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Indonesian Police Arrest 9 Suspected Militants, Seize Explosives

Rina Chadijah
Jakarta
2019-09-23
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Indonesian anti-terror unit Densus 88 officers escort suspected militants in Jakarta, May 17, 2019.
Indonesian anti-terror unit Densus 88 officers escort suspected militants in Jakarta, May 17, 2019.
AP

Indonesian police on Monday arrested nine people suspected of planning attacks on law enforcement targets, authorities said, as Singapore announced three Indonesian domestic workers with alleged Islamic State ties had been taken into custody.

Anti-terrorism personnel in Indonesia arrested nine suspected members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a militant network affiliated with IS, in Jakarta and West Java province, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.

“All of the suspects who were arrested belong to a network and all are connected,” Dedi told reporters.

The suspects conducted military training in Mount Halimun in Sukabumi regency, Dedi said.

He said police found 500 grams of Triacetone triperoxide (TATP) explosives at the home of one of suspects.

“The evidence confiscated is highly explosive and substantial. It was going to be assembled to be used in [terrorist] acts,” Dedi said, adding the explosive was destroyed because it was too risky to keep.

North Jakarta Police Chief Budhi Herdi Susianto said officers found a goodbye letter written by one of the suspects, who allegedly planned a suicide attack using the explosive at a police station.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks in the past two decades.

In January 2016, authorities blamed JAD for a gun and bomb attack that killed eight people, including the four attackers, in Jakarta’s central business district.

It also was blamed for coordinated attacks in the Indonesian city of Surabaya in May 2018, when two families carried out suicide bombings on three churches and a police station. Those attacks killed 24 people, including children as young as 9 who joined their parents in the attacks.

An Indonesian court in July 2018 outlawed JAD in a verdict that was seen as making it easier for law enforcement officials to arrest suspected members.

Domestic workers detained under ISA

In Singapore, three female Indonesian nationals were detained under Singapore’s Internal Security Act on suspicion of financing terror activities linked to IS, the nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Monday.

The women, identified as Anindia Afiyantari, 33, Retno Hernayani, 36, and Turmini, 31, had worked as domestic workers in Singapore for between six and 13 years, the ministry said.

“The trio were radicalized in 2018 after they viewed online materials related to the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and became convinced that IS was fighting for Islam and that its use of violence against ‘infidels’ was justified,” the statement said.

“Their radicalization deepened after they joined multiple pro-IS social media chat groups and channels,” it said.

The ministry said the trio developed a network of pro-militant foreign contacts through the internet, including online boyfriends who allegedly encouraged them to migrate to the southern Philippines, Afghanistan or Africa to join IS.

“Anindia was prepared to take up arms for IS in Syria and become a suicide bomber, while Retno aspired to live amongst IS fighters in Syria and participate in the conflict there,” the ministry said.

Dedi said he and other Indonesian officials knew of the arrests.

“Yes, it has been communicated with Detachment 88,” Dedi told BenarNews, referring to the police anti-terrorism unit.

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