Bali New Year terrorist attack warning
Xanthe Kleinig and wires
December 31, 2009
THE US embassy in Indonesia on Thursday said it had received warning of a New Year terrorist attack from the governor of the resort island of Bali, the scene of multiple bombings targeting Westerners.
"There is an indication of an attack to Bali tonight," it said in a statement to US citizens carried on its website, quoting a message from Governor Mangku Pastika.
The embassy said the Bali Tourism Board had widely distributed the governor's message, which added: "Please don't panic, but put your security system to full alert."
The embassy said the message had been "shared verbatim for your information" but added that standard consular safety and security recommendations "remain valid".
Holidaymakers in Bali were on high alert last night after warnings of a New Year's Eve terror attack.
Indonesian woman Annie Made told the Daily Telegraph last night that police were everywhere in Bali's tourist district.
"All the streets are blocked off, and the hotels. The cars can't come into Legian,'' she said.
"There are police everywhere.''
She said staff at the Bali Aussie Bar and Restaurant in Kuta was preparing for a busy evening with tourists and locals.
"There are police everywhere looking after Bali. We are all okay, we hope nothing happen tonight,'' she said.
"Happy New Year.''
A DFAT spokeswoman said the Balinese Governor, Mangku Pastika had issued a statement of a possible terrorist attack.
"We understand this is a general warning. Indonesian security forces are on heightened alert this holiday season, as has been the case in past years,'' she said.
"Our travel advice for Indonesia has for some time advised Australians to "reconsider your need to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the very high threat of terrorist attack".''
These remind US citizens that Indonesia has been targeted by "violent elements" repeatedly since the Bali bombings of 2002 that killed 202 people, mainly foreign tourists including 88 Australians.
The embassy advises citizens to keep a "low profile" and be "vigilant and prudent at all times".
"US citizens must consider the security and safety preparedness of hotels, residences, restaurants, and entertainment or recreation venues that they frequent," it says.
Police said 7,000 security personnel including US-trained counter-terrorism units were being deployed around bars and nightclubs on Bali as the island prepared to celebrate the New Year.