Thu, 03 Aug 2000

Relatives identify one of bomb blast fatalities

JAKARTA (JP): One of the two fatalities of the bomb blast at the Philippines ambassador's residence was identified by her relatives on Wednesday as Titin, 42.

"We were able to identify her face and a scar near her left eye," Iwan, who said he was a nephew of the victim, told reporters at Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital morgue.

Iwan said the victim was working as a domestic helper at the nearby residence of local businessman Daniel Hutapea for about seven months.

Daniel is chairman of the Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Builders Association (Gapensi). His residence, which was rented out for the making of the television series Gerhana, was located next door to the home of Philippines Ambassador Leonides T. Caday. The ambassador was seriously injured along with 20 others after his car was hit by the strong blast at the entrance gate of his residence.

The other fatality in Tuesday's explosion was identified as Sopyan, a security guard at Caday's home. He died a few hours after he was admitted to hospital.

Titin could not be immediately identified as her body was badly mutilated and partially burned by the blast.

Iwan said Titin had just finished her lunch and went to buy some cigarettes at a small kiosk near where the bomb was hidden when it exploded and killed her instantly.

Titin has no children and her ex-husband is a businessman who lives in Ciledug, South Jakarta, Iwan said.

According to a report from the hospital's forensic team, there were metal fragments all over the victim's body. It was also severely burned and had fractured bones and skull.

Ichramsjah A. Rahman, the deputy director for medical affairs at the hospital, said doctors also found a piece of metal in Sopyan's abdomen, which was sent to the police for analysis.

"He suffered a heavy blow to his chest which had injured his lungs," said Ichramsjah, adding that the victim had also been burned.

The three other victims who suffered severe injuries caused by the bomb blast underwent operations and were being treated at the hospital, Ichramsjah added.

"They are out of the critical stage and have regained consciousness and are now in stable condition," he said, adding that all the medical expenses would be covered by the hospital.

One of the three, Pandu Susanto, a staff member at the General Election Committee (KPU) building, suffered a fracture in his leg and several bruises to his body.

The KPU building is located across the street from the ambassador's home.

Pandu said he was waiting at a bus shelter when the bomb exploded. "I was on my way to collect my salary," he said.

Another victim, Dwi Warno, a driver for the Bulgarian Embassy, also suffered a fracture in his leg. "I just finished my lunch and was sitting across from the Philippines ambassador's residence when the bomb went off," said Dwi.

The other victim, Ketut Bawun from Karang Asem, Bali, also suffered fractures in his legs and arms. He was one of several street vendors near the ambassador's residence.

F.U.S. Paraeng, a staff member at the KPU building, said several female cleaners at his office screamed "It's doomsday! It's doomsday!" when the heavy explosion hit the building on Tuesday afternoon, jolting the compound and shattering windows.

"Everyone panicked. Some were injured by the flying glass and were bleeding," he said on Wednesday.

He and other colleagues at the office were not working that morning. Many were seen wearing bandages on their hands and faces after receiving cuts from the flying shards of glass.

"How can we work? It's a mess in there," Paraeng, who was wearing a bandage on his face, said.

A domestic helper at Caday's residence, Parmin, 31, said he was watching TV with his four-and-a-half-year-old son on the veranda when his employer arrived in his Mercedes Benz for lunch.

"I heard his car horn sound twice, then 'boom!'" Parni said.

"For a few seconds everything went black. When I came to, I was under the veranda roof. I got up and looked for my son under the debris," Parni said, adding that his son only suffered a few bruises from the incident.

Parni said he had no idea where the explosion came from.

He said he waited for the ambassador on the veranda every day.

"My friend (the late security guard) Sopyan used to open the gate and I usually opened the car door for the ambassador," Parni said, adding that he had been working there for a year and a half.

Leslie, the secretary for the Bulgarian ambassador, said she was having lunch at the Bulgarian Embassy next door when suddenly a strong force of wind entered the building and broke the windows.

"Then I heard the explosion, and my God, the dust entered the building," Leslie said.

Jim, 23, a domestic helper at Jl. H.O.S. Cokroaminoto, only three houses away from the Philippines ambassador's residence, said the sound of the explosion was much more powerful than the ones in action films playing at Studio 21 theaters.

A small food stall vendor, Siti Maesaroh, 60, usually operates her business which is located in a small alley next to the ambassador's residence. She was thought to have been killed by the blast.

"I'm still alive," Siti said. She said she was putting her five-year-old granddaughter to sleep in her shack in the alley when the bomb exploded.

Siti said her adopted son, Made Ketut, was tending the food stall and babysitting her three-year-old grandson.

When the bomb went off, Siti ran to see what happened.

"But the alley was blocked by debris," Siti said.

Made was seriously injured and is being hospitalized. Siti's grandson miraculously suffered only a few bruises.

The police found a letter in Siti's food stall on Tuesday which one police source said was a summons.

But Siti said it was a letter saying she was going to be evicted and she wrote on the back of the letter expressing her disappointment. (07/jaw)g