Security concerns increase following Depok mall bomb blast

Security concerns increase following Depok mall bomb blast
Fear struck a busy shopping mall in the outskirts of Jakarta as a small bomb exploded on Monday evening in a men's toilet. No casualties were reported in the incident. The explosion, which occurred at a children's play area on the second floor of ITC Depok Mall, caused panic among shoppers.

JAKARTA - Workers at malls have expressed concern over the security of their workplaces in the wake of a bomb explosion at the ITC Depok shopping centre on Monday evening.

Aryani, a 23-year-old shop assistant at Thamrin City shopping centre in Central Jakarta, said that although the incident had not harmed anyone, it was worrying.

"I feel that security standards in this mall are quite good, but we never know what will happen," she said.

She added that the mall had many security guards and CCTVs installed near the lifts. "However, they [the security officers] never really inspect what people are carrying when they enter the mall," she said.

Aryani said the mall also had many entrances as it was integrated with an apartment and offices.

"Sometimes beggars can be found in the mall," she said.

Aryani said she hoped the mall management would increase security measures after the bomb explosion in Depok.

Budiman, a 22-year-old employee at a camera store in Ratu Plaza shopping centre in Central Jakarta, shared Aryani's concerns.

"The security guards always check visitors who use the front door, but I doubt they do the same with visitors entering through the basement," he said.

A bomb exploded in a men's bathroom in a children's play area on the second floor of ITC Depok shopping centre on Monday. No casualties were reported in the explosion.

The police have downplayed the explosion, likening it to a popping balloon.

But shopkeeper Deby said that from her shop 30 meters from the bomb scene, the sound was much louder than a popping balloon.

"The sound was like a firecracker. My ears hurt for a while after wards" she said as quoted by wartakota.tribunnews.com.

She said, however, that from the sound, she and other tenants knew that the explosion had done no damage and there was no tremor.

Deby said she and a staff member in the children's play area, Guruh, went straight to the bathroom after the explosion. "I saw a cardboard box with smoke coming out of it in the toilet. Guruh said the sound came from the box," he said.

National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto said the police were still investigating the materials related to the explosion.

"We found wires, a battery, a detonator and a timer that triggered the bomb," he said, adding that the police also found a liquid substance.

"We are now examining footage from eight CCTVs at the mall," he said.

The Depok Police have questioned five witnesses, including a cleaning service staffer who saw the cardboard box used to transport the bomb to the location. The police have not named any suspects behind the explosion.

Terrorism expert Al Chaidar, who is also a former member of the radical Islamic State of Indonesia (NII) group, said he suspected that the bomb was linked to a terrorist group led by Abu Roban.

"The group does not have the capacity to make highly explosive bombs," he said, adding that Roban was also behind the 2011 bombing of a church in Surakarta and a suicide bomb at Poso Police headquarters in 2013.

Al Chaidar said the group usually targeted places with easy access and lax security. "Its main intention is to terrorise people," he said.

He added that he was afraid that the bomb would not be the last. "They will do the same thing again," he said, adding that mall managements should remain alert.

Al Chaidar said the group did not attack only foreigners. "They think most Muslims have different ideology to them," he said.

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