Indonesia arrests second militant trying to travel to Marawi this month

Soldiers stand on guard and look at damaged buildings and houses after government troops cleared the area from pro-Islamic State militant groups inside the war-torn area in Saduc proper, Marawi city, southern Philippines on Oct 22, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA- Indonesian national police's elite counterterrorism unit, Densus 88, arrested a terrorist suspect who planned to travel to Kuching, Malaysia, then Marawi in the Philippines to join ISIS, said a police source.

Nurul Hadi, 36, was arrested at the departure hall of Supadio international airport in West Kalimantan province at 11am Monday (Nov 27), the source said.

Colonel Martinus Sitompul, a police spokesman, confirmed the terrorist suspect's name as Nurul but did not provide details.

The police source said Nurul was to board an Air Asia's AK-1029 flight to Kuching International Airport when he was arrested.

Nurul was immediately taken to West Kalimantan police station for further interrogation.

Nurul's arrest comes two weeks after another Indonesian militant was also arrested in a small island on the Indonesia-Philippines border for planning to cross over to join ISIS in Marawi.

The man, identified by Indonesian police by his initial AM, comes from Banten, a neighbouring province of Jakarta. He had travelled to Bitung, North Sulawesi province, and then on a boat to Sangihe island, in the most-northern part of the province, where he was nabbed.

Bitung-Sangihe trip usually takes nine hours by a ferry, then another 9 hours' trip between Sangihe-General Santos port in the Philippines, using a small boat.

During the interrogation, the man admitted that he would cross over to the Philippines, police spokesman Inspector General Setyo Wasisto told reporters on Nov 13.

Last month, the Philippine security officials declared an end to fierce urban fighting in Marawi, exactly five months after hundreds of pro-ISIS militants stormed the city, in what has become the Philippines' biggest security crisis in years.

Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had said on Oct 23 that the government terminated all combat operations in Marawi.

The Philippines has "nipped the budding infrastructure and defeated terrorism in the Philippines. There are no more militants inside Marawi," he added.

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