The Jakarta Post
A suicide bomber carried out an attack at the Poso Police headquarters in Central Sulawesi, which terrorism experts said was in retaliation for the police raids on dozens of suspected terrorists in May.
On Monday morning, an unidentified man on a motorbike detonated a bomb strapped to his body inside the police station's compound.
Remains of the bomber, the sole fatality of the blast, have been transferred to the Bhayangkara Hospital in Palu, Central Sulawesi, for a postmortem examination.
Central Sulawesi Police chief Brig. Gen. Ari Dono Sukmanto said the bomber was a man in his mid-30s with a height of 160 centimeters.
According to terrorism analyst Al Chaidar, a terror cell led by fugitive terrorist Santoso was behind the attack.
'Santoso, as the East Indonesia Mujahideen leader, orchestrated the attack to avenge the major raids conducted by the police's Densus 88 counterterrorism unit,' he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
Last month, Densus 88 gunned down seven suspected terrorists and arrested 16 others in a series of raids across Java and Lampung.
Among the slain terrorist suspects was Abu Roban, the West Indonesia Mujahideen leader, who allegedly masterminded a number of robberies around Java to finance terror acts led by Santoso.
In a press conference on Monday, National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Suhardi Alius confirmed that there had been indications that the suicide bomber could have been terror convict Basri or someone linked to him.
'We are investigating whether the attack was linked to fugitive Basri,' Suhardi said.
Basri, who was linked to Santoso, was sentenced to 19 years in prison by the South Jakarta District Court in December 2007 for mutilating three senior high school students and a series of terror attacks in conflict-prone Poso in 2005.
He escaped from Central Sulawesi's Ampana Penitentiary on April 19.
Terrorism expert Noor Huda Ismail of the Institute for International Peace Building said that Basri had engaged in terrorism after Christian militants attacked his hometown, located near the Walisongo Islamic boarding school in Poso, in 2000.
The violence left hundreds dead, including the students.
The regency of Poso was rocked by bloody civil clashes from 1998 that claimed around 1,000 lives and displaced 25,000 people.
Despite the Malino peace accord signed by Muslim and Christian leaders in December 2001, a string of attacks and clashes carried out by radical Muslims continue to occur.
'The recent bomb attack is the first suicide attack carried out outside Java. What we should be concerned about is that a Poso local played a greater role in this attack. During the sectarian conflict, Javanese individuals incited the violence, while the locals only acted as supporters,' Noor Huda said.
He then suggested the need for an effort to deter Poso locals from joining terror groups.
'Most ex-jihadists want to start a new life; only some of them remain engaged in terrorism,' he said.
Responding to the attack, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered the National Police to brief him on the latest developments from the investigation into the bombing, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said on Monday.
'The President has been briefed on the bombing by the National Police chief spokesman,' Julian said.
Julian did not elaborate if the President had issued instructions in regard to the bombing.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto, meanwhile, said that he was aware of the presence of 'potential' suicide bombers prior to the incident.
'The National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) and I have previously said that these kinds of people are still around. That is why the measures aimed at preventing and eradicating terrorism should remain a priority,' he said.
Chronology of terror attacks in Poso
'¢ Aug. 27, 2012: An unidentified gunman shoots dead a resident of Poso district, Central Sulawesi. The victim is identified as Noldy Ombolando, a 20-year-old man from Sepe village, Lage subdistrict
'¢ Oct. 4, 2012: Hasman Sao, 35, a resident of Masani village in Poso, is injured after being shot in the back.
'¢ Oct. 8, 2012: The murder of two police officers, Andi Sappa and Sudirman, in Tamanjeka hamlet, Poso Pesisir.
'¢ Oct. 22, 2012: A bomb exploded at a police traffic post in Poso, injuring three people.
'¢ Oct. 24, 2012: A church in Madale, in Poso Pesisir district was set ablaze by unidentified people.
'¢ Nov. 15, 2012: The shooting of Poso Pesisir Utara Police chief First Insp. Bastian Taruklabi.
'¢ Dec. 20, 2012: The shooting of six police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) members in North Poso Pesisir. Three dead and three others injured.
'¢ Dec. 25, 2012: A 10-kilogram homemade bomb was found under a bench at a police post on Jl. Pulau Sumatra in front of the central Poso market, or some 200 meters from Poso Police headquarters.
'¢ Feb. 1, 2013: Residents of Moengko Lama subdistrict in Poso found 12 pipe-shaped improvised explosive devices on the side of the road.
Source: The Jakarta Post
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