Confusion over Bali terror warning from US embassy

Governor of Indonesian island denies issuing warning of New Year's Eve attack quoted on embassy website

The US embassy in Indonesia today issued a warning of a possible attack in the popular tourist destination of Bali tonight, saying it was based on information from the island's governor.

A message on the US embassy website carried what it said was a statement from the Bali tourism board.

The statement read: "The governor of Bali, Mangku Pastika, wishes to share a message with all of us: 'There is an indication of an attack to Bali tonight' ... please don't panic, but put your security system to full alert."

However, Putu Suardika, the head of public relations at the Bali governor's office, denied that Pastika had made such a statement.

"No, he never said that, either in writing or verbally," Suardika told Reuters. "We never put out any warning, either written or spoken.

"Of course we in Bali, because we have had two bombs in the past, have to remain on alert."

Attacks on Bali in 2002 and 2005 killed more than 200 people. In July, suicide bombers attacked the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in Jakarta, killing seven people and themselves and wounding 53 others.

The Indonesian government said the al-Qaida-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah, led by Noordin Mohammed Top, carried out the attacks. Top was killed by Indonesian police in September.

On its website, the Foreign Office – which also cited the warning from the Bali tourism board – said there was a high threat from terrorism throughout Indonesia.

"Terrorist groups continue to plan attacks and have the capacity and intent to carry out these attacks at any time and any where in the country," it said.

"Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers."

Police in Bali played down the threat of an imminent attack. Gde Sugianyar, a police spokesman, said officers were not aware of a threat and always tried to ensure security was as tight as possible.

"There is no initial indication so far. Everything is running well and secure in Bali," he told Reuters.

"For us, we don't consider whether there is any threat or not, but we have been preparing security for the New Year's Eve to be as tight as it can."


Mark Tran

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

CIA issued Bali warning
The CIA issued a warning in September about a potential terrorist threat to Bali and other tourist resorts in south-east Asia, a US intelligence source said yesterday, provoking new questions over whether the attack could have been foiled.

Julian Borger in Washington and John Aglionby in Bali

17, Oct, 2002 @8:07 AM

Article image
Bali bombing mastermind escaped deadly police siege
Tests show that dead man was not Noordin Mohammed Top, also wanted for last month's attacks on Jakarta hotels

Haroon Siddique and agencies

12, Aug, 2009 @8:44 AM

Families angry over Bali acquittal
The relatives of Australians killed in the Bali bombings condemned the Indonesian supreme court's decision to clear the Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir yesterday of any involvement in the 2002 attack.

Roger Maynard in Sydney

23, Dec, 2006 @11:55 PM

Article image
Bali volcano: glowing red lava seen on Mount Agung
Burnt orange glow observed in the crater of volcano and in thick column of ash rising nearly two miles into the air

Kate Lamb in Jakarta

28, Nov, 2017 @8:14 AM

Article image
Bali hopes to regain paradise island status with mass cleanup
Thousands will join the One Island One Voice cleanup of beaches, rivers and jungles

Kate Lamb in Jakarta

23, Feb, 2018 @1:14 PM

Article image
Warning to British travellers as Bali bombers are buried

Al-Qaida supporters may launch attacks against foreigners in retaliation for execution of three of the Bali bombers

Owen Bowcott and Ian MacKinnon

10, Nov, 2008 @12:01 AM

Article image
Bali becoming a haven for drugs gangs, warn officials

Honeymoon hotspot has seen growing trade in crystal meth, with trafficking rates in Indonesia up more than 300% in the past year

Kate Hodal in Denpasar

16, Sep, 2011 @4:55 PM

Article image
Bali Nine: Australia recalls ambassador as world condemns executions
Indonesia criticised after Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, four Nigerian men, an Indonesian and a Brazilian are executed by firing squad

Michael Safi Sydney, Jonathan Watts Rio de Janeiro, Kate Lamb Jakarta, Dina Indrasafi Cilicap

29, Apr, 2015 @8:01 AM

Article image
Japanese scuba diver describes horror in Bali seas as dead companion found

Ritsuko Miyata's body recovered as dive tutor Saori Furukawa tells of sea 'like washing machine' and three-day ordeal

Justin McCurry in Tokyo

19, Feb, 2014 @3:56 PM

Article image
‘Have a little empathy’: Bali tires of badly behaved foreign influencers
Tourists threaten the island’s economic recovery by ignoring Covid protocols, including refusing to wear masks and even making a porn film

Febriana Firdaus in Ubud

14, May, 2021 @8:00 PM