An elite Indonesian anti-terror squad has arrested 10 Islamic militants and seized a dozen homemade bombs from a group suspected of planning suicide attacks against security forces and the government, police said Sunday.
Eight suspects were arrested Saturday in Central Java’s Solo town and a ninth in West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, national police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar said. He said a 10th suspect, Joko Parkit, was arrested Sunday in Solo.
Parkit’s brother, Eko Joko Supriyanto, was shot to death by police in 2009 during raids seeking Southeast Asia’s most wanted Islamist militant, Noordin M. Top. Noordin was killed by police a year later.
Amar said two of those arrested, Badri Hartono and Rudi Kurnia Putra, worked to recruit young men and taught at least one member of the group how to make bombs.
“They were the central figures of the group who had planned several terror attacks,” Amar said. “They recruited, invited young men to be trained in a military-style jihadi camp and bought bomb-making materials.”
He said the group planned to bomb the country’s Parliament, shoot police and attack members of the anti-terrorism squad as part of a plan to establish Islamic Sharia law in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.
Police seized 12 homemade bombs along with other partially assembled bombs, three rifles, four swords and several jihadist books.
Solo is the hometown of convicted radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir. Police are investigating possible links between the unnamed group and other terrorism networks, Amar said. Authorities believe it has now been largely broken up, but are continuing to search for other members.
Since March, more than 30 militant suspects have been arrested and seven others killed in a series of raids in Indonesia. All of the suspects are believed to have been plotting domestic attacks, and some attended a military-style training camp in Poso on Sulawesi island.
Another member of the group, alleged bomb maker Muhammad Toriq, surrendered two weeks ago in Jakarta while carrying a gun and wearing a suicide bomber belt that did not contain any explosives. A second militant, Yusuf Risaldi, gave himself up to police in North Sumatra three days later. Both provided information that led to the arrests of other members of the group in Saturday’s raids, Amar said.
Indonesia, a secular nation, has been battling terrorists since 2002, when militants linked to the Southeast Asian network Jemaah Islamiyah began attacking Western nightclubs, restaurants and embassies. More than 260 people have been killed in the attacks, many of them foreign tourists.
Recent terror attacks in Indonesia have been carried out by individuals or small groups and have targeted local “infidels” instead of Westerners, with less deadly results.