Supporters of Executed Bali Bombers Clash with Police in Indonesia
By Nancy-Amelia Collins
09 November 2008
Hundreds of Islamic militants clashed briefly with police as the bodies of the three men executed early Sunday morning for the 2002 terrorist bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali were buried in their hometowns in Central and West Java. VOA'S Nancy-Amelia Collins has more from Jakarta.
Thousands gathered for the burials Sunday of Amrozi Nurhasyim and his brother Ali Ghufron in Central Java and Imam Samudra's funeral in West Java.
Several hundred Islamic militants chanting ""Allahu Akbar" or God is great clashed briefly with police at the central Java funeral as the authorities tried to prevent the militants from getting to close to the bodies.
Foreign journalists covering the funerals were verbally abused and called "infidels" by the militants, who numbered in the hundreds, but many people attending the funerals appeared to be curious bystanders, witnesses reported.
The three men were executed by firing squad early Sunday for planning and carrying out Indonesia's worst terrorist attacks six years ago on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists, including 88 Australians.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the lives of the families of the victims had been shattered.
"They're in our thoughts and our prayers the 200 Australian and Indonesian families who were shattered by the Bali bombings six years ago. Their lives remain shattered. They've been changed fundamentally by that murder," Rudd said. "So it's their lives that we think about today."
The three men, all members of the al Qaeda-linked regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah never expressed any remorse for the terrorist attacks accept to say they regretted Muslims were also killed in the bombings.
The alleged spiritual leader of JI, Abu Bakar Bahsir, also attended the funeral of brother's Amrozi and Ali Guhfron.
The Bali bombers, as they are known in Indonesia, repeatedly said they wanted to die as "martyrs" and vowed their supporters would launch revenge attacks after their deaths.
The Indonesian authorities remain on high alert following the executions and have placed extra security around foreign embassies, malls, and Western institutions.
Indonesia, a secular democratic state, has the world's largest population of Muslims. Few support the bomber's ideology and most agree with the execution, with many complaining it should have been carried out sooner.
Ken Conboy, a terrorism expert and author, who has written about Jemaah Islamiyah, believes there is the possibility
of revenge attacks, but thinks the threat remains small.
"There is a possibility of attacks - there's not that many of the radicals out there that probably would turn violent but it doesn't take that many of them to stage an attack," Conboy said. "So I've been urging clients to remain vigilant at church services today, expect some demonstrations, probably in Jakarta early in the week and maybe after Friday prayers, But usually attention spans over here last about a week or two, so if they can sort of go through the next couple of weeks and nothing happens I think they'll be able to breathe a lot easier."
Indonesia has arrested and jailed hundreds of Islamic militants over the last few years effectively decimating the JI terrorist group, but loose pockets of radicals remain.
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