Indonesia arrests 6 over planned terror attack

Indonesian anti-terrorism policemen standing guard yesterday at the 2002 Bali bombing memorial in Legian, Bali. Police have increased security on the resort island, following threats purportedly from militants linked to the group that attacked centra
Indonesian anti-terrorism policemen standing guard yesterday at the 2002 Bali bombing memorial in Legian, Bali. Police have increased security on the resort island, following threats purportedly from militants linked to the group that attacked central Jakarta on Jan 14.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Indonesian police have arrested six suspects believed to be plotting a terror attack on home soil, just a week after four militants struck at the heart of capital city Jakarta.

National police chief Badrodin Haiti said at a press conference yesterday that nine firearms were found in the possession of the six Indonesians when they were nabbed.

The suspects, however, had yet to procure the ammunition needed for the guns, he added.

"They were still looking for the bullets after they managed to gather nine firearms and were planning to launch attacks," he said.

"We still need to investigate further what their plans were."

SEEKING AMMUNITION

They were still looking for the bullets after they managed to gather nine firearms and were planning to launch attacks. We still need to investigate further what their plans were.

NATIONAL POLICE CHIEF BADRODIN HAITI, on the six suspects who had nine firearms in their possession when arrested.

General Badrodin also revealed that police have uncovered a wider network of militants who may either be linked to the Jan 14 attack in Jakarta or were plotting separate attacks.

The latest group is in addition to the first batch of six rounded up over the last weekend following the attack in Jalan M.H. Thamrin.

There is a third cell of six terror inmates, who are believed to be in one of two state penitentiaries - Nusakambangan and Tangerang prisons - and who had supported the communications among the three cells from prison.

This brings the total number of suspects being questioned to 18.

The crackdown on terror suspects in Indonesia follows the brazen attack on a busy intersection in downtown Jakarta on Jan 14 by four militants loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which left eight people dead, including the four attackers.

Gen Badrodin said one of the four from the Jakarta attack, identified as Dian Joni Kurniadi, had tried to acquire firearms from the first cell, which is led by a man named Hendro.

Dian did not communicate directly with Hendro but routed his request through the third cell, comprising prison inmates.

"Suspects in Cell 1 are directly involved in the Thamrin attacks - one of them procured bomb casings while another procured the firearms from Hendro," said Gen Badrodin. "Cell 2 was planning to launch separate attacks with the nine firearms the members had procured."

He also told reporters that Hendro had received a total of 1 billion rupiah (S$103,200) from an Indonesian named Bahrunsyah in Syria. The police have detected several wire transfers from Bahrunsyah to the second cell.

"There are still several who are at large and we are hunting them down," Gen Badrodin added.

Meanwhile, national police deputy chief Budi Gunawan said that ISIS cells in Indonesia are affiliated with several others in South-east Asian countries.

"So not only in Indonesia but also in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand," he said at the police headquarters yesterday.

He said that besides Indonesian ISIS loyalist Bahrun Naim, Bahrunsyah could also have orchestrated the attack in Jakarta. This being the case, the police would continue to monitor communications to and from the Middle East, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2016, with the headline 'Indonesia arrests 6 over planned terror attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe