Mon, 20 Nov 2000

Motive for hotel blast undetermined

JAKARTA (JP): West Jakarta Police chief Sr. Supt. Iwan Nurisman Ismet said that judging from initial evidence the perpetrator of Friday's blast at Omni Batavia Hotel in West Jakarta had no intention to injure anyone.

"The suspect lit a bunch of firecrackers tied together. This is not deadly ... the motive here was not kill," Iwan said.

"We are considering that this could be some sort of terror directed at guests staying on the fifth floor, where the blast took place."

Five of the 11 hotel guests were staying on the fifth floor, before the blast.

Iwan said that his detectives believed the perpetrator took the elevator to the fifth floor, lit the firecrackers, placed them in the trash bin in front of the elevator, and left via the elevator.

"The wick of the firecrackers was 10-centimeters long. That should have given the suspect time to escape or at least, avoid the blast. It took place during Friday prayers ... there were not many people around the blast area at that time," Iwan remarked.

Iwan had said another possible motive could be recent internal problems at the hotel.

He was referring to a strike by a number of hotel employees about two weeks ago to protest the choice for the hotel's new general manager. (ylt)