Indonesian President Joko Widodo says military crackdown will not solve country’s political problems

Indonesian leader says locked gates contributed to deaths

Locked gates are seen closing off Bali. Indonesia’s president says the military’s crackdown on violence since a suicide bombing in Bali that killed more than 200 people for three days will not solve the country’s political problems.

AFP

Jakarta, Indonesia – Indonesia has been gripped by crisis since a suicide bombing last weekend that killed more than 200 people and wounded more than 200 more in Bali.

The bloodshed followed weeks of political violence over a planned constitutional referendum on the country’s divisive presidential system.

In Bali, a policeman was killed in the city after being attacked and in the regency of Banyuning, gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying university students.

The bloodshed occurred after two suicide bombers armed with machine guns and explosives blew themselves up in a crowded shopping area of the popular Bali nightlife district of Seminyak.

The first suicide bomber blew himself up while he was in the vicinity of the area’s landmark Hindu temple.

A second bomber blew himself up in the crowd a few hundred metres away before his fellow suicide bomber carried out a third suicide blast under a sign reading “I like killing”.

The death toll is believed to be higher still.

The military and police have launched a major assault on the Bali central district of Semarapura where police have been fighting for control over the city’s tourist district.

Indonesia military says more than 2,500 people who have left Bali have gone to other cities in the country.

“This was a deliberate act by one person. He planned for an operation, that’s why he chose this place,” President Joko Widodo said as he addressed the nation from the presidential palace.

Bali has become a central battleground in the struggle to control the nation.

Ahead of Widodo’s address, a large crowd gathered in the presidential palace courtyard.

Some held national flags while others held banners shouting anti-military messages, including: “This is not a fight for the president, this is a fight for the people.�

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