A suspicious package marked “#ANTRAC” was received Monday at the French Embassy in Jakarta, resulting in the precautionary quarantine of three staff members exposed to the letters.
Intelligence Chief Lieutenant General Marciano Norman later said no harmful material was found in the envelope and that the workers had been released as soon as the lab results came in. “It has been confirmed that it’s not anthrax. It was just a threat,” Marciano said. “It was just the writing, but we will investigate it further.”
Police sent the package to the Chemical, Biology, and Radioactive (CBR) section of Gegana, the Indonesian National Police Unit specializing in counterterrorism, for full investigation. The Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) is reportedly assisting in the matter as well.
Anthrax is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Most forms of the disease are lethal, and it affects both humans and other animals. Anthrax-laced powder inside letters poses the threat of aerosolization upon opening, causing illness or death from inhalational anthrax. This threat was actualized in the United States in September 2001 when letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two U.S. Senators, killing five people and infecting 17 others.