| A Balinese girl prays in Kuta. (AFP)
Bali, Oct. 11 (Reuters): Bali island is safe even if militants were planning more attacks in Indonesia and had built two bombs, a police general said today, the eve of the first anniversary of nightclub attacks that killed 202 people.
Bali police chief I Made Mangku Pastika, who led the investigation into the blasts on the holiday island, said security was very tight as survivors and families of victims from around the world gathered to honour the dead from 20 countries.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard flew in for commemorative services scheduled for tomorrow, saying he hoped they would provide some comfort to the hundreds of Australians who are here. Australia lost 88 citizens in the attacks.
Many families have already made the pilgrimage to Bali’s Kuta Beach strip, where Muslim militants blew up two nightclubs crowded with foreign tourists one year ago in an attack that put the spotlight on Indonesia’s radical Islamic fringe.
Fathers, mothers, siblings and friends have placed photos of their loved ones or scribbled messages on a board stretching across a fence where the popular Sari Club once stood. Most have sobbed and held each other, even embracing strangers.
Australian June Corteen, who lost her twin daughters Jane and Jenny, 39, said commemorating the tragedy in Bali was vital. “I think it’s terribly important for me and my family so we can move on. It’s going to be very emotional, I think there will be lots of tears shed, and lots of hugs,” Corteen said.
Relatives of 23 Britons who died were scheduled to hold a church service ahead of the main commemoration being organised by Australia tomorrow.
Pastika said militants — whom he did not identify — still had significant amounts of explosives and had built two bombs.
“The two bombs are not in Bali. In Indonesia, but not in Bali. They are still the same type, but their way of hiding them is smarter. These bombs do not contain much metal. So, our metal detectors are not very useful for them,” he said.