Two senior Banyuwangi lawmakers make bomb jokes at airport, claim they didn’t know it was against the law

Banyuwangi Airport
Banyuwangi Airport

Nobody should ever have to be told that making bomb jokes on an airplane or in an airport is a terrible, terrible idea, but especially not the week after Indonesia suffered multiple deadly terrorist bomb attacks. And yet, just yesterday, two Indonesian legislators (both leaders of their regional parties no less) had to be secured at the airport in Banyuwangi, East Java, for allegedly making some explosively inappropriate jokes.

The two lawmakers from Banyuwangi’s Regional Representative Council (DPRD) were identified by police as Basuki Rahmad, the head of the regional executive board (DPD) for the Hanura Party and Nouval Baderi, head of the DPD for Gerindra.

The incident occurred at around 12:45pm when Basuki and Nouval were going through security on their way to board a Garuda Indonesia flight to Jakarta for a technical seminar along with other members of the Banyuwangi DPRD.

According to police, Basuki passed through the security screening and then approached another traveling DPRD member, Marifatul Kamila.

“During the examination, Basuki said there was an explosive in [Marifatul’s] luggage. When asked about this by a security officer, the council member still said there was a bomb. He was reprimanded by the officer and got angry,” said Rogojampi Police Chief Suharyono yesterday as quoted by Detik.

The officers at the security screening then asked Garuda security officers to hold Basuki in the waiting room for further investigation. But by then, he had already managed to get onto the bus waiting to shuttle passengers to the airplane.

According to Surharyono, the airline’s security officer asked him to get off the bus and go back to the waiting room, but Basuki refused and entered the airplane anyways. That’s when Nouval Baderi entered the airplane and, for some reason we cannot possibly comprehend, told the flight attendant that his bag contained a bomb. (Perhaps he thought the two bomb jokes would cancel each other out?)

Whatever Nouval’s intention, it did not make the situation better and both men were removed from the flight by security.

After being questioned by officers for about three hours, the two legislators were allowed to leave. They gave statements to the media today in which they both apologized but also claimed to be ignorant about the rules against making bomb jokes at the airport.

Despite the apology, the Banyuwangi police said the two legislators could still potentially face up to one year in jail for making bomb threats, but police said they would soon hand the case over to the Civil Servant Investigator (PPNS) of Surabaya as they have jurisdiction in the case.

The two lawmakers are not even the first people to make bomb jokes at an airport following last week’s suicide bombings. Just a day after the Surabaya police station was attacked, a 71-year-old man boarding a Jakarta-bound Lion Air flight made a bomb joke and claimed that he was a terrorist, causing the flight’s delay and his detainment by security.

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