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Jakarta Post

Explosion at Jakarta's Monas: What we know so far

  • Devina Heriyanto and Vela Andapita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 3, 2019   /   12:33 pm
Explosion at Jakarta's Monas: What we know so far A police officer stands on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara after an explosion occurred on the morning of Dec. 3 at National Monument Park in Central Jakarta. (Antara/Nova Wahyudi)

An explosion occurred at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta on Tuesday morning, shocking many as the complex is near the State Palace and government offices.

Early reports from Kompas TV mentioned that two members of the Indonesian Military (TNI) were injured in the explosion and were taken directly to hospital.

National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono confirmed the incident. He said the area was cleared for an investigation shortly afterwards.

The parks within the National Monument area are commonly used for, among other things, recreation, exercise and gatherings by members of the public.

The monument complex itself is surrounded by a number of ministerial office buildings and state institution headquarters, the Army headquarters and the Supreme Court building.

The day before the explosion took place, the area was the site of a gathering of Muslim activists who were commemorating the third anniversary of a Dec. 2, 2016 rally held to demand the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.

Here's what we know so far about the explosion. The article will be updated.

What caused the explosion?

Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Gatot Eddy Pramono in a press briefing confirmed that the explosion took place at about 7:15 a.m. 

The location of the explosion was on the northern side of the monument complex across from the Home Ministry on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara — about 400 meters from President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s office at the State Palace.

“Our team at the crime scene discovered that the explosion was apparently caused by a smoke grenade,” Gatot said.

The grenade was found by two military garrison members, Sgt. Maj. Fajar and Chief Pvt. Gunawan, while they were on their regular morning exercise with other TNI personnel in the area.

The two victims have been taken to Gatot Subroto Army Hospital for treatment.

Jakarta Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Yusri Yunus said separately said that smoke grenades were usually used for exercises by security personnel and that the devices were of low strength, similar to firecrackers.

“Like firecrackers, [smoke grenades] are not dangerous if they [explode] at a far distance, but if [the explosion] occurs when we hold them, the hands will be burned,” he said.

Why was the grenade there?

Authorities are still investigating why the grenade was there.

Teams from the police's Gegana bomb squad, as well as from the Indonesia Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (Inafis) Unit, have been deployed to investigate the site of the explosion.

Gatot opened the possibility that the smoke grenade “could belong” to security personnel who happened to have “left it there” by accident as he asked members of the public not to exaggerate the incident, which he said was “ordinary”.

He said that the public could still conduct regular activities at Monas and told people to keep calm.

Meanwhile, Yusri said that authorities would ask the two victims about the incident as soon as possible after they get emergency treatment for their injuries.

When asked whether the grenade belonged to security personnel, Yusri said: “We still don’t know because the witnesses are also the victims and they are still at the hospital.”

Based on The Jakarta Post’s observation, the police line at the scene of the explosion had been removed as of 10:30 a.m. as authorities had concluded their investigation there. The area has since been opened to the public and traffic on Jl. Merdeka Utara had returned to normal.

The scene of the minor explosion that occurred on Tuesday morning at the National Monument Park in Central Jakarta. Police have confirmed that the device was a smoke grenade, stressing that it was an The scene of the minor explosion that occurred on Tuesday morning at the National Monument Park in Central Jakarta. Police have confirmed that the device was a smoke grenade, stressing that it was an "ordinary" accident. (JP/Vela Andapita)

Has security been heightened following the incident?

Despite the close distance between the area where the blast took place and Jokowi's office, the State Palace has said that there would be no additional security measures for the country's leader as the Presidential Security Detail (Paspampres) would work as usual.   

Paspampres commander Maj. Gen. Maruli Simanjuntak said that members of the security detail had implemented measures that could anticipate such incidences in its daily operations. "We are already strong enough," he said.

Presidential spokesperson Fadjroel Rachman said Jokowi continued with his schedule as normal at the State Palace, holding meetings with ministers and preparing for a presidential lecture slated for 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Jokowi himself heard about the explosion from the media and called for law enforcers to "take stern measures" if someone was found guilty of perpetrating the incident, he added.

Separately, Yusri said the police were still investigating the explosion to determine whether it was linked to terrorism. "We are still looking into that matter," he said. (afr)


Editor's Note: The story has been updated with statements from the State Palace as of 1 p.m. on Tuesday.