Two men who were shot dead in Indonesia’s West Sumatra province after allegedly attacking police with bows and arrows belonged to a militant group affiliated with the so-called Islamic State (IS), authorities said Monday.
The pair was suspected of burning down the main building of a police station in Dharmasraya regency on Sunday, National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian told reporters in Ambon, the capital the eastern Indonesian province of Maluku.
“Based on our current investigation, we confirm that they were involved in a terrorist network, especially the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, which supports ISIS,” Karnavian said, referring to IS by another acronym and JAD, an Indonesian militant group.
There were no casualties from the fire because the offices were closed at the time, police said. Dharmasraya is about 1,160 km (725 miles) northwest of the nation’s capital, Jakarta.
Firefighters called the police after they saw the two suspects near the building as it was engulfed by flames, West Sumatra’s police chief, Fakhrizal, told reporters on Sunday.
But the two suspects, who were dressed in black, shouted “jihad” as they attacked officers with bows and arrows after they were asked to surrender, Fakhrizal said.
Officers were not hit, he said.
“Police fired warning shots into the air. But the two perpetrators kept up the fight, so police shot them dead,” Fakhrizal said. “In the pocket of one of the suspects, we found letters on jihadism, so we were able to confirm that they were terrorists.”
Police recovered eight arrows, two bayonets a small knife and a note with an extremist message from the dead men, he said.
In January this year, the U.S. Department of State designated Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The designation prohibits U.S. citizens from engaging in financial transactions with the group.
JAD, which was formed in 2015, is composed of almost two dozen Indonesian extremist groups that pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the State Department said then in a statement. JAD was behind a terrorist attack that killed four gunmen dead and wounded 25 people in central Jakarta in January 2016.
About 70 suspected militants were being investigated in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, which has been praised by other countries for curtailing terrorism with a combined hard-soft approach.
More than 170 suspected terrorists had been tried and convicted since October 2014, while 33 others were under trial, officials said.
About 64 militant suspects had been freed and 48 others died during recent police raids, according to government figures.