Jakarta – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono views the months of September and October as the danger season for his country. He noted that a massive car bomb attack outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta occurred in September last year. The Bali bombings took place in October 2002. And, of course, who could forget Sept 11, 2001?
"September and October are special months for terrorism," the President said, referring to the symbolic impact of planning attacks during these two months for terrorists.
"We know that the terrorist cells are still active. They are still hiding, recruiting, networking, trying to find new funding sources, and even planning," he said during a discussion at the 6th Asian-European Editors' Forum in Jakarta on Aug 29.
Mr Yudhoyono said he had summoned the Chief Security Minister Mr A S Widodo and the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Syamsir Siregar on Aug 28 and ordered them to take every precaution against a possible terrorist attack.
The police have also been stepping up security checks in public places such as shopping malls, hotels and public buildings.
Mr Yudhoyono added that the authorities are intensifying their efforts to locate two Malaysian bomb-makers who are believed to be involved in a series of bombings in Indonesia in the past three years.
The President assured the forum that his government would continue to make fighting terrorism its top priority.
"We will continue to pursue these terrorist groups wherever they may be hiding. We will continue international cooperation involving the police, intelligence and immigration," he said.
During the forum, Mr Yudhoyono also said that his government would review the traditional practice of reducing the jail terms of prisoners in a national amnesty to celebrate Indonesia's independence.
The recent reduction of the jail terms of Abu Bakar Bashir, the radical Muslim cleric found guilty of conspiracy in the Bali bombings, and 19 others connected to the blasts has outraged the international community.
President Yudhoyono said: "The practice of giving remissions was adopted years ago. I've asked for a review of this."
* Indonesia heightens vigilance against terrorist attacks (The Jakarta Post, Aug 30)
* Jakarta: 'Danger season' is here again (The Straits Times, Aug 30)