On Tuesday (15/08) Indonesian Police arrested five suspected Islamic State (IS) sympathizers. Meanwhile, various bomb making chemicals were seized in the houses of the five suspected Islamic militants. The arrests and confiscation of materials occurred in the city of Bandung (West Java). The five arrests involve one married couple and three men.
Yusri Yunus, spokesman for the West Java Police Department, said the five suspected militants are believed to be members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD), one of the small local extremist cells, formed in 2015, that pledged allegiance to IS group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. JAD is held responsible for a series of attacks in Indonesia including the bombing and shooting in Central Jakarta in January 2016 that took four innocent lives.
The married couple that was arrested in Bandung had already been on the radar of the Indonesian intelligence service because they had been deported from Hong Kong three years ago on suspicion of spreading radical ideology. Together with the other three men they had been studying bomb-making techniques from a blog that is run by an Indonesian - Bahrun Naim - who is believed to be fighting with IS in Syria. Naim is also believed to be the mastermind behind recent attacks in Indonesia.
Yunus said the group of five in Bandung were planning to attack the presidential palace in Jakarta, as well as local police headquarters in Jakarta and Bandung toward the end of August.
Tomorrow - 17 August 2017 - Indonesia celebrates the 72nd Independence Day. Ahead of this celebration authorities have been beefing up security measures.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, contains a small minority of extremists who are willing to use - or support - violent acts to establish an Islamic state. However, Indonesia's counter-terrorism squad (Densus 88) has had success in detecting and arresting (or killing) these networks. Over the past decade we detect two developments, both the result of Densus 88's success: (1) Indonesian terrorists now mostly target symbols of the Indonesian state (contrary to symbols of the West that were their target in the 2000s), for example Indonesian police officers and politicians, and (2) Indonesian terrorist networks are now much smaller (splinter groups) than before because small groups are harder to detect.
For an in-depth overview and analysis of radical Islam in Indonesia - discussing the historic trends, causes and recent incidents - we refer you to this page: