JAKARTA - Indonesian anti-terror police said on Sunday (Nov 27) they have arrested two men in separate raids in Aceh and Banten, who were suspected to be part of a cell that was planning to make homemade explosives to attack foreign embassies, religious buildings and government complexes.
National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said one of the men was arrested during a raid in the Blang Tarakan village in the North Aceh district of Sawang, on Saturday at 10.30 am, the Jakarta Globe news website reported.
The other suspected terrorist, identified as Saiful Bahri, also known as Abu Syifa, was arrested in the village of Baros in the Serang district of Banten, on Sunday at 10 am, the website reported.
Police said the two men were linked to another suspected Islamist militant arrested last week, said to be a member of an Indonesian group that supports the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Rio Priatna Wibawa, 23, was arrested last Wednesday at his house in Majalengka in West Java province.
Police had also seized bomb-making materials that they said he was planning to use in the plot against foreign embassies, religious buildings and government complexes.
Their targets were said to include the parliamentary complex, the national police headquarters, the Myanmar Embassy and two TV stations offices.
Indonesian media have reported that the amount of explosives seized had the potential to result in a blast twice as powerful as the one used in the 2002 Bali bombing.
Rio had reportedly told police after his arrest that he had been ordered to make explosives by the militant group.
Police also believe he and the other suspects had received instructions from Bahrun Naim, a leading Indonesian militant fighting alongside ISIS in Syria. Naim has been linked to several botched attacks in his homeland, ranging from a plot to fire a rocket at Singapore to a suicide attack on a police station.
Police said on Sunday Bahrain allegedly supplied the explosive materials to Rio and had sent him 7 million rupiah (S$739) to assemble a bomb.
Meanwhile, Saiful, the other suspect, was accused of helping Rio to set up a small laboratory to create the bomb.
Separately, police on Saturday had also nabbed nine men, said to be ISIS sympathisers, who police alleged had incited violence when they took part in the mass protest on Nov 4 against Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, Reuters reported.
More than 100,000 Muslims took to the streets of Jakarta in the protest to demand that the Christian governor be sacked and prosecuted for allegedly insulting Islam.