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KUTA - A Mitsubishi minibus packed with plastic explosives snaked its way through Kuta's tourist strip at 11p, on Saturday on a terror mission which has now claimed a confirmed 30 Australian lives. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that the L-300 minibus, loaded with a mix of C-4 and other explosives, has emerged as the focus of the joint investigation by the Australian Federal Police, the FBI and the Indonesian authorities.
The revelation comes amid unconfirmed reports that Indonesian police have arrested a former air force officer who confessed to making the bomb that killed more than 180 people. It is understood the officer has not yet revealed which organisation ordered him to build the bomb. Indonesian police said last night they were about to formally arrest four people as suspects in the bombing, but it was unclear if the officer was among them.
The four, held in a police station in Denpasar, were said to be undergoing "intensive questioning". Police spokesman Brigadier-General Saleh Saaf said one of the four was in the Kuta area when the bomb exploded and was linked to a man whose ID card was found at the scene. The other person was related to the owner of the ID card, Brig-Gen Saaf said.
The explosives inside the minibus caused such a massive explosion that its axle was found 30m from the detonation site. The minibus, which may have been fitted out as a taxi, was undetectable among the vehicles along Kuta's congested main tourist drag, Legian St. While the vehicle crept through the traffic, a man was walking slowly towards Paddy's iscotheque ? just across the road from the Sari Club ? carrying a white plastic bag which is believed to have contained a detonating device.
About 11.05pm local time, the guards at Paddy's Discotheque saw the man with the bag. About 25m away, the minibus with its deadly load rolled to a stop and parked illegally outside the Sari Club. It caused immediate chaos, blocking the one-way street and creating an instant traffic jam. The man with the plastic bag flung it into the discotheque before security guards could stop him and ran, according to local press reports.
In front of the Sari Club, a person described by a passing driver as a woman, leapt from the driver's seat of the minibus and ran to a waiting kijang, an ndonesian-brand four-wheel drive. The Java-registered kijang then accelerated away, leaving the traffic jam building in its wake. A security guard at one of the clubs is understood to have run down the street to see where the bus's driver had gone, Balinese traders in the area said.
A few seconds later the device in the plastic bag thrown into Paddy's Discotheque detonated, causing carnage in the club and on the street. Some reports said Sari Club patrons rushed out to the street in a panic ? and into the next killing zone, beside the minibus packed with explosives. Somewhere up the road, one of the terrorists is believed to have activated a radio-controlled device which sent a signal to the bomb bus.
The signal triggered the massive bomb obliterating the Sari Club and two other buildings, killing and maiming hundreds. The blast hurled a tyre from the mini bus containing traces of explosives 100m up the street. The axel of the bus was found on the roof of a building 30m away. It too has traces of RDX, according to Bali police chief Brigadier General Budi Setyawan.
According to The Australian newspaper today, forensic tests have shown the explosive device in the bus may have contained four ingredients. As well as C-4, the other substances detected are RDX, AMX and nitrate. The additional ingredients add to a belief of Australian intelligence chiefs that the explosive came from the same source as that intended to blow up the US consulate in Singapore.
Investigators intend to cross-check residue samples from the Bali blast to see whether it is the same explosive used in the attack on the USS Cole this month and a foiled bombing of the US consulate in Singapore. In other developments yesterday, the Federal Government offered a $2 million reward for information leading to the prosecution of those responsible for the Bali bombings.
And Indonesia has agreed to allow Australia to jointly investigate the bombings following a meeting in Jakarta yesterday with Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said: "We have agreed that Australia and Indonesia will establish a join investigation and intelligence team to work through the issues flowing from the tragedy in Bali."



Posted in Terrorism @ 23 October 2002 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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