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Jakarta Post

Slingshot bombs and monkeys: Whatsapp group plotted disruption of presidential inauguration

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, October 22, 2019   /   07:32 pm
Slingshot bombs and monkeys: Whatsapp group plotted disruption of presidential inauguration National Police personnel drive near the House of Representatives complex in Jakarta. Up to 30,000 Indonesian Military (TNI) and police personnel were deployed to secure the inauguration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Sunday. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

The Jakarta Police have revealed plans to fire bombs from slingshots and release monkeys to disrupt Sunday’s inauguration of President "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin at the House of Representatives complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta.

“The slingshot bombs were designed to attack the government officials at the House building,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Cmr. Argo Yuwono said on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com.

The attack was part of a series of planned intrusions allegedly to be carried by non-active lecturer at the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) Abdul Basith and outlined by six members of a WhatsApp group, who were involved in assembling the bombs.

The explosives were to be put inside rubber balls that would be flung into the House building by means of wooden or metal slingshots.

Previously, the police said Abdul was involved in throwing Molotov cocktails in the riots in Pejompongan, Central Jakarta, on Sept. 24, and in the plan to detonate homemade bombs during the so-called Mujahid 212 rally on Sept. 28, also in Jakarta.

Police arrested on Sunday six suspects related to the slingshot bomb plot, identified only as SH, E, FAB, RH, HRS and PSM, each of whom had different roles in plotting the attack.

Argo said SH was a former lawyer who served as a fundraiser for the explosives production and a provider of the slingshots. He was also the one who created the WhatsApp group to help coordinate the action.

Meanwhile, Argo added, suspect E was a housewife arrested in Jatinegara, East Jakarta, who provided the space for making the explosives. She also helped finance the manufacturing.

When the police carried out their raid, E was allegedly making the bombs along with SH, Argo added.

The third suspect, FAB, was an entrepreneur who played the same role as E in assembling the slingshot bombs, as well as providing space and funding for the explosives manufacturing. The police claimed FAB had handed Rp 1.6 million (US$113) to SH for the funding.

The fourth suspect, RH, was arrested in Jagakarsa, South Jakarta. RH allegedly supplied wooden slingshots sold at Rp 8,000 per piece to SH, who ordered a total of 200 of these from RH.

Meanwhile, HRS was arrested in Tebet, South Jakarta. HRS allegedly acted as a funder for making the explosives and was accused of handing Rp 400,000 to SH.

The last one arrested was PMS who allegedly played the role of ordering the slingshots online. Argo said the suspect tried to escape by climbing onto a rooftop when the police arrived.

If found guilty, the suspects face five to 20 years in prison.

The group is also alleged to have plans to release monkeys in the House building and the State Palace during the inauguration.

“The group bought and prepared eight monkeys,” Argo said. “They wanted to create chaos during the inauguration.”

The action had been planned in a WhatsApp group with 123 members. In the group, Argo added, they communicated with one another by using a special code called “a mirror code” by typing reversed letters on their phone keyboard as if they were reflected in a mirror, for example L would be substituted for A, or P for Q.

“The use of the mirror code aimed to prevent others from understanding the group’s conversation as most people would not understand such a code,” Argo said.

Argo said that in addition to the planned disruption, the chat group also contained a chain of hoaxes related to foreign workers (TKA) from China, about communism influencing the ideology of Pancasila and the issue of China being in control of the Indonesian government.

“In the WhatsApp group, some members presented ideas that were not yet believed. These members were trying to brainwash others into believing that communism was on the rise in Indonesia,” Argo said.

“FAB, a suspect who joined the group, believed that communism was growing and that fully armed Chinese police were seconded to handle the previous riots."

Lawyer and National Mandate Party (PAN) politician Eggi Sudjana was also a member of the WhatsApp group. Eggi was examined as a witness by investigators from the Jakarta Police on Sunday.

After examining Eggi’s cell phone, the police found an invitation to donate funds for the explosive manufacture sent by one of the suspects to him. Eggi, however, did not reply to the message.

“Eggi received a private message saying ‘Do you want to make a nitrogen bomb or not? Do you want to donate?’ But he did not respond to it,” Argo said.

Eggi was only examined as a witness and was not detained by the police. (syk)