Mourners in Indonesia Recall 2002 Attack
BALI, Indonesia (AP) _ Relatives of those killed in the 2002 nightclub bombings on the island of Bali wept and prayed Thursday at a simple ceremony marking the fourth anniversary of the terrorist attack.
The attacks by the al-Qaida-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists, and thrust Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, into the spotlight amid Washington’s proclaimed war on terror.
An 8-year-old Indonesian boy who lost his father in the bombings read a poem to about 150 people attending the early morning ceremony on a hill overlooking the island’s famous Jimbaran Bay.
``Four years ago, when I was 4 years old and my brother was 3, I was just a little boy, but my daddy went away,″ said the boy, identified only as Alif. ``Now, no matter where I look for him, I only find grief every single day. I long to see my daddy who went away.″
Indonesian and foreign families of those killed then dropped flowers into a pool.
The dead and injured came from more than 20 countries. Australia lost 88 people.
``We will not allow terrorists to spread disorder and dismay to drive people, faiths and neighbors apart,″ Australian Ambassador Bill Farmer said at the ceremony. ``They will not succeed.″
The hunt for those responsible will continue and authorities will ensure ``they are brought to justice,″ he said.
Three men have been convicted and await execution. Several other suspects remain at large.
Earlier Thursday, Bali residents unfurled a seven-mile-long white sheet from the scene of another set of attacks on the island last year to a memorial near the bombing site. The cloth symbolized peace, organizers said.
The services took place amid tight police security at airports, seaports and beaches.
Indonesia has been hit by a series of attacks since the 2002 bombings. Last year, a triple suicide bombing at Bali restaurants killed 20 people. About 300 suspected militants have been rounded up in terrorism-related security sweeps, and around 200 have been tried and convicted.
Later Thursday, dozens of protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside the local parliament building, demanding the immediate execution of the three convicted terrorists on death row.
``Execution should not be postponed,″ said a banner held up for local lawmakers.
In Sydney, Australia, about 300 people gathered for a memorial service in the beachside suburb of Coogee.
``For the last four years, I’ve had to learn to cope with the reality that the people I love most in the world aren’t coming home from Bali,″ said Ben Borgia, whose mother and 13-year-old sister were killed in the attacks.
``How can this happen to the people that we love? I could not and cannot to this day fathom what happened,″ Borgia said.