JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo handed over the security of 2019 election results on May 22 to the apparatus. National Police, Army, and State Intelligence Agency, he said, must be able to anticipate security threat, act of terror and others, that could disrupt the country’ stability.
“I leave this country’ security to the police, army, and even the Intelligence Agency to anticipate the threat of terror until the announcement on May 22, as they have arrested nearly 30 suspected militants,” he told reporters in Jakarta on late Sunday (05/19).
The country is on edge following plans by an Islamist group to hold a two-day rally at the General Elections Commission (GEC) starting May 21 to 22, to protest the impending results of presidential polls.
The call for Moslems to throng the streets around the GEC and Election Watch Body’ headquarters in downtown Jakarta has been circulating on social media at the weekend – just before Wednesday’ deadline for the official vote count to be completed.
The rally organizers, who identified themselves as “Persaudaraan Alumni 212,” (PA 212) are calling the mass gathering a “constitutional Jihad.” The PA 212 refers to people who took part in a rally held in the capital more than two years ago on Dec 2, against former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama for insulting Islam.
The 2017 protest, led by far-right Muslims, better known locally as the Front Pembela Islam (FPI), had threatened to destabilize the country during the gubernatorial election, which was marred by religiosity and sectarianism.
FPI leader Rizieq Shihab, who is in self-exile in Saudi Arabia to avoid police questioning in connection with a pornography case, is seen on the publicity material for the upcoming rally, flanked by opposition presidential Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno.
The photos of the two candidates appear to have been taken from their official campaign documents, with the hardline Muslim cleric digitally added between them.
Opposition leader Subianto is expected to lose the April 17 presidential race by 11 percentage points, according to Sunday’ tally of almost 90 percent of the votes by the GEC. The former general, however, has been adamant that he will not accept the results after making repeated allegations of electoral fraud.
He has claimed that opposition had lost votes due to the millions of fictitious names added to voter rolls, the exploitation of state apparatus, money politics, precast ballots and data entry errors by the election commission.
It is unclear how Subianto or his campaign team will respond the election results on Wednesday, although a close aide has said the former general has no plan to contest the GEC tally in court as he did when he first lost to Widodo at the 2014 election, because it would be a “waste of time”.
A campaign official, however, has denied reports in social media saying that Subianto will lead the PA 212 protest this week. “It is not true,” Ferry Juliantono, a spokesman for the opposition campaign committee, told reporters on Saturday (05/18).
The long election period, which started as early as August last year with the nomination of candidates for the polls, is set to come to an end later this month. GEC chairman Arief Budiman has confirmed that the elections commission will finalize the vote count by Wednesday, and declare the winner of the presidential race no later than May 28.
Reports of the rally this week raised similar fears among many in the city, prompting foreign missions such as the United States and Singapore embassy to issue a warning of “heightened risk of terrorism” and mass demonstrations in Jakarta, as well as other cities in Indonesia, such as Surabaya and Medan.
“Avoid areas where demonstrations or political rallies are occurring and exercise caution if within the vicinity of any large gathering. Stay current with media coverage of local events, be aware of your surroundings, and practice personal security awareness at all times” the US Embassy said in a statement late on Friday.
The security alerts also come after national police warned of possible attacks by terrorists targeting mass gatherings of people and security forces during the public rallies outside the election commission building. Police also said more than 32,000 troops, including hundreds supplemented from other provinces, have been mobilized to secure the city.
National Police spokesman, Muhammad Iqbal, told reporters in a briefing on Friday that the police have arrested 30 suspects – linked to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) – from across the country in connection with a plot to strike at the elections commission on Wednesday. Several improvised explosive devices, as well as other bomb-making material, have been seized from the suspects during the police raids.
Some of the suspects have had paramilitary training and went to Syria as foreign fighters, Iqbal said. The police also revealed that some of the suspects have learned how to use Wi-Fi to detonate explosive devices, but it was not immediately clear how advanced their plans were.
Detonating bombs using a Wi-Fi network is considered a new technique, he adds and gets around using phone signals, which can be jammed during rallies involving large crowds.
“If there is (cell phone) jammer, then phones are not operable but the Wi-Fi signal will not be disturb, especially when using a signal amplifier,” Iqbal said.
The police arrested EY, a local leader of JAD in Bekasi, near the capital Jakarta, on May 8 in the capital for plotting attacks during next week’ announcement of the presidential election. JAD does not have an official spokesman, and it is not known if any of the suspects have retained legal representation.
“For this group, democracy is an ideology that they do not agree with. This would be dangerous because they want to attack anyone, including officers, with bombs,” Iqbal said, adding that the police advise people not to make unnecessary trips on the day the results are announced.
Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org