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Indonesia on Terror Ahead of Presidential Race Result

Indonesia's anti-terrorism forces have arrested at least 10 terrorists who planned attacks during election result announcement next week.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia’s anti-terrorism forces have arrested at least 10 terrorists who planned attacks during next week’s announcement about the results of the contested April presidential election, police said on Friday (05/17).

“They want to take advantage of the momentum of mass gatherings to create chaos and unrest in the community. They target as many victims as possible, including the police. Therefore we asked the peoples not to carry out the rally because of the large potential of terror,” said Dedi Prasetyo, police spokesman during a press conference in Jakarta.

The arrest came as tensions escalated and security was tightened ahead of the May 22 announcement by the General Election Commission. Especially after opposition leader Prabowo Subianto said he would not accept the election results. The discovery of a structured, systematic and massive fact of fraud became the main reason for the opposition.

Even opposition supporters who have been conducting street demonstrations are planning to hold massive rallies during the announcement on May 22. They are supported by Front Pembela Islam (FPI) which plans to repeat the success of “Aksi 212” on Jakarta governor’s election in 2017.

Nearly 32,000 police and military personnel were on standby in the capital Jakarta, including troops brought in from other provinces, to guard the event, according to police data. “Through interrogation, we found the suspects planned to attack the mass meeting on May 21, 22 or 23,” Prasetyo said, referring to the demonstration planned for next week.

The suspects belong to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a group associated with the country’s largest Islamic State, and the authorities are hunting for more members, he added.

Previously, the authorities shot dead an Islamic militant and arrested six people for planning to attack police during the planned demonstration. So we take precautionary measures to optimally thwart such actions, said Prasetyo.

Police and military personnel will also make a line around the Election Supervisory Body headquarters in downtown Jakarta. The building is located on the main highway where the first terrorist attack in Indonesia claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) occurred in 2016.

Last week, supporters of opposition-held two street rally there to pressure the elections watchdog to act on his allegations of electoral fraud until May 22. The move to beef up security, particularly around the elections commission and supervisory body buildings, comes after police last week busted a terror cell.

The group was armed with homemade bombs and had the ability to circumvent electronic safeguards set up to prevent bombs from being detonated remotely by a terrorist using a cellphone or radio transmitter. These signal jammers are effective defensive devices used to protect large areas from a remotely operated improvised explosive device (IED) in military speak.

One of the suspects arrested during the raids by counter-terrorism police last Wednesday had modified the switching mechanism of an IED so that a bomb can be set off using Wi-Fi technology instead. This means the suspect could use Wi-Fi to detonate a bomb in the event that regular cellphone signals are jammed by the police during a protest, Prasetyo said.

“With that, he can put (their bombs) in some backpacks, and later he would just detonate them from a distance of 1km for example,” he opined, referring to a terror suspect he identified only by the initials EY.

Prasetyo disclosed a total of 8 people in Lampung and 2 people in Bekasi had been arrested in last week’s raid and confirmed that a manhunt is ongoing for other members of the terror cell, which is linked to the JAD.

The JAD, a local militant group with loose ties to ISIS, is responsible for a series of terror plots in Indonesia including the 2016 ISIS-inspired attack in Jakarta, as well as the coordinated suicide bombings of three churches and the local police station in Surabaya in May last year, which killed 14 people.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com

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