The cowardly terrorist attack on a police post and Starbucks on the morning of Thursday January 14, 2016 in Central Jakarta has resulted in unprecedented outpouring of public defiance and solidarity by the Indonesian people. The hastag #KamiTidakTikut (we are not afraid) was trending in social media within by the end of the day and a “We Are Not Afraid” vigil was held by hundreds of people on the site the next day.
Fortunately, this attack appears amateurish and ineffective compared to the devastating attacks in Paris, Mumbai, London, Madrid, and Ankara and the most recent attack and hostage taking in the hotel in Burkina Faso. In fact, so much so that many social media postings by Indonesians the next day made fun of the bumbling attack and hailed the satay seller who during the shoot-out was caught on camera calmly continuing to sell his sizzling sticks of chicken to the watching crowds.
The attackers were armed only with home-made pistols and bombs and arrived on motorcycles. There were only 7 fatalities after three hours of shootouts with the police and military authorities. Of these – five were the terrorists themselves. Three were shot by police, two killed themselves with their own bombs.
Of the two innocent victims, one was a Canadian, one was an Indonesian – and some 26 other people were injured. All are being treated at various modern hospitals in the Jakarta area with the government paying all medical expenses.
Authorities speculate that the attackers were a handful of “IS wannabees” eager to make their mark in the worldwide trend of attacks by militants claiming allegiance to the so-called Islamic State. Sadly, the list of countries and destinations throughout the world attacked under the name of this sinister organization is a long one, and is likely to grow longer. Fortunately, this time Indonesia escaped a serious attack. Within 24 hours all business and tourism activities had returned to normal in the city and throughout the country.