Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has adjusted its travel warning for Indonesia to include a “high threat of terrorist attack”, after US intelligence received a tip off about a possible attack.
The US warning included a possible threat to US-linked hotels and banks in the East Java City of Surabaya.
While DFAT’s SmartTraveller website has not changed its overall warning from “Exercise a high degree of caution”, the government agency as updated its advice to say:
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. You should also be aware of the severe penalties for narcotics offences, including the death penalty; some specific health risks; and risks associated with natural disasters.
This has added to the existing threat of an attack on “gatherings of Westerners” over the Christmas, New Year period.
Terrorists have previously attacked or planned to attack such places, including nightclubs, bars, restaurants, international hotels, airports and places of worship in Bali, Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia. These types of venues could be attacked again.
Yesterday Foreign Minister Julie said Australia was “monitoring this situation very closely”.
“We work very closely with the Indonesian security and intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
“We have seen incidents in the past where Australians have been killed – we all remember the two Bali bombings where Australians were killed,” she said.
The 2002 Bali bombings in Kuta killed 88 Australians, and 4 died in the terrorist attack on Jimbaran Bay in 2005.
She continued, “This region has been an area of terrorism activity for some time… and we know that we have worked very closely with the Indonesia authorities to arrest, detain, prosecute and jail a number of people who have taken part in terrorist activities in the past. So we treat terrorism and our counter-terrorism activities as our highest national security priority.
“We are taking steps to ensure that our intelligence agencies, our law enforcement agencies are well-resourced and have the funding and personnel they require in order to keep Australians safe both in Australia and overseas.”
If you are in, or are planning to go to Indonesia the SmartTraveller website advises you to “exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali, at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack.” Read more on that here.
On average Indonesia welcomes 1.013 million short-term Australian visitors to its shores each year, and it is expected that the country could soon overtake New Zealand as Australia’s favoured holiday destination.
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