Terror suspect killed in shoot-out with police in Bandung

Police securing the area around the municipal office in Bandung, West Java, yesterday. Armed police officers outside the municipal office traded shots with a suspected terrorist following a bomb blast set off by two men earlier at a nearby park in Ba
Armed police officers outside the municipal office traded shots with a suspected terrorist following a bomb blast set off by two men earlier at a nearby park in Bandung yesterday. According to some reports, the suspect also set fire to part of the building, and firefighters were on hand to put it out.PHOTO: REUTERS
Police securing the area around the municipal office in Bandung, West Java, yesterday. Armed police officers outside the municipal office traded shots with a suspected terrorist following a bomb blast set off by two men earlier at a nearby park in Ba
Police securing the area around the municipal office in Bandung, West Java, yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS

Gunman and accomplice said to have set off bomb earlier near municipal building; manhunt on for other man

A gunman with ties to the Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) terrorist group in Indonesia was killed after a dramatic shoot-out with police in Bandung, West Java, yesterday.

A manhunt for his accomplice, who had fled on a motorcycle before the stand-off at a municipal office, continues today.

This is the first time since December that elements of the JAD - which was behind the attack in central Jakarta on Jan 14 last year - have surfaced in another brazen daylight hit in the country.

The incident also comes just days before the visit of Saudi Arabia's King Salman to Jakarta and Bogor, in West Java, tomorrow.

Witnesses said the two men had earlier set off a home-made bomb at Taman Pendawa, a park about 200m away from the office, at about 9am local time.

No one was hurt but in the ensuing chaos caused by the blast, one of the suspects - identified as Yayat Cahdiyat - panicked and escaped on foot, while his accomplice sped off on their motorcycle, said police.

"The bomb contained shrapnel but it didn't cause any injuries as the impact from the explosion was low," national police chief Tito Karnavian told reporters yesterday.

According to the police and witnesses, Yayat, who is 41, ran into the municipal office and fired on the police officers, who later surrounded the building.

"He was demanding for the release of his friends who had been arrested by Densus," said General Tito, referring to the elite Detachment 88 counter-terrorism police unit, better known as Densus 88.

Mr Maisaroh, a 52-year-old district official who was in the building during the siege, told reporters that Yayat also demanded to know where the head of the office was. "He was carrying a backpack and later ran up to the second floor... Then we heard gunshots," he added.

A squad of heavily armed officers was sent into the building to arrest Yayat after he refused to surrender.

Video footage of the raid showed the officers exchanging fire with Yayat after an explosion was heard. Shortly after, the officers were seen hauling a body bag out of the building.

Gen Tito said Yayat was a member of the JAD, which is led by jailed radical ideologue Aman Abdurrahman.

Last month, Aman and the JAD were placed on a United States counter-terrorism watchlist because of their ties to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Aman is also said to have ordered the attack in Jakarta - which killed eight people, including the four perpetrators - from inside Nusakambangan prison, where he is serving time for setting up a terrorist training camp in Aceh province more than six years ago.

Yesterday, Gen Tito confirmed that Yayat was jailed in 2010 for joining the same camp.

According to National Counter- Terrorism Agency chief Suhardi Alius, Yayat was released in 2015.

The JAD has been behind several terrorist-related incidents in Indonesia over the past year or so. Last Christmas, Densus 88 foiled a plan by a JAD cell to attack a police post in West Java on New Year's Eve.

That operation came just days after three JAD militants planning a strike on a police post near Jakarta were killed in a raid, as well as the arrest of four women, one of whom was planning to mount a suicide bombing at the presidential palace.

Indonesian militant Bahrun Naim, who is in Syria with ISIS, was said to have coached one of the women for that operation.

"The JAD has many cells. Some cells have direct contact with Bahrun Naim, but there is no evidence that (Yayat) was in touch with Bahrun Naim," said Gen Tito.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2017, with the headline 'Terror suspect killed in shoot-out with police in Bandung'. Print Edition | Subscribe