Indonesian police downplay Australia’s travel warning

Indonesian police say people should be alert but not alarmed as the Australian government warns terrorists may be in the “advanced stages” of preparing further attacks in the country.


In its latest advice issued on Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says that while the overall level of advice has not changed, Australians should exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali.

Indonesia’s National Police spokesman Agus Rianto acknowledged the warning but would not comment on the suggestion that preparations for an assault may be at an advanced stage.

Since the January attack in Jakarta that killed eight people, including four assailants, Rianto said police had increased patrols and surveillance, and made more than 30 arrests.

“Basically we are staying alert. But the condition remains the same as usual,” he told AAP.

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He said warnings from Australia may be a result of increased chatter on social media and propaganda videos, with local supporters of Islamic State circulating threats against police and national targets, such as embassies, government offices and airports.

Just last week AAP revealed a disturbing 18-second video of Indonesian primary school-aged children carrying out a mock IS-style mass execution had been uploaded on the web.

“Just like what happened after the Thamrin attack in Jakarta, they (terrorist supporters) are putting videos of children in (terrorism) training,” Rianto said.

“This is a form of provocation and shows us we need to stay alert.”

Australia’s warning comes just days after DFAT issued an alert to its citizens living in Malaysia to be vigilant as terrorists may be planning attacks in Kuala Lumpur.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate and may target Western interests or locations frequented by Westerners,” it said. “You should be particularly vigilant at this time.”

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