Police officers 'main targets' this Hari Raya

JAKARTA • More than a hundred thousand police officers, as well as thousands of civil security officers and military personnel, will be deployed ahead of the Hari Raya holiday on June 26, to safeguard millions of Indonesians travelling home.

The police officers, however, may need to worry more about their own safety, as terrorists have made them the main targets in retaliation against frequent police arrests which foiled terror attack plans.

National police chief Tito Karnavian told reporters earlier this week he had ordered every police officer to stay vigilant and beef up security measures, while safeguarding the massive flows of travellers from big cities to their home towns or villages.

"Apart from ensuring that citizens have safe and smooth travels, I have ordered all officers to keep themselves safe during their duties," General Tito told reporters.

He said policemen assigned to be on the ground must be fully equipped, take guns where possible and wear a bulletproof vest.

Some policemen have to protect colleagues who do not carry a gun, as not all policemen have the authority to possess a firearm.

Gen Tito's order comes after twin suicide bombings in East Jakarta on May 23 which killed three policemen.

These bombings, along with an attack at a Starbucks cafe in downtown Jakarta in January last year, injured at least five policemen and killed two civilians in total.

Between 2013 and last year, more than 10 terror attacks were known to have targeted the police, The Jakarta Post reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'Police officers 'main targets' this Hari Raya'. Print Edition | Subscribe