Bandung police nab bomb-maker after explosion

West Java Police yesterday arrested a 21-year-old man after a homemade bomb blew up prematurely in a room he was renting in Bandung.

National police spokesman Rikwanto said some residents in Kampung Kubang Beureum alerted the police after they heard an explosion in the town at about 3.30pm, local time.

Police officers responding to the call traced the explosion to a room in a boarding house, which was rented by the suspect, identified by the police as Agus Wiguna. Agus, who is from Garut regency in West Java, had rented the room for four months.

During a search, the police found debris of what appeared to be an exploded pressure cooker bomb, as well as a bunch of 7cm-long nails that are believed to have been used as shrapnel.

Witnesses told local media that the force of the explosion was felt more than 500m away from the house in Kampung Kubang Beureum.

The suspect had planned to detonate the bomb next Sunday night near a cafe in Jalan Braga, a street in the centre of Bandung that is popular with both locals and tourists, said the police.

West Java Police spokesman Yusri Yunus said Agus said he learnt to assemble the bomb from information he found on the Internet. Agus also had plans to strike at a church in Buahbatu district as part of "jihad" and he was not targeting Muslims, he added.

Pressure cooker bombs have been used in several attacks by militants in Indonesia, most recently in East Jakarta when three policemen were killed during a suicide bombing on May 23. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group claimed that attack, mounted by two suspects who were killed at the scene. Investigators in that case found an invoice dated May 22 from a store in Padalarang, West Java, for the purchase of a pressure cooker, as well as aluminium plates, nails, ball bearings, cable switcher and other bomb-making materials.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 09, 2017, with the headline 'Bandung police nab bomb-maker after explosion'. Print Edition | Subscribe