Militant behind plot to kill 'Ahok' jailed for six years

Arif Hidayatullah also planned to hit places of worship in Bogor with homemade bombs

Jakarta Governor Basuki, popularly known as 'Ahok'. His would-be killer was linked to other militants.
Jakarta Governor Basuki, popularly known as 'Ahok'. His would-be killer was linked to other militants.

An Indonesian militant who planned to assassinate Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and also attack places of worship in Bogor city with homemade bombs was sentenced to six years in jail yesterday.

Details that emerged during the sentencing hearing of Arif Hidayatullah also confirmed his links to another Indonesian militant, Bahrun Naim, who is believed to be fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

Bahrun has also been linked to several domestic militant groups and a handful of terror-related incidents, including the Jan 14 attacks in Jakarta as well as a failed plot to launch a rocket from Batam at Singapore's Marina Bay and a suicide bombing in Solo, Central Java, in July.

District Judge Siti Jamzanah yesterday said evidence indicated that Bahrun had given Arif instructions to procure explosives and other materials in order to assemble bombs for the attack.

Police investigations revealed that the two terrorists communicated through a chat group on the Telegram messaging app.

Arif, who also goes by his nom de guerre Abu Musab, was targeting Mr Basuki, better known as Ahok, and places of worship in Bogor, which is south of Jakarta.

The hearing at a South Jakarta District Court also revealed that Arif did not go ahead with the attacks because he was not confident that the homemade bombs would detonate.

But Judge Siti said she was convinced by the evidence that Arif had conspired to mount acts of terrorism with the bombs and "was fully aware" that the bombs would have caused mass destruction had they exploded.

Arif was arrested in a police raid on Dec 23 last year, together with an Uighur named Ali who had planned to carry out a suicide bombing.

Ali had been introduced to Arif by another militant named Nur Rohman who later blew himself up at a police station in Solo in July.

Arif confessed that Nur Rohman was one of the two men who had escaped the Dec 23 raid, police said.

According to a source close to the investigations, Nur Rohman had built the bomb with instructions that Bahrun had sent via Telegram.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2016, with the headline 'Militant behind plot to kill 'Ahok' jailed for six years'. Print Edition | Subscribe