Medan church attack suspect in contact with Indonesian ISIS supporter Bahrun Naim

Indonesian mobile brigade policemen stand guard after an attempted suicide bombing by an unidentified man at St. Yoseph Catholic Church in Medan on Aug 28, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The National Police revealed on Monday (Sept 5) that the teenage suspect in the August attack at St. Yosep Catholic Church in Medan, North Sumatra, had been in contact with the top Indonesian supporter of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Results from an investigation on the 17-year-old suspect have indicated that he was not part of any particular international terrorist network. However, he did get in touch with Bahrun Naim, who might have taught him some things about radicalism and terrorism, National Police chief General Tito Karnavian said.

"This is a new phenomenon of 'lone wolf' terrorism where an underage boy was radicalized, and then he learnt (about) and produced his own explosive device and carried out the attack by himself," Gen Tito said at the House of Representatives hearing on Monday.

Bahrun, an ISIS militant who reportedly resides in Raqqa, Syria, is suspected to have taken part in several terror attacks around the country, including the bombing at the Surakarta Police station in July as well as the attacks in Jakarta in January.

Gen Tito said the 17-year-old had self-radicalised using the Internet. However, Gen Tito did not give further details on his connections to Bahrun.

The teenager was named a suspect after church goers foiled an attack on Priest Albertus Pandiangan during Sunday mass. He allegedly attempted to kill the 60-year-old priest with a knife and an axe, but only managed to wound the priest's left arm as churchgoers immediately apprehended him.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.