Sun, 04 Jun 2000

Security worries intensify after bomb threat on expat

JAKARTA (JP): One day after finding a suspicious package in a West Jakarta church, city police were called on Friday night by a foreigner living in Cilandak, South Jakarta, who said he had received a bomb threat earlier the same afternoon.

Chief of Cilandak Police Subprecinct Maj. Nurhayati said on Saturday that Alistair Lang, a British citizen living on Jl. H. Abu, Cipete, Cilandak district, South Jakarta, had received a phone call on Friday night from an unidentified person who claimed to have planted a bomb inside his house.

"Lang immediately called Cilandak Police and reported the mysterious call," Nurhayati told The Jakarta Post.

Head of the local neighborhood unit, Musadat, who lives next to Lang's house, said he knew nothing about the bomb threat until Cilandak Police officers, who arrived in the area around 6:00 p.m., notified him.

Police conveyed the report to the National Police Bomb Disposal Squad (Gegana), which arrived at Lang's house to look for the reported bomb at around 7:30 p.m.

The bomb disposal team, led by Sgt. Sardi, searched the house for about an hour before concluding that it was safe.

Nobody picked up the phone when the Post tried to contact Lang at his home on Saturday.

Eric Humphries, a staffer at the British Embassy, he could not confirm whether Lang was from the UK.

"We cannot confirm his citizenship as soon as tonight. I think you should verify the information with the embassy or the police yourself," he told the Post from his home on Saturday

The bomb threat was the second incident in the capital in as many days. On Thursday, church staffer F. Rujimin alerted West Jakarta Police to a suspicious item at Salvator Christ Church on Jl. K.S. Tubun.

The item, a drinking bottle with batteries and wires packed in a brown cement sack, was found at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday by Rujimin.

Duty officer at the National Police Forensic Laboratory (Puslabor) Munawardin said on Saturday that laboratory officers had yet to come to any conclusion over the item.

Bombs have exploded in the North Sumatra capital of Medan and the East Java town of Nganjuk over the past week.

In Medan, a bomb exploded in a Protestant church last Sunday, injuring 47 people. Two other bombs that failed to explode were discovered in two other churches. Last Monday, a blast occurred in front of a restaurant, injuring three.

In Nganjuk, a grenade exploded in a van last Tuesday. East Java Police Chief of Detectives Col. Suharto said last Wednesday that apart from the Belgian-made grenade, a homemade bomb, hundreds of 5.56 millimeter M-16 rifle bullets and a large number of other bullets of calibers ranging from 6.3 mm to 9 mm where in the van when it exploded. (07)