INDONESIA: On Wednesday, memorial services were conducted in Australia and on the Indonesian island of Bali as survivors, along with the families and friends of the deceased, gathered to remember the 20th anniversary of the Bali bombing, one of the deadliest militant attacks in history.
On October 12, 2002, a vehicle bomb explosion outside the Sari Club in Bali’s Kuta Beach neighbourhood and a second, nearly simultaneous explosion at the Paddy’s Bar across the street resulted in the deaths of 202 people, including 88 Australians and 38 Indonesians.
In the attacks on the island, which is a well-liked vacation spot, people of roughly 20 different nationalities also perished, mainly tourists from nearby Australia.
There will be a number of activities taking place on the primarily Hindu island, including at a memorial built in the blast zone, including a ceremony with peace prayers and the symbolic release of 20 birds.
The memorial, according to Ni Luh Erniati, whose husband was killed in the attack and who will attend morning prayers with her children, “is for us to remember, to remind everyone there was a terrorist attack there and that we don’t want it to happen again.”
In the nation’s biggest cities, Australians gathered to memorialise the victims. The Dolphins rugby team, which suffered a six-member loss in the attacks, plays its home games at Coogee Beach in Sydney, where Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke during a ceremony.
Survivors are still plagued by recollections of the attack two decades after the explosions, which were attributed to the al-Qaeda-affiliated network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
Additional tributes were being held by the Indonesian police and the Australian consulate general in Bali.
Following the Bali attacks, Indonesia established Special Detachment, or Densus 88, an elite counterterrorism squad with support from Australia and the United States. This action crippled JI and led to the arrest or killing of numerous alleged Islamic militants.
The country with the world’s largest Muslim population also developed deradicalization programmes for convicted militants, which have received both praise and criticism for their effectiveness.
The Indonesian government’s announcement that Bali bomb creator Umar Patek was eligible for parole and might soon be released in August shocked many people who were impacted by the tragedy.