IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Simulated attack alarms residents

Brunei simulated a chemical attack, an embassy bombing and a mock hotel kidnapping in the capital Wednesday in a move that alarmed residents who thought it was a real attack.
/ Source: Reuters

Brunei simulated a chemical attack, an embassy bombing and a mock hotel kidnapping in the capital Wednesday in a move that alarmed residents who thought it was a real attack.

Police staged the exercise to test counter-terrorism readiness following last month's Indonesian hotel bombings.

The exercise, which involved live explosives to simulate a chemical attack at a shopping mall in the capital's main business district, caused some bystanders to make emergency calls thinking the attacks were real.

A small explosive was also detonated in front of the American embassy to simulate a bombing attack, while a hostage-taking drama was staged at the Sheraton Utama hotel, where the mock terrorists demanded $10 million in ransom.

"Brunei is aware of the incidents in our neighboring countries in recent times, and we want to be prepared and be in the right frame of mind to counter such threats," Pehin Hasrin, the country's deputy chief of police, told reporters on Thursday.

Hasrin said there was no specific threats against Brunei and the authorities were in close communication with police in neighboring countries.

More than 1,000 police, elements of the army and other related agencies took part in the exercise that ended early on Thursday.

"We heard a loud noise, like an explosion. Everyone was trying to see what had happened," a motorist said after hearing a loud explosion that was followed by billowing smoke.

The police said the public had been given notice that a counter-terrorism exercise involving government agencies including Hazardous Materials teams would be held before the start of the fasting month this weekend.