The National Police on Sunday failed to make good on its promise to announce the identity of the alleged suicide bomber in Cirebon, West Java, citing difficulties in performing a comprehensive and scientifically legitimate DNA test.
“It takes three to 12 days to perform a complete DNA test,” National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Anton Bachrul Alam said in a press conference at the central police headquarters in South Jakarta.
The statement was a disappointment for hundreds of journalists who had flocked to the conference room. They had expected the police to make a formal announcement on the identity of the alleged bomber.
A series of testimonies have claimed that the alleged bomber, whose face was depicted in a picture released by the police shortly after the bombing, was a man named Muhammad Syarif.
Syarif’s colleagues and family have acknowledged that the man resembles the 35-year old Cirebon resident.
Anton said the police had followed up the information by taking DNA samples of Syarif’s family members, “to make sure whether the bomber was really [Syarif] or not.”
Anton promised on Saturday that the test results would be announced on Sunday.
“Although his family members have acknowledged and brought pictures depicting a very similar man, we need to scientifically prove it. We need to be100 percent sure in accordance with the scientific crime investigation standards,” Anton said.
The police have so far questioned 44 witnesses in connection with the incident, he added.
He also said the police’s Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team was still working hard to complete the DNA test as soon as possible.
Syarif’s remains are now still at the police hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta.
A suicide bomber detonated a low-explosive bomb strapped to his body during Friday prayers at the Az-Dzikra mosque within the Cirebon City Police compound.
At least 25 people, mostly police officers, were wounded. Cirebon City Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Herukoco was among the victims with dozens of wounds caused by nails, nuts and bolts blasted from the explosive.
Herukoco was flown from Cirebon to Jakarta on Sunday to undergo intensive treatment at Pertamina Hospital in South Jakarta.