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Jakarta Post

Bomb plot linked to known cells

  • Ina Parlina

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, May 4, 2013   /  11:19 am
Bomb plot linked to known cells Human shield: Police guard the Myanmar Embassy in Jakarta against a protest on Friday. The counterterrorism squad seized five homemade bombs and arrested two men who allegedly planned to attack the embassy in protest at the treatment of Muslims in Myanmar. (AP/Dita Alangkara) (AP/Dita Alangkara)

Human shield: Police guard the Myanmar Embassy in Jakarta against a protest on Friday. The counterterrorism squad seized five homemade bombs and arrested two men who allegedly planned to attack the embassy in protest at the treatment of Muslims in Myanmar. (AP/Dita Alangkara)

The National Police expanded their search on Friday for other terror suspects believed to be behind a plot to attack the Myanmar Embassy.

The attack is thought to be in response to sectarian conflict in Buddhist-majority Myanmar that has cost the lives of many members of the Muslim minority community.

Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said counterterrorism squad Detachment 88 were intensively questioning Sefa Riano, 22, and Achmad Taufiq, 29, who were arrested late on Thursday, about their network. The two were arrested while travelling by motorbike in a busy residential area near Jl. Sudirman, Central Jakarta.

Boy said a backpack containing five primed home-made pipe bombs was found at the scene. '€œWe'€™re still digging deeper into their motives and to ascertain whether they intended to bomb the Myanmar Embassy or somewhere else,'€ said Boy.

'€œInvestigations are also ongoing to determine whether they have connections to other terrorist groups,'€ he said.

Sources at the National Police said the suspects were believed to have links with a terrorist cell that planned attacks on US interests in Jakarta and Surabaya in December.

The police arrested 11 terror suspects, allegedly led by Abu Hanifah, in Jakarta, Surakarta in Central Java and Madiun in East Java. The group was planning to attack the US Embassy in Jakarta, the US Consulate in Surabaya, East Java and the headquarters of US-based goldminer PT Freeport Indonesia in Jakarta.

The police found explosive devices made from the highly volatile nitroglycerin explosive substance. Terror suspect Badri Hartono, who was detained in September in Surakarta for planning to attack a shopping mall, is believed to belong to the same group.

The Myanmar-plot cell is also linked to the Abu Omar group that operated in Surakarta and Cirebon, West Java. Several members of the cell, which targeted the police, government officials and the Singapore Embassy, have been convicted while others are still awaiting trial.

'€œI believe the two suspects [in the Myanmar plot] have connections with the Abu Omar network, and probably with the Abu Hanifah cell as well,'€ said terrorism expert Robi Sugara of the Barometer Institute.

Robi said the Abu Omar cell had announced that avenging the anti-Rohingya attacks was their priority.

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group that has long been subject to persecution in Myanmar. '€œThe violence against the Rohingya has angered the terrorist groups,'€ said Robi.

The police were on high alert on Friday, deploying around 2,000 officers as hundreds of protesters from the hardline Islam Defenders Front (FPI) marched to the Myanmar Embassy to vent their rage over the sectarian conflict. The protesters, dressed in white, held banners that read: '€œWe want jihad'€, and '€œStop genocide in Myanmar'€.

'€œAnyone mistreating Muslims should be killed. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are being attacked in Myanmar '€” they are being raped and murdered,'€ said the protesters'€™ leader and FPI chairman Habib Rizieq, who has justified violence by his followers in the past.

Indonesia, the world'€™s largest Muslim-majority nation, has waged a campaign against radicalism and terrorism since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including foreign tourists. The authorities have detained more than 700 suspected terrorists and accomplices, and killed more than 65.

The country has not witnessed any major attack since 2009 when terrorists linked to al-Qaeda offshoot, Jamaah Islamiyah, attacked the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, killing seven people and seriously injuring dozens. (asw)


Embassy attacks in RI

May 1986: US and Japan embassies
Crude homemade rockets are fired at the US and Japanese embassies while a car explodes in the parking lot of an office complex where the Canadian Embassy is located. Three people injured. A group called the Anti-Imperialist International Brigade claims responsibility for the attacks.

August, 2000: Philippines Embassy
A bomb explodes outside the residence of Philippine'€™s ambassador to Indonesia. Two people die in the blast, another 21 people are injured, including the ambassador.

August, 2000: US Embassy
A bomb-like object is found inside the United States Embassy in Central Jakarta. The suspicious object is a small bottle containing dark liquid. The bottle is found in the embassy'€™s garden near the front gate.

August, 2000: Malaysian Embassy
A grenade explodes in the parking lot of the Malaysian Embassy in South Jakarta. No fatalities are reported in the blast. Six people are named suspects in the incident.

September, 2004: Australian Embassy
A suicide bomb explodes outside the Australian Embassy, killing 11 and injuring 182. The police arrest six terror suspects. Two have been sentenced to death.

July, 2010: Royal Danish Embassy
A terrorist group plans a car-bomb attack against the Royal Danish Embassy. The plot is in response to controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

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