Police hunt Bali bomb accomplices as task of naming dead begins

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The Independent Online

Photographs of the heads of the three men, which were severed in the blast, are being widely circulated in the Indonesian media, and police say they are searching for three accomplices still at large. They refused to confirm reports yesterday that they already had two men in custody.

The bombs, which exploded at three crowded restaurants on the island on Saturday night, killed up to 29 people. More than 100 tourists and Balinese were wounded.

The cleansing ceremony was held in a dusty parking lot behind the Menega Café, an open-air seafood joint in Jimbaran Beach. Government officials and dignitaries joined residents, who sat cross-legged on the ground as gamelan music and incense filled the air.

Made Astika, head of the local community policing unit, said: "This place has been defiled so we are making it clean again." The ceremony would also release the souls of people who died at the site, he said.

The first suicide bomber struck at Menega's, scattering diners who fled along the sand towards another fish café, Nyoman, where a second bomb went off a few minutes later. A few miles away in Kuta, Bali's main tourist precinct, a third bomb went off in the Raja steak and noodle restaurant.

The sequence of events evoked memories of the terrorist attacks in Kuta three years ago, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Paddy's Bar, sending patrons running into the street, where a massive car bomb then exploded outside the nearby Sari Club.

Fourteen of the bodies in the morgue at Sanglah Hospital, in Denpasar, have yet to be identified. A list on a white board outside the morgue states their name, nationality, gender and "characteristics". Number Six is an unidentified Indonesian male. His characteristics are described as "body parts ­ Jimbaran".

The first Indonesian victim, a waiter from Raja's, was given a Hindu cremation yesterday. Hundreds of mourners filed through the streets close to the home of Gusti Sedana, 33, banging gongs and chanting as they escorted his body on a float.

At the Menega Café, Indonesian Red Cross workers wearing plastic gloves and surgical masks sifted through the debris lying between the snapped tables and chairs. Among those watching was Alan Willis, from Blackpool, who arrived in Bali with his wife on Saturday, on their first trip to the island. The couple are staying at the five-star Four Seasons resort, a couple of hundred yards from the wrecked seafood cafés.

"I wanted to come down here and eat on Saturday night," said Mr Willis. "But my wife said 'no, let's just stay in the hotel and take it easy'. We were sitting in the beach bar when we heard a massive bang.

"The ground shook. Then the second one went off, even closer, and we saw a big flash of light. It lit up all the people who came streaming out, then we heard screaming, and that point we knew it was bombs. An Australian couple came back to the hotel. They were covered in blood, but it wasn't theirs."

It was another 48 hours before Mr Willis and his wife ventured out of the hotel. "We decided to stay on, because the Balinese need tourists more than ever," he said. "Obviously it's scary, but nowhere's safe now, not even the London Underground."

Indonesian police have enlisted the help of a former member of Jemaah Islamiyah, the extremist group blamed for a series of attacks in south-east Asia. Nasir Abbas, who has testified against former colleagues since turning police informant, arrived in Bali two hours after the blasts.

Thailand has put all of its major resort areas on full alert after the Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, warned that terrorists were "commuting and rotating around in the region". Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia are also on heightened alert.