Jakarta blasts near United Nations offices in Indonesia kill at least six

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Six explosions were heard in the centre of the Indonesian capital and casualties were seen lying on the ground, witnesses say. One blast was in a Starbucks cafe and security forces were later seen entering the building. “This is a bomb,” Anton Charliyan national police spokesman told.

“For now the gunfire has stopped but they are still on the run, we are afraid there will be more gunshots,” he said. Mr Charliyan said three policemen and three civilians had been killed. He said police did not know who was responsible, but that “we have previously received a threat from Islamic State that Indonesia will be the spotlight”.

Police warned people to stay away, saying police feared there could be more blasts. Officers at the scene told reporters to “get back” because there “is a sniper” on the roof of a building. “The Starbucks cafe windows are blown out. I see three dead people on the road,” a Reuters photographer who was on the scene said.

“There has been a lull in the shooting but someone is on the roof of the building and police are aiming their guns at him.” A police post on a main thoroughfare was damaged after six blasts were heard.

“It’s less than one-and-a-half kilometres to the palace, it’s basically where the centre of government is,” he said. “Five hundred metres away is the central bank building, you have multiple government buildings, major major centre of government area.”

Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson, tweeted: “Media is reporting explosions and gun fire in the area of the Sarinah Mall on Jl Thamrin in Central Jakarta.” “All Australians should stay clear of these areas, limit their movements and follow the instructions of local authorities,” he wrote.

United Nations regional representative Jeremy Douglas, speaking to the DB from the UN office in Jakarta, said the building was in lockdown. He said he had been in a car when the first blast went off.

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“We got out of the car and we heard a second bomb. Then we heard a third, a fourth, a fifth, a sixth and then gunfire in the street. A lot of gunfire,” he said. “They’ve asked us to avoid the windows.” Some other buildings in the area were also evacuated.

She said the blasts had happened in one of the main city centre areas, about 50 metres from the UN building, near the main roundabout and close to the DB offices. “There was gunfire when I arrived,” Hawley said. “A short time ago about 12 police shielded themselves behind a car and as the car moved along they moved along behind it so it does suggest there’s still a threat,” she said.

Hawley said warnings had been issued by Indonesian security authorities late last year about the danger of attacks. “There had been warnings there could be some trouble in Indonesia over the Christmas and new year period but that didn’t happen,” she said.

Asmaa Mubita is a Kenyan journalist of international repute with over fifteen years of experience in broadcast journalism. Asmaa Mubita began his journalism career at the Kenyan state broadcaster (KBC) and later worked at the KTN owned by the Standard Group and Citizen Television, the flagship brand of Royal Media Services. These exploits together with his reporting experience with the Voice of America, CNN and BBC have been rewarded with local and global recognition.