Strong quake sparks panic in Indonesia

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JAKARTA: A strong quake rattled Indonesia yesterday, sparking panic in the capital Jakarta.

Office workers rushed outside as buildings began swaying, while riders were thrown off motorbikes by the force of the 6.0-magnitude rumble.

Footage broadcast on Indonesian television showed trucks swaying violently at a port in Banten province in Java. Pictures on social media showed huge cracks splitting roads and minor damage to vehicles and buildings.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties.

"I was sitting when the building suddenly started shaking," said Jakarta department store worker Suji, 35, who goes by one name. "I ran outside the building. It was quite strong, and I was afraid."

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck at a depth of 43km. There was no warning of any tsunami.

The epicentre was off the coast, about 130km south-west of Jakarta, a city of more than 10 million people.

"The epicentre is in an area prone to quakes. More aftershocks are likely," Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency chief Dwikorita Karnawati said.

"I am calling on people to be prepared, especially if you are in buildings with a weak structure," she added.

The tremor came as US Defence Secretary James Mattis was in Jakarta for a visit.

At least three people were killed following a 6.5-magnitude earthquake outside the town of Cipatujah in Java last month. - AFP