The Australian Government has warned travellers that terrorists are believed to be in “the advanced stages of preparing attacks” in Indonesia.
The alert, issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), comes just days after a similar warning concerning Malaysia. See: DFAT issues terror advisory for Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysia alert was specific to Kuala Lumpur. The Indonesian alert pertains to all Indonesia and warns “an attack could occur anywhere at any time”. Bali attracts about 90% of Australians heading to Indonesia. DFAT says recent indications suggest an attack is being prepared.
“The overall level of advice has not changed,” DFAT says. “We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack.
“Recent indications suggest that terrorists may be in the advanced stages of preparing attacks in Indonesia. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
“The Indonesian Government has recently increased security across Indonesia, which underscores the ongoing high threat of a terrorist attack.
“On 14 January 2016, terrorists attacked a Starbucks cafe and police post in Central Jakarta. Eight people were killed, including the terrorists. The attack demonstrates the continuing terrorism threat in Indonesia, including in locations frequented by foreigners.
“We continue to receive information that indicates that terrorists may be planning attacks in Indonesia. An attack could occur anywhere at any time. Be particularly vigilant at places of worship and during significant holiday periods.”
DFAT warns that Australia’s should exercise particular caution around locations that have a low level of protective security and places known to be possible terrorist targets. Terrorists have previously targeted nightclubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, international hotels, airports and places of worship in Bali, Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia.
“We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Central Sulawesi, Papua and West Papua provinces where additional safety and security risks exist.”
Following the Starbucks attack in Jakarta, Indonesian police arrested dozens of suspected Islamic extremists, though it is not clear whether the arrests were linked to the attacks.
Written by Peter Needham