3 arrested over suicide bombings in Jakarta

(From third from left) President Joko Widodo, State Intelligence Agency chief Budi Gunawan, and Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla at the bomb blast site at the Kampung Melayu bus station in Jakarta on Thursday.
(From third from left) President Joko Widodo, State Intelligence Agency chief Budi Gunawan, and Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla at the bomb blast site at the Kampung Melayu bus station in Jakarta on Thursday.PHOTO: REUTERS

Jokowi urges lawmakers to ratify quickly Bill to boost Indonesia's anti-terror laws

Indonesia's counter-terrorism police have arrested three people allegedly linked to the suicide bomb attacks in Jakarta which claimed five lives as President Joko Widodo called for lawmakers to quickly ratify a government-proposed Bill to strengthen anti-terror laws.

Three police officers as well as the two suicide bombers died in the incident. Six police officers and eight local residents were injured.

The three men who were arrested on Thursday - Jajang Iqin Shodiqin, 56; Waris Suyitno, alias Masuit, 37; and Asep alias Abu Dafa- are from Bandung, West Java. They were arrested in three separate locations in the province, according to police.

Police say that Jajang had an active administrative role in raising donations to help fund radical Islamic boarding school Darul Anshor in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

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Police declined to elaborate on the role of each of the three played, pending further investigation.

President Joko visited the bombing site on Thursday evening.

URGENT NEED TO CATCH UP

If we compare with other nations, they have laws that allow the authorities to prevent (attacks) before they happen.

PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO, on how Indonesia is lagging behind other nations in terms of anti-terror laws.

"If we compare with other nations, they have laws that allow the authorities to prevent (attacks) before they happen," Mr Joko said, adding that he had ordered the coordinating political, legal and security affairs minister Wiranto to expedite the push for the anti-terror Bill in Parliament.

Mr Joko said in a statement late on Thursday: "I emphasise once again that there's no place in our country, our home land, for terrorism."

National police chief Tito Karnavia yesterday named the two suicide bombers responsible for the Wednesday night attack in East Jakarta.

The first suicide bomber was identified as Ichwan Nurul Salam, a 34-year-old man from Bandung, while the second one is Ahmad Sukri, General Tito told a media briefing late yesterday.

He said they were members of the Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) of the Bandung Raya in West Java.

This is part of a terror network supervised by Bachrun Naim, an Indonesian militant who has lived in Raqqa, Syria, to fight with terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Ahmad Sukri, a colleague of Jajang, worked as an administrative staff member at Darul Anshor, a police source told The Straits Times.

A preliminary investigation had previously pointed to Jajang as the second suicide bomber.

Ichwan detonated his bomb first and was followed by Ahmad, who placed a pressure cooker in his backpack.

The bomb had ball bearings and disassembled small scissors, among other things, to maximise the destructive impact, Gen Tito said.

"They have improved in their skills to make bombs and to avoid detection by police and the intelligence officers," the general said, adding that previous members of their network had tried launching similar attacks several times but the bombs either went off prematurely or failed to go off.

"They have tried a couple of times, in West Java, East Java and were not successful, and they learnt... from those experiences," he said.

The government last year proposed several changes to the existing anti-terrorism law, mainly to expand police powers in counter-terrorism for better prevention, after a brazen attack by four Indonesian militants loyal to ISIS in Jakarta in January that year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2017, with the headline '3 arrested over suicide bombings in Jakarta'. Print Edition | Subscribe