Joined last Sunday by other Commonwealth countries including Canada, New Zealand and Britain, the island nation posted information warning of possible attacks in the coastal islands off the regional area of Sabah, and advised travellers to show caution when considering their journeys.
Both Indonesia and in particular Malaysia have been on high alert since a bomb and shooting attack on central Jakarta in January killed eight people, including four of the extremists involved in the militant action. Islamic State claimed responsibility immediately for the multiple acts of terror across the city's central business district and ambassadorial enclaves. For quite some time, regional leaders have stated their concerns with respect to a rise in popularity and activity of the militant group and its subsidiaries across the two Muslim nations.
The smarttraveller.gov.au website, providing travel tips for Australians, and maintained by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), has urged caution for some time when travelling to Indonesia, and in an update put out yesterday, said:
Recent indications suggest that terrorists may be in the advanced stages of preparing attacks in Indonesia.
Australians have been summarily targeted in Indonesia, with the Bali bombings in 2000, the Australian Embassy in Jakarta bombed in 2004, and Australians injured and killed in the multiple hotel bombings in the same city in 2008. Whilst DFAT did not comment directly on the advice released, and the overall travel advisory has not changed (it remains at the second lowest level, exercise a high degree of caution), the Safety and Security section of the advisory showed official concern for the growing degree of militancy in the region.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the POLRI, (the Indonesian National Police), Pak Agus Rianto, said there had been no firm indications of a forthcoming attack in his country.
"We're working continuously with relevant institutions and with the public to maintain security" he said.
This was evident on Wednesday in central Java, when the POLRI station in Pemalang was overrun by ‘terrorists' who were disguised as regular Indonesian citizens in need of police assistance. They were in reality actors, part of a training exercise for police and special forces in the area to stay alert and aware of tactics used by extremists.
The advisory can be found here for any Australians looking to travel to Indonesia: