After arrests, Depok steps up surveillance
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Save for a reportedly unintended bomb blast on Saturday night, Depok, West Java, has not been targeted by terrorists in recent years.
However, the city, which borders Jakarta, is infamous as a hideout and breeding ground for terrorists.
Convicted terrorist Umar Patek, one of the masterminds of the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people, once lived with his family in Sukmajaya in east Depok, for example.
Another top terrorist, Dulmatin, reportedly recruited police deserter Sofyan Tsauri in Depok.
Dulmatin was killed in a shootout with police commandos in 2009. Sofyan supplied arms to terrorists for almost two years before his arrest in 2010.
Meanwhile, Agus Wasdianto, the man who made the bomb used in Cimanggis in 2004, is a native son of Depok, as is another noted terrorist, Abu Ishaq.
Meanwhile, police found stashes of weapons and ammunition reportedly cached by terrorists in a forested area near the campus of the nation’s top university, the University of Indonesia in Depok, in November 2011 and again in February.
In the last seven days alone, two terrorism-linked incidents have shocked residents of the city.
Terrorist suspect Firman was arrested on Jl. Raya Kalimulya on Sept. 5 for his involvement in the terror attacks in Surakarta, Central Java, in late August that killed one police officer and injured two others.
Just three days after Firman’s arrest, a bomb exploded in a house on Jl. Nusantara in the city’s Beji district, leaving three people injured.
In the aftermath of the incidents, Depok Deputy Mayor Idris Abdul Somad said that officials would step up efforts to curb terrorism in the city.
Depok Population and Civil Registry Agency secretary Hani Hamidah said on Monday that raids would be conducted throughout the city to check people’s papers and to make “detailed profiles” of residents.
“Our main targets will be areas with low turnout for e-KTP [electronic ID card] registrations but with a high number of newcomers,” Hani said.
According to Hani, the Depok administration would also meet with district and subdistrict heads to discuss how to prevent future terror attacks.
She said that she also told local leaders to cooperate with Public Order Agency officers to increase surveillance of residents.
Rapid urbanization has hindered officials as they administer Depok.
The Depok Population and Civil Registry Agency recorded that the population of the city has increased 70 percent to 1.8 million people in the past 10 years, which has boosted its population density to a staggering 9,055 people per square kilometer.
According to Idris, individualism has made people less cognizant of newcomers.
“Individualism used to exist only in upper-middle class housing complexes. Nowadays, you can feel it in villages. The public must be aware of their neighbors. If they see something suspicious, then they have to report it,” he said.
Depok Police chief Sr. Comr. Mulyadi Kaharni agreed, saying, “The public must not be indifferent to one another. They must not stay quiet if they see something is wrong.”
Kalimulya subdistrict chief Cecep Hidayat said that he had started checking on all tenants of kosan (rented houses) in his neighborhood.
He said that he would reactivate evening community watch programs in his area.