Indonesia arrests nine with alleged ISIS links

JAKARTA • The Indonesian authorities arrested nine men suspected of having links to a militant network loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and planning a series of attacks on police posts, said a police spokesman.
 

Counter-terrorism police have grappled with a recent resurgence in home-grown radicalism in the world's largest Muslim-majority country, inspired by the ISIS extremist group.

Police said eight men were arrested on Tuesday in Riau province and one man in South Sulawesi province.

They were alleged to have links to Indonesia's most high-profile militant network, Jemaah Asharut Daulah, which is loyal to ISIS.

"They were planning attacks on police stations from the district level all the way to the provincial level," national police spokesman Rikwanto said of the men arrested in Riau. He added that they were suspected of joining a training camp in a neighbouring province where they learnt to shoot guns and assemble bombs.

Detachment 88, the country's elite counter-terrorism police unit, usually steps up surveillance and raids near the year end, foiling militant plots targeting New Year's Eve and Christmas celebrations and popular tourist spots.

PLOT TO ATTACK POLICE

They were planning attacks on police stations from the district level all the way to the provincial level.

NATIONAL POLICE SPOKESMAN RIKWANTO, on the men held in Riau.

The authorities suspect there are hundreds of ISIS sympathisers in Indonesia, some of whom have travelled to Syria to fight alongside the group. There are heightened concerns over the return of battle-hardened militants as ISIS loses territory in the Middle East with the fall of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.

Four people were killed when ISIS-linked militants launched a gun-and-bomb attack in the heart of the capital, Jakarta, in January last year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline 'Indonesia arrests nine with alleged ISIS links'. Print Edition | Subscribe