JAKARTA, Indonesia – A high number of arrests has led to fewer attacks this year by Indonesian extremists, the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) said Friday (December 20th).
Yet, the agency warned, terrorist threats still abound, and extremists could be targeting upcoming elections, local media reported.
BNPT head Ansyaad Mbai told the Jakarta Post Thursday that he expected terrorists to plot attacks aimed at disrupting the 2014 Indonesian elections because, he said, terrorists deem such democratic exercises ungodly.
"Their biggest enemy is democracy, and elections are the core of the democratic system," he said.
Ansyaad cited two terrorist organisations linked to two post-electoral attacks. On July 17th, 2009, following that year's presidential election, terrorists linked to Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) launched suicide bombings at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta. Seven people died and dozens were injured in the attacks.
"They were dismayed by the election result, they hate democracy," Ansyaad said. Hours after the bombings, newly re-elected President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono revealed that a terrorist cell had used a photograph of him for target practice.
The second attack occurred in Makassar in November 2012, two months before the South Sulawesi gubernatorial election.
A man linked to Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) threw a pipe bomb at Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo. Packed with nails, the device failed to explode. Syahrul also won re-election.