Jakarta attacks: Kiwis in Jakarta tell of shock

Twitter/Robert Harianto

Video of the explosion at Starbucks in a downtown Jakarta location.

Jakarta-based New Zealanders have talked of their shock following the Isis attack in the city.


Kiwi Matthew Allan, 45, was in his office about two blocks away.


A wave of bomb and gun attacks rocked central Jakarta on Thursday.

"I'm in the middle of central Jakarta," he said. "We heard the first couple of blasts in the Starbucks or just outside ... it was pretty full on."

The security guards in his building complex and police warned staff to stay inside their building and away from windows.

Allan will remain in his office until it is safe to leave. 

Indonesian workers run as they are evacuated from their office at the Thamrin business district in downtown Jakarta, ...

Indonesian workers run as they are evacuated from their office at the Thamrin business district in downtown Jakarta, January 14, 2016.

"The streets are deserted, when usually it's very busy."

His wife was on her way to pick up his three daughters from the international school they attended, as it was closing because of the blasts. 

The family have been in Jakarta for a year and a half, but are originally from Rangiora, near Christchurch.

He said another Kiwi family of five were also visiting them.

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"They are holed up at my house at the moment. And they were about half an hour away from driving through where it all happened."

His staff outside the office were sending him pictures and videos.


Jakarta-based Kiwi journalist Cameron Bates said the situation was "confusing", as it was unclear how many attacks there had been. 

"The initial attack was outside the Sarinah mall," he said. 

"A friend of mine was overlooking the initial attack which was on a police post outside the Sarinah hotel. There were at least four bodies dying in the streets then.

"And then guys on motorcycles with automatic weapons. There's Starbucks and Sarinah, they're frequented by international tourists."

The attacks were on the main thoroughfare and were strategic, not far from the United Nations building, Bates said.

When he heard about the attacks he picked up his son from his local school, which was closing early because of the blasts.

He believed the explosions were concentrated to the initial Sarinah attack.


Karl Hillhorst, a teacher at a school in Pondok Indah, says the school is in lockdown at the moment, until the the routes home for kids are deemed safe.

"People are pretty worried, there is a lot of photos and rumours circulating at this point and people don't have the facts yet,"

"Friends and family that are going to visit in the next couple weeks are probably just a bit more concerned, and tourists of course are going to be a little bit rattled," said Hillhorst.

Hillhorst, who has been in Jakarta for over 18 months, said he found out about the explosions via text messages from friends. Half an hour after that, the school officially acknowledged the situation that was happening downtown.

"People who were inside the skyscrapers looking down on what happened [sent out] a lot of images ... of bodies and videos of gunshots and explosions and stuff, so that circulated very quickly."


Todd Gibson, who lives in Kemang, South Jakarta, says all is safe where he is based.

Kemang is about 5km away from the blasts.

Gibson has been hearing reports from the centre of the action.

He said there are reports of up to 10 explosions in and around Jakarta, so they seem to be co-ordinated events.

"The first explosions this morning were at the Sarinah mall area. This mall is close to the UN Building and on the main road through the CBD," said Gibson, who has lived in Indonesia for 22 years.

"Not sure if any were bombs, but initial indications are that three were suicide bombers, perhaps with grenades.

"The explosions appeared to be small. Nothing like previous occurrences such as the Australian Embassy and Marriott Hotel Bombings," he said.

Gibson said many impressionable, young Indonesians have been enticed by IS propaganda and travelled to the Middle East to be radicalised.

 - Stuff

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