Indonesia nabs militant planning bomb strikes

JAKARTA • The Indonesian authorities have arrested a 23-year-old man and seized bomb-making materials that he was planning to use in attacks against embassies, religious facilities and government buildings.

Rio Priatna Wibawa, believed to be a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group, was nabbed at his house in Majalengka in West Java province on Wednesday by the country's anti-terror squad, police said yesterday.

"These explosive materials will be used to strike foreign embassy offices, religious buildings, police headquarters and parliament building," police spokesman Rikwanto said. The suspect has admitted that he was ordered to make explosives by the ISIS group, the spokesman said.

But three other suspects, who had gathered at Rio's house, managed to slip away, police said.

"He was arrested by the anti-terror squad before producing the bombs and giving it to other (ISIS) militants," Mr Rikwanto said.

He said Rio and the other suspects received instructions from a high-profile ISIS leader for Southeast Asia, Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian national based in Syria.

ISIS supporters have conducted a series of small-scale suicide bombing strikes in Indonesia in recent months, targeting churches and police stations.

In a brazen hit on Jakarta in January, four militants carried out an attack that led to their deaths and the deaths of four others.

It was the worst terror attack on Indonesian soil since the 2009 twin bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels that killed seven people.

The Indonesian court on Thursday sentenced Abu Gar, 43, a key figure behind the Jan 14 terror attack, to nine years in prison.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline 'Indonesia nabs militant planning bomb strikes'. Print Edition | Subscribe