island in a ceremony here on Saturday after approval had been obtained from various foreign consulates.

The body parts, most of which were unidentified and belonged to victims from the United States, Canada, France, South Korea, Sweden and Indonesia, were cremated in a Hindu ceremony attended by U.S. and Australian consular officials.

Bali health agency chief Made Molin Yudiyasa, who presided over the ceremony, said that 136 of the cremated body parts had not been identified by the forensic team.

"The body parts were totally unrecognizable. It was impossible for us to identify them," Made Molin said.

The local authority also cremated 20 body parts belonging to foreigners with the consent of six consulates, and another 29 body parts belonging to Indonesian citizens,

A total of 202 people from 21 countries, including 88 Australians, were killed in the Oct. 12, 2002, bomb attacks on the famous tourist resort of Kuta, which were blamed on the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) regional terror network.

"The ceremony was aimed at 'purifying the souls' of those who died when car bombs ripped through two nightclubs in the popular Kuta area," Made Molin said.

Ashes from two coffins containing the body parts were to be scattered over Sunrise Beach in Sanur later on Saturday, Molin added.

Another 43 bodies remain in Sanglah hospital awaiting further investigation, including one belonging to a suspected bomber, Iqbal alias Arnasan, who detonated the bomb in Paddy's bar.

The Disaster Victim Identification team, led by John Bird from Australia, has succeeded in identifying 202 victims from 20 countries over the last four months.

A total of 191 victims who died in Bali have been identified. Three bodies have still to be identified. Eight other victims died abroad after they were evacuated from the resort island.

Most of the victims came from Australia, followed by Indonesia with 37 fatalities, Britain (22), Sweden (22), USA (7), Germany (6), Holland (4), Denmark, New Zealand and France with three fatalities each, South Africa, Japan, South Korea and Brazil (two each), Taiwan, Italy, Portugal, Ecuador, Poland and Canada (one each).

Eight others died from their injuries in Australia after they were evacuated from Bali. They consisted of five Australians, one Indonesian, one Singaporean and one British national.

The Indonesian police have arrested more than 30 people for their alleged involvement in the bombings. The provincial prosecutor's office returned on Thursday the case files on 14 of the suspects to the police for revision.

Most of the suspects have connections to Jemaah Islamiyah, but the police have refused to link the terror organization with the Bali carnage.

Separately, Bali Governor Dewa Beratha gave assurances that the terror attacks would not affect the long-established acceptance of pluralism among the people of the holiday island as long as the rehabilitation program was carried out in line with traditional customs.

"Under our social system, whatever kind of development that is envisaged should be carried out in accordance with traditional customs," the governor said in a speech read out by his deputy, I Gusti Bagus Alit Putra, who opened a workshop on the spatial overhauling of Kuta following last year's blasts.