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Jakarta Post

IS-linked group behind Medan attack plans to form own country, police say

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan   /   Tue, November 19, 2019   /   04:59 pm
IS-linked group behind Medan attack plans to form own country, police say Police secure their headquarters in Medan, North Sumatra, on Nov. 13 after an apparent suicide attack following their morning roll call. (AFP/Atar)

The group of suspected terrorists allegedly behind the recent suicide bombing in Medan, North Sumatra, planned on establishing their own country, according to the police.

North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Agus Andrianto said the group ─ part of the Islamic State (IS) group-linked homegrown terror network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) ─ comprised mostly young people who were unable to sing the national anthem or recite the five principles of state ideology Pancasila.

The suspected terrorists in the group remained silent upon being asked whether they loved Indonesia, Agus said, adding that they instead said they wanted to establish their own territory separate from Indonesia.

“This terrorist group wants to establish their own country,” Agus said on Monday, “They show their existence by committing terror attacks.”

Agus confirmed that the group had already pledged allegiance to the new IS leader ─ supposedly Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, who replaced IS’ first caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after the latter was killed in a raid by United States special forces in late October.

The network, he went on to say, was quite “professional” as each suspected member had different roles in the group, ranging from treasurer, recruiter to bomb assemblers. 

“The group spread their radical teachings and recruited members for the group through exclusive Islamic study sessions,” Agus said.

He also added that the police had detected that some of the members of the terrorist group had visited and interacted with other terrorist convicts detained in penitentiaries across North Sumatra.

As of Tuesday, the police had arrested 26 suspected terrorists tied to the group behind the suicide bombing, five of whom were females.

The three newly arrested people included bomb assemblers identified by the initials HB and HI, who were arrested in Belawan district, Medan, as well as the group’s treasurer identified as C, who turned himself in to the police on Monday, Agus said.

A suicide bombing occurred in North Sumatra’s provincial capital last Wednesday, as a man ─ later identified as Rabbial Muslim Nasution ─ blew himself up at Medan Police headquarters, injuring six people and killing the attacker.

Despite rejections, Rabbial was laid to rest at Sei Sikambing public cemetery in Medan on Monday evening.

West Sei Putih subdistrict neighborhood head Ardiansyah Putra apologized on behalf of Rabbial’s family for the attack.

“The family would like to apologize to the government, the public, as well as to the injured victims,” Ardiansyah said after the funeral on Monday night.

“We condemn suicide bombings. Hopefully [the terror attack] will be the last in the country.” (dpk)