Indonesia’s counterterrorism squad arrests four suspects in different raids

Wed, 2018-05-16 20:14

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s special counterterrorism squad, Detachment 88, has taken into custody four people after they raided three houses early Wednesday morning in Tangerang on the southwestern outskirts of Jakarta. 

National police spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said in a televised press conference that the police arrested three men and detained a woman from the raid. However, he declined to comment further about the raid, saying the police were still investigating the case. 

The raid took place after police in Riau province shot dead four militants who stormed the police headquarters in the provincial capital, Pekanbaru, and attacked the police with machetes. 

Riau police spokesman Sunarto said the terrorists rammed their car into the police station where four of them were shot dead as they attacked the police while the driver tried to flee the scene. He killed a police officer and injured two journalists in the attempt but was later captured. 

Wasisto said the group, along with two other militants from South Sumatra, came to the police detention center in Depok, West Java, allegedly to launch an attack following a riot that erupted inside the facility, and were on a standoff after 155 militants held in the facility killed five police officers and took another one hostage. 

The standoff started late Tuesday last week and ended early on Thursday morning with all 155 militants surrendering unconditionally. 

“They came to Depok but returned after seeing the situation was back to normal there,” Wasisto said, adding that the two from South Sumatra were arrested in Palembang, the provincial capital, on Tuesday. 

“The other four were the ones who were shot dead this morning,” he said, adding that the men were believed to have pledged allegiance to Daesh. 

The attack was the latest in a string of militant attacks that have hit Indonesia since Sunday, beginning when a family of six suicide bombers, including young children, attacked three churches simultaneously in Indonesia’s second biggest city, Surabaya. 

Later in the evening, a bomb went off prematurely in a family apartment in Sidoarjo, near Surabaya. The police said the family of six had been planning to launch an attack in a place in Surabaya. Three siblings lost their parents and an older sibling in the blast. 

On Monday, a family of five blew themselves up at a checkpoint in Surabaya police station. One eight-year-old child survived the blast. The attack killed at least 13 people and injured at least 40. 

The National Commission on Violence against Women said although the women had voluntarily launched the attacks, their willingness to be actively involved in the mission was deeply rooted in unbalanced gender relations and women’s low bargaining position in the militant group’s highly masculine culture, which indoctrinates women to obey their men without question. 

“We are concerned that the militant groups are taking advantage of women’s strategic role as mothers that can instill their radical ideology to their children to become martyrs,” Thaufiek Zulbahari, one of the commissioners, told Arab News. 

“We condemned the use of women and children in all kinds of violent extremism,” he added.

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