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NZ Govt appalled at Jakarta bomb blast

NZ Govt appalled at Jakarta bomb blast

Prime Minister Helen Clark said this evening that the New Zealand Government was appalled by the apparent car bomb which exploded in front of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Helen Clark said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had advised that there was no evidence that New Zealanders had been caught up in the blast, which early and unconfirmed accounts suggest may have killed at least six people.

“I have spoken this evening with Australian Prime Minister John Howard to convey New Zealand’s deep concern at the attack,” Helen Clark said.

“At this point locally employed security guards at the Australian embassy, and passers-by, are believed to be among the casualties, and other locally employed staff are unaccounted for.

“The New Zealand embassy is about one kilometre from the Australian embassy. Staff at the New Zealand embassy heard the explosion and it rattled their building’s windows,” Helen Clark said.

“All New Zealand embassy staff are safe, and they are tonight endeavouring to contact the 502 New Zealanders registered with the embassy as being in Jakarta, to establish that they are safe.

“The government will continue to monitor the situation in Jakarta closely.

“Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advice has for some time been very cautionary. It notes the high level of risk to western interests, and carries a clear statement that terrorist groups are active in Indonesia and bombings could occur at any time.

“Jakarta is specifically mentioned as having been the target of bombings in recent years. New Zealanders are urged to observe a high level of security awareness in public places in Indonesia.

“This advice is subject to review as information comes to hand.

“Our thoughts tonight are first and foremost with those who have been caught up in this tragedy, their families and friends, and with the people of Australia and Indonesia.

“The New Zealand Government condemns all acts of terrorism and will continue to work with the international community to counter such deliberate and cold-blooded attacks,” Helen Clark said.

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