Leaders to pay tribute to Bali victims
Fri, 12 Oct 2012 9:14a.m.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is scheduled to attend today's event remembering the Oct. 12, 2002, attacks which blasted two Bali nightclubs.
The bombs killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and three New Zealanders. The attack was carried out by Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked group.
Gillard said Wednesday she is planning to attend the service.
"Families will be travelling there, it will be a day in which we will pay our respects, and remember what that moment was like for Australians," Gillard told reporters in Australia's capital, Canberra.
A ceremony will be held Friday at a park in Jimbaran followed by a ground-zero memorial in Kuta.
New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully, who has been travelling through Indonesia and Malaysia for bilateral talks, will attend.
“While the ceremony will be substantially focused on the large Australian loss of life, the New Zealand Government is keen to ensure that New Zealanders affected by the attack are able to be represented,” read a statement from Mr McCully's office.
Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, US Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel and diplomats from elsewhere are expected to attend. Hundreds of survivors of the bombings and victims' family members will also gather.
"It is better not to underestimate. ... It is better to carry out an excessive security arrangement rather than being defeated," said Bali police Chief Maj. Gen. Budi Gunawan. "At stake is the image of Indonesia's police."
Meanwhile, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika, the former police chief who led the investigations following the 2002 bombings, apologized to the victims' families Wednesday and called for them to try to forgive.
"Indeed, it is not easy to forget such a deadly incident, but the time has come for us to have to forgive the terror actions," Pastika told a news conference. "It's the commemoration to forgive and to start a new life."
After a massive crackdown on Muslim extremists, terrorist attacks aimed at foreigners in Indonesia have been largely replaced in recent years by smaller, less deadly strikes targeting the government.
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