Indonesia police: Stadium exit gates too small for escape
Jakarta: The police have said they have had to close exits at the Gelora Bungkos stadium in Jakarta after a suicide bomber blew himself up on Sunday night.
The incident occurred as the Indonesian capital staged its 20th match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), a league that features players from countries including Saudi Arabia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, South Korea and UAE.
The stadium holds 12,000 spectators and the suicide bomber had just left the building and was about to get to the security checkpoint when he detonated his explosives, said the police.
Three policemen were killed as the blast tore through the stadium, but officials said none of the blast victims were directly hurt.
“The suicide bomber detonated himself near the door leading to the tunnel where he was about to get to,” said police spokesman Rikwanto.
“He was a very short man, with a short beard,” he said. “There was no reason for him to want anyone to die.”
The security authorities said the bomber, suspected to be a local religious extremist, was not known to them.
Indonesia has been the scene of several bombings since September 2014, when two bombs destroyed three churches, two cinemas and a cafe.
All six people killed in the blasts were suicide bombers.
In May last year police arrested a man suspected of being behind a series of bombings across the country, including those that left 37 dead in churches.
In that case, a judge convicted Mohammed Hanafi on terror charges, handing him a life sentence.
The most recent terrorism attacks occurred on Monday when three people were shot dead in Jakarta. Two days earlier, four people were killed in Jatinegara.
In April, authorities said two more people were shot dead by extremists in the island of Bali.
Last month a group that had been fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan blew up a police academy in Kabul.
The group said in a statement it was working with the Taliban to build a “caliphate,” or Islamic state, in the region that stretches from Pakistan to North Africa.
In Indonesia, Muslims account for about 82 percent of the 1.9 billion people, mainly in the archipelago off the coast of southeast Asia.
In 2013, there were 22 terror attacks in the country, with 10 of them targeting