Suspect in fatal stabbing of North Sumatra policeman spent six months in Syria

Indonesian police officers carrying the coffin of Aiptu Martua, an officer who was killed in an alleged terrorist attack, in Medan on June 25, 2017.
Indonesian police officers carrying the coffin of Aiptu Martua, an officer who was killed in an alleged terrorist attack, in Medan on June 25, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network) - One of the two suspected attackers in the recent fatal stabbing of a North Sumatra Police officer reportedly spent six months in war-torn Syria.

If confirmed, this would mark the first time an Indonesian returning from Syria is known to have carried out an attack in Indonesia, which has seen hundreds of its citizens travel to areas of Syria controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

North Sumatra Police spokesperson Senior Commander Rina Sari Ginting said the attacker, identified as SP, had spent six months in Syria in 2013, a year before ISIS announced the establishment of the now shrinking caliphate.

"One of the suspects, SP, went to Syria for six months and returned to Indonesia," Rina was quoted as saying by Kompas.com on Monday (June 26).

Rina said police were still investigating whether SP had joined ISIS during his time in Syria, though they had concluded that he was a member of ISIS-linked terrorist group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

The two attackers, SP and AR, snuck into a checkpoint post, stabbed to death a resting police officer and wounded another officer on Sunday (June 25).

 

Cries for help attracted the attention of several mobile brigade (Brimob) personnel, who then chased the alleged terrorists, shooting AR dead and wounding SP.

Under current legislation, Indonesia cannot charge its citizens for joining or travelling to areas controlled by ISIS in the Middle East.