Indonesian Police Kill 3 Militant Suspects in Yogyakarta

Ahmad Syamsudin
2018.07.14
Jakarta
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180714-ID-police-1000.jpg Indonesian police are seen near the scene of a shooting in Sleman, Yogyakarta in which authorities said they killed three suspected militants, July 14, 2018.
Antara Foto via Reuters

Updated at 3:05 p.m. ET on 2018-07-14

Indonesian police shot and killed three suspected militants who allegedly threatened officers with machetes in Central Java’s Yogyakarta province on Saturday, officials said of the first deadly terror-related shooting in the country since late June.

Two officers with police counter-terrorist unit Densus 88 were injured in the incident that unfolded before dusk in Sleman regency, with the suspects shot as they resisted arrest, a national police spokesman said. A fourth suspect fled the scene in Sleman, located some 531 km (330 miles) southeast of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

“The police took measured and decisive action because the terrorist suspects threatened the lives of the officers and members of the public,” spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said in a statement released to reporters.

Yulianto, a spokesman for Yogyakarta police, said officers were trying to apprehend the four suspects who were riding motorbikes along Kaliurang road – about 30 km (18.6 miles) from Yogyakarta town, when the suspects stopped, got off their bikes and came after the policemen with machetes.

The suspects then fled into a neighborhood, where they attacked police who were pursuing them, Yulianto said in a statement.

One of the suspects shouted “Allahu Akbar! (God is great),” prompting the officers to fire shots at them, Yulianto said.

According to a report by the Reuters news agency, Iqbal said the suspects were believed to be members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an Indonesian network of militant cells linked with the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

Police blamed JAD for a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Indonesia since January 2016.

On June 22, a Jakarta court handed a death sentence to radical Muslim cleric Aman Abdurrahman, JAD’s jailed de facto leader, after finding him guilty of ordering militants from the confines of his prison cell to launch those attacks.

These included a suicide mission that left eight people dead, including four gunmen, in central Jakarta on Jan. 14, 2016. That attack was the first one claimed on Indonesian soil by IS.

Prosecutors said Aman had also inspired militants in a suicide attack that killed three police officers at a bus station in Jakarta last year, as well as a Molotov cocktail blast that killed a 2-year-old and injured three other children at a church in East Kalimantan province in November 2016.

In January 2017, the U.S. government designated Aman a “global terrorist,” alleging that he had founded JAD, a network composed of two dozen pro-IS groups. American officials also described him as “the de facto leader of IS supporters in Indonesia.”

In May, JAD was also involved in suicide bombings in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, authorities said, but Aman has not yet been charged in those attacks. Those attacks involved three families, including girls aged 12 and nine, who allegedly blew themselves up, officials said.

Twenty-seven people died, including 13 suspects.

Saturday’s incident in Sleman was the first deadly one involving terror suspects in three weeks. A day after Aman was condemned to death row, Densus 88 shot and killed two suspected militants in Depok, a city in West Java province.

The shooting in Sleman came three days after police said they arrested at least four other suspected militants in separate raids in Yogyakarta province.

On July 11, authorities arrested a man and wife in Sleman suspected of militant activity, and also detained their four children. On the same day, two men were arrested in Bantul, another regency in Yogyakarta, on suspicion of militant activity, police said.

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