Paper Edition | Page: 1
Big fish?: Densus 88 counterterrorism unit personnel escort terror suspect Anggri Pamungkas (center) to police headquarters in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, on Sunday. Anggri, a native of Laweyan in Surakarta, is suspected of having links to a Surakarta-based terrorist group.(Antara/Jessica Helena Wuysang)
The National Police’s counterterrorism unit Densus 88 arrested on Sunday two suspected terrorists, both of whom were linked to high-profile suspects captured earlier this weekend.
On Sunday morning, members of Densus 88 descended on Madokan village in Laweyan, Surakarta, to arrest a suspected terrorist identified as Joko Tri Priyanto.
National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said that Joko was a member of a new terrorist group that recently launched attacks on police stations in Surakarta.
“This man belongs to the same group as Thorik. His arrest was based on information provided by Thorik,” Boy told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
Thorik is a suspected terrorist whose house in Tambora, West Jakarta, was allegedly used to store explosives. He surrendered to police on Sept. 9.
Aside from having a connection with Thorik, the eight men arrested on Saturday are alleged to have links to Wahyu Ristanto, who died of severe wounds in an explosion in Depok, West Java on Sept. 8.
Some locals said that Joko’s arrest caught them by surprise.
Neighbors said that they never saw Joko engage in suspicious activities and that he behaved normally.
“He was nice, [he] liked to hang out,” one of his neighbors, Sriyanti, said.
Police said that Joko, in fact, had links to Noordin M Top, one of Southeast Asia’s most-wanted terrorists, who was killed in a police raid in 2009.
Joko was sentenced to three years in prison in 2006, for helping Noordin escape from the police.
Earlier on Saturday, members of Densus 88 arrested another suspected member of the group, identified as Anggri Pamungkas, in Melawi Hulu regency, Pontianak, West Kalimantan.
“The police arrested the suspect without facing any resistance,” Boy said.
The 19-year-old Anggri, who was also from Surakarta, was flown to Jakarta on Sunday afternoon to face questioning at National Police headquarters.
On Sunday, members of Densus 88 also raided the house of suspected terrorist Rudi Kurnia in Ngruki, Sukoharjo, Central Java, in the vicinity of the Islamic boarding school run by radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir.
Members of the counterterrorism unit seized a number of items suspected of being used in the production of explosives, including charcoal, residual fertilizers and aluminum foil.
Rudi was arrested in front of the Solo Square shopping mall on Saturday as he got off a bus from Cilacap.
He is alleged to be one of the main figures in the group, along with Baderi Hartono, who was arrested at Al-Huda Mosque in Laweyan, Surakarta, on the same day.
Police managed to secure 11 detonators, a 1.5-meter long pipe, four bladed weapons, three homemade rifles and jihad books from Baderi, who is thought to be the person who taught Thorik how to assemble explosives.
On Saturday, Densus 88 arrested six other suspected terrorists in several different locations in Surakarta.
The terrorist suspects were identified as BN, 24; FN, 18; IP, 30; K, 43; N, 46; and P, 29.
“This brings the total of terror suspects arrested during the weekend to ten,” Boy added.
University of Indonesia (UI) terrorism expert Wawan Purwanto said that there was nothing outstanding about this weekend’s arrests.
“After some of its members, including Thorik and Yusuf, decided to surrender themselves to the police, it was easy for the police to nab other members of the group,” he added.
Wawan said that in spite of the arrests, the network would continue to operate.
“We can’t separate this new group from the old network, as they have the same pattern of attacks and allegedly have been trained through the same methods,” Wawan told the Post on Sunday.
According to the Associated Press, more than 30 suspected militants have been arrested and seven others killed in a series of raids in Indonesia since March. All were plotting domestic attacks, and some — aged between 18 and 30 — had attended a military-style training camp in Poso, Central Sulawesi. (nad)