October 04, 2012
Anti-terror forces are investigating more than a dozen suspects apprehended in recent weeks along with the sinister name they apparently gave their group: al-Qaeda Indonesia.
The city of Solo has emerged as a hotspot of activity, with eight suspects rounded up on one day – September 22nd – and dozens of handmade bombs, some of them potent, discovered in three separate locations.
Those raids followed a rash of arrests the previous week linked to an accidental bomb explosion at a home that passed for an orphanage in Depok, West Java. A timeline of the recent incidents and arrests is available here.
Authorities are now investigating the extent of the cell, its planned targets and whether or not they are linked to the international terror network, al-Qaeda.
The cell planned suicide missions, with potential targets including police facilities and the Buddhist community, police said.
Two detainees— Badri Hartono and Rudi Kurnia Putra – are suspected leaders of the group, charged with recruiting young men and teaching them bomb-making skills, according to National Police Spokesman Boy Rafli Amar.
The Solo suspects are connected to the men arrested following an accidental blast two weeks earlier at an "orphanage" in Depok, West Java that turned out to be a bomb-making facility, he said.
"This is connected with the terror cell in Beji, Depok. We continue to investigate this network," Boy said at the police headquarters on September 24th.
The Solo cell was planning attacks on police targets since June 2012, he said. "There are switches and detonators, pipes, and urea fertilizer. All this was going to be used to attack the police.
"Based on information we have received ... they call themselves al-Qaeda Indonesia, and what we know is their leader is Badri Hartono, alias Toni," Boy told reporters.
An al-Qaeda link?
Although suspects told police that they named their group al-Qaeda Indonesia, no evidence has yet been found linking the network to terrorists outside of Indonesia.
"They are just modelling themselves on al-Qaeda since it is a new organisation trying to take advantage from the main organisation's big name," terrorism analyst Al Chaidar in Jakarta told Khabar.
He said al-Qaeda Indonesia was formed sometime in 2009 at militant training camps in Aceh and Poso, Sulawesi.
Though they are new, Al said, the threat they pose to the nation is serious. He cited the Solo church bombing in September 2011 that killed two, including a suicide bomber.
"They have a long list of enemies to fight against; the police, political parties, government offices, foreigners, other believers, liberal Islamic organisation, even some Islamic sects like Ahmadiyah," he said.
"They also still choose jihad as the only way to reach their goals of establishing an Islamic country and apply Sharia law."