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Indonesian suicide bomber wounds six, dozens arrested in Sumatra

Jack Burton

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Indonesian suicide bomber wounds six, dozens arrested in Sumatra | The Thaiger
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Dozens of suspected militants have been rounded up after a suicide bomber killed himself and wounded six others in a police station attack in Indonesia. Around 45 suspects have been arrested since Wednesday’s bombing in Medan, Sumatra, while two bomb-makers were shot dead during a raid.

A National Police spokesman told reporters in Jakarta that the pair resisted arrest and tried to attack police with sharp weapons and an air gun. They had built the low-intensity bomb that the 24 year old attacker strapped to his body.

Authorities earlier thought the bomber was a “lone wolf” after the blast that wounded four police officers and two civilians.

Meanwhile, state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II tightened security in 19 airports in the wake of similar incidents on November 13.

Indonesia is the the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation, and has long struggled with Islamist militancy. Police stations remain frequent targets for militant attacks.

About 20 other suspects arrested since the bombing, including the bomber’s wife and their religious mentor who both played, what police describe as, “direct roles” in the attack and had links to Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, an acknowledged Islamist terrorist organisation.

JAD is a local extremist group aligned with ISIS which has made previous attacks, including suicide bombings at several churches last year that killed a dozen parishioners.

“The wife together with her husband (the bomber) were known members of JAD. They also attended military camp training, and learned how to buy guns and sharp weapons,” according to the police spokesman.

Some residents in Medan protested plans to bury the bomber’s body there.

Last month, Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered beefed-up security after two JAD-linked militants stabbed his chief security minister.

Indonesia, a nation of more than 260 million, has significant numbers of religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus and Buddhists, who have been targeted by radical Islamist groups amid concerns about rising intolerance.

SOURCE: The ASEAN Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Indonesia

UPDATE: At least 34 dead and 600 injured after Indonesia earthquake

Caitlin Ashworth

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UPDATE: At least 34 dead and 600 injured after Indonesia earthquake | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Soumyajit Pattnaik via Twitter

UPDATE: At least 34 people were killed after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shook Indonesia’s Sulawesi island just after midnight today. As of this evening, reports say more than 600 people were injured during the earthquake which caused buildings to collapse and residents to flee their homes in the dark.

Original story below…

Indonesian island Sulawesi was shook by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shortly after midnight today, toppling over buildings and injuring hundreds. Reports are continuously being updated as rescuers search through rubble. As of early this afternoon, at least 10 people were killed.

Thousands evacuated their homes in West Sulawesi. The earthquake impacted the coastal city Majene where at least 3 people died and neighbouring Mamuju where at least 7 people died. Several buildings, including hotels, were severely damaged and many homes were flattened. A hospital was partially damaged and reports say more than a dozen patients and staff were trapped under the rubble. Others are trapped in rubble after their homes collapsed. A rescuer says “We are racing against time to rescue them.”

Videos have been released of those crying for help. A father crying, calling out for help to save his children under their home’s wreckage. In another, a girl’s voice cried out from a collapsed home, saying “please help me, it hurts.” The video was released by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. Rescuers say they need an excavator to say the girl and other people who are trapped under the collapsed buildings.

The area was first hit by a 5.9 magnitude undersea quake on Thursday. It damaged several buildings, but no deaths were reported.

Since the most recent earthquake is inland, the district’s disaster agency chief says it does not have the potential to cause a tsunami, but people in coastal areas ran to higher ground just to be safe.

The vast archipelago is located on the “Ring of Fire” of volcanoes and fault lines, prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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Indonesia

Indonesia rolls out Covid-19 vaccinations, president gets first dose

Caitlin Ashworth

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Indonesia rolls out Covid-19 vaccinations, president gets first dose | The Thaiger
PHOTO: President Joko Widodo via Facebook

Indonesia is rolling out its mass Covid-19 vaccination campaign with President Joko Widodo as the first in the country to get jabbed with China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine.

Indonesia approved the vaccine for emergency use earlier this week. It’s the first large-scale use of the Sinovac vaccine outside of China. Thailand has also made an agreement to purchase the 2 million doses of China’s Sinovac BioTech shots. The first batch of 200,000 doses is expected to arrive in Thailand next month.

The Thai company Siam Bioscience is producing AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, which was developed in partnership with Oxford University. That vaccine is set to be available to the Thai public in May.

After Indonesia’s president was vaccinated, top military, police and medical officials in the country were injected with the vaccine. The secretary of the Indonesian Ulema Council were also vaccinated. The council recently agreed that the vaccine is halal, permissible for Muslims.

Mass vaccination in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populated country with 181.5 million people, will be rolled out over the next few months. Vaccines will be free for all Indonesian citizens. Health care workers, civil servants and those at risk of infection are first priority.

To vaccinate two-thirds of the population with the 2-shot vaccine, the country’s health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin says around 427 million doses are needed.

“This vaccine is given to achieve herd immunity. All 70% of the world’s people must be vaccinated for that to be achieved. The participation of all Indonesians will greatly determine the success of this program.”

SOURCE: Associated Press

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Black box data located from the crashed Boeing 737 in Jakarta

The Thaiger

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Black box data located from the crashed Boeing 737 in Jakarta | The Thaiger

The black boxes from a passenger plane which crashed in the sea soon after take-off from Jakarta on Saturday have been located. The black box recorders record conversations in the cockpit as well as an array of data from the plane’s control systems. Indonesian ships has been searching the crash site with navy divers hoping to retrieve the two flight recorders over the next 24 hours.

The Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 jet was carrying 62 people when it vanished from radar on its journey to Borneo.

(The crash of the Boeing 737-500 model is likely unrelated to the current controversies surrounding the later Boeing 737 Max model)

Soerjanto Tjahjono, head of Indonesia’s transport safety, announced late yesterday that they’d located the position of the two black boxes.

“Divers will start looking for them now and hopefully it won’t be long before we get them.”

Family members gathered at the victim identification centre in Jakarta and at a crisis centre in Pontianak, the scheduled destination for the plane, waiting for news of their family and friends.

The seas north of the Jakarta airport are relatively shallow and the weather has improved since the rescue operations started, making recovery easier. Rescue supervisors have admitted it had become a recovery mission, not a search and rescue.

Police are asking families of the victims to provide DNA samples and dental records to assist with the identification process of remains recovered already from the crash site.

The Sriwijaya Air passenger took off from Jakarta airport just after 2.30 in the afternoon on Saturday.

When passing through 11,000 feet the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers. It was flying to Pontianak, in West Kalimantan province in the west of the island of Borneo. The flight should have taken 90 minutes. There was no distress signal sent by the flight crew. The plane dropped 10,000 feet in less than a minute indicating a catastrophic failure of the flight systems or break up of the plane.

The plane was carrying 50 passengers, including 7 children and 3 babies, plus 12 crew. Everyone on board was Indonesian.

SOURCE: Reuters | CNN

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