Mon, 16 Oct 2000

Bomb hoax in Makassar

MAKASSAR, South Sulawesi: Ratu Indah Mall on Jl. Dr. Sam Ratulangi received a bomb threat on Sunday afternoon, forcing hundreds of shoppers to rush out of the mall in panic.

The three-story mall, the biggest shopping center in eastern Indonesia, is owned by Yusuf Kalla, former minister of industry and trade who is an influential figure in Makassar.

The threat was received by telephone operator Ina Sakinah at 3:30 p.m. local time from a man with a Chinese accent.

"He (the caller) said he had planted a bomb on the second floor. I then immediately called the security chief, Abner Pawang," Ina said.

Hundreds of shoppers panicked and fled from the building. The police bomb squad arrived and searched the mall for about an hour.

Makassar Police chief Sr. Supt. Aryanto Budihardjo said later in the day that the bomb threat was probably made by parties who worked in a network aimed at creating chaos in the city.

"Makassar, as a major city of eastern Indonesia, is prone to such attempts. We're investigating this case thoroughly, there probably is a link to recent bomb threats here." (27/edt)