In an end of the year briefing by Bali’s chief of police, Inspector General Teuku Husein Ashikin, the island’s leading law enforcement officer issued assurances that his officers were prepared to face any potential threat.
In anticipation of terrorism attacks mirroring the Mumbai tragedy, General Husein was quoted in the Jakarta Post as saying that his command team are now in possession of blueprints for all hotels in Bali.
Insisting that Bali “will not be another Mumbai,” Bali’s chief of police told the press: “It’s not that we’re being arrogant, but, God willing, what happened in Mumbai will not happen here. It would be insane if we did not know that a bunch of armed gunmen had entered several hotels, or that these men had just hijacked a boat.”
Indian authorities have been roundly criticized, both at home and abroad, for the slow response to the Mumbai attacks that claimed the lives of 164 people. Added to this were reports that the Indian police response was hampered by bureaucratic delays, and a critical shortage of arms and equipment with which to fight the terrorists.
General Ashikin insisted that a similar scenario in which a group of armed terrorists marched into town would be impossible in Bali, where any armed incursion would be immediately reported by the public to the police. He also said that his officers have been trained extensively in emergency response methods and could arrive at any key location within minutes of any alarm being raised.
Full-scale practice drills involving the storming of leading hotels in Bali have further sharpened the emergency response skills of Bali’s first responders. Ashikin gave full marks to local hoteliers who have cooperated fully with the police in developing emergency scenarios and familiarizing officers with the layouts of all resorts.
Additional drills are planned over the coming weeks that will focus on damage limitation, handling hundreds of injured tourists and coordinating responses with local hospitals.
Bali has suffered two devastating terrorist attacks. In October 2002 Islamic militants attacked two Bali nightspots killing 202 people and injuring scores of others. This was followed in 2005 when the bombing of a Kuta restaurant and a beachside restaurant in Jimbaran killed another 20 people.