Jakarta Police arrested four suspected Islamic militants and safely detonated a bomb on the outskirts of Jakarta last week, December 10. The group was believed to be part of a bigger plan of carrying out a major attack on the city.
Police also believed that the group is associated with the Islamic State group in Syria, which has been linked to an Indonesian militant fighting. The same group was one of the primary suspected groups that orchestrated the deadly terrorist attack in the country’s capital on January this year.
Earlier this week, Spokesman Boy Rafli Amar of the National Police told the media that the police suspected the group’s target to be a critical location in Central Jakarta. The location was eventually confirmed to be the country’s State Palace, President Joko Widodo’s official residence and office.
Jakarta Police Spokesman Argo Yuwono said in an official statement that the plan was to sync the planting of the bomb at the presidential residence with the changing of guards.
Police arrested a woman in a boarding house in the satellite city of Bekasi where a pressure cooker enclosing the three-kilogram bomb was discovered. Authorities also arrested two men in a separate location in the city, while a fourth person, believed to be the maker of the bomb, was nabbed in Central Java island.
A search for two other suspects involved in the major attack is being carried out, according to local media reports.
Umar Surya Fana, chief of Bekasi Police, told reporters that they strongly believe the group to be part of Bahrun Naim, the Syria-based Indonesian extremist organization suspected for plotting the massive January attack.
The deadly attack early this year—the first claimed by IS in Southeast Asia—killed four civilians. The bomb attack resulted in security forces battling with armed militants and a suicide bomber blowing himself up in a nearby Starbucks.
The continuing crackdown in the archipelago has crippled the majority of the most dangerous militant networks linked to the series of massive domestic attacks during the 2000s. Indonesia is recognized as the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world.
Police believe hundreds of Indonesians have traveled to Syria to become part of these extremist groups including the Islamic State, and fears of a resurgence in militancy are thick on the ground.