Tue, 06 May 2003

Police to upgrade security unit at airport

Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak and Muninggar Sri Saraswati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

National Police Headquarters is to upgrade its unit at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport from a subprecinct to a precinct following the bomb attack at the airport last week.

"The upgrade will take place in the next one or two weeks," Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Makbul Padmanagara said Monday.

He said the new status would be similar to that of Tanjung Priok Port Police, which coordinates security, including by businesses and the port operator, at the port.

Existing security arrangements at the airport would be integrated in a similar way, he said after swearing in the new deputy chief of Jakarta Police, Brig. Gen. Nanan Soekarna, the former secretary of the National Central Board of Interpol.

Airport Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Sri Suari Wahyudi has said her task was difficult, given the limited access police had to private areas of the airport, which is managed by Angkasa Pura.

Currently security at the airport and other public places at risk of terrorist attack are under the control of Jakarta Police strategic infrastructure protection chief Sr. Comr. Oegroseno.

The blast at terminal 2F of the airport was the fourth attack in the capital this year. The attack injured 11 people, including women and children.

National Police detectives chief Comr. Gen. Erwin Mappaseng said on Monday that police had produced the sketches of two people who planted the bomb.

"Both of the suspects are men. The sketches were made based on witnesses descriptions," he said, adding the sketches would be released soon.

The witnesses, Mappaseng added, told investigators that one of the men put a black suitcase containing the bomb under a chair outside the KFC fast-food outlet at the airport.

Police believe the attack is related to an earlier bombing behind the UN building in central Jakarta and last month's bombings in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, due to similarities in the types of explosives used.

Police in North Sumatra say a Medan-based GAM commander has confessed to the separatist movement's role in the Medan bombing.

However, GAM have rejected claims they were behind the attacks in Jakarta.