Indonesian leader says locked gates contributed to deaths at Jakarta shopping mall in April 2019
JAKARTA (AFP) – The head of Indonesia’s governing party warned Wednesday that the crisis over a shopping mall’s locked gates contributed to the death toll in the April 2019 terror attack on the mall that killed more than two dozen people.
“There can be no debate over the locked gates,” Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo told a news conference in the capital.
“This was a tragic incident and the investigation has shown that it was the result of insufficient police activity and inadequate security measures at the time of the incident,” he added.
More than two dozen people, aged between 13 and 66, were killed in the attacks that occurred during the Easter weekend in 2017.
Widodo said the Jakarta governor, the head of the ruling Jokowi Party (PDK) – which governs since 1998 – was also the victim of the assault.
“I was not there and I did not witness the incident, but the head of the government party… could do nothing so we did not say anything,” he said.
The attack was the deadliest attack on Indonesia since its 1998 Bali bombing in which more than 200 people died.
Police said the mall gates at the time were locked and that assailants had opened them with heavy duty tools.
– Attack on mall –
A former head of police told AFP he had no evidence of any security lapse, but said the attack was the work of local crime syndicates.
“It is clear that the attack was the work of local crime syndicates, there was no breach of security by the state,” retired police chief Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told reporters after Widodo’s news conference.
“We do not know what caused this incident,” he said.
The attack on the mall that was crowded with shoppers and families was one of the largest in the country, resulting in fears the terror group Islamic State (IS) had arrived in Indonesia and was planning further attacks.
IS has not yet claimed the attack on the crowded mall at Breman, which killed 55 people, although the group has threatened to carry out more massacres like the one on the shopping mall in the capital.
A report released on Wednesday by Indonesia’s national anti-terror agency (BIN