35 detained in Java anti-terror raids

Central Java’s Mount Sumbing. Source: Wikimedia

Indonesia’s police claim to have detained numerous suspected Islamic extremists on Java, many of whom were reported to be involved in military-style training in a remote mountain base.

Around 30 suspects were reportedly arrested on Friday on Mount Sumbing in Temanggung as they trained, while five others were arrested in Malang, East Java province.

The police did not say if they were linked to the attacks on Jakarta last month which left four civilians and four assailants dead. So-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

An anonymous member of the Indonesian anti-terror police said it was a “raid on an arms training session” in the mountains of Central Java province.

The group were members of the Islamist group Jamaah Ansharus Syariah, the media reported.

“They conducted semi-military training because they used air rifles and bayonets,” police commissioner Liliek Darmanto was quoted saying.

The group apparently made its way into the jungle overnight wearing military clothing and carrying sleeping bags, prompting villagers to report them.

It was also reported that villagers heard gunfire and alerted the authorities.

Air guns, knives, religious books and flags were found at a house used by the group on their way to the training camp, Indonesia media reported.

Five alleged Islamic radicals were arrested in Malang by anti-terror officers, said city police chief Yudho Nugroho.

He said his officers had been “monitoring them for a while”.

Tribunnews reported that the raid ended in a car chase, with officers firing shots at the fleeing suspects.

Police said the five were suspected of involvement in the January 14 attacks on Jakarta.

Indonesia’s police chief, General Badrodin Haiti, announced that those arrested “are suspected to be linked to the bombings on Thamrin [Street]” on January 14.

He said they were part of an extremist umbrella organisation that had pledged to follow Islamic State and sent its recuits to fight in Syria.

“Ideologically, they are all the same,” Badrodin said of the Jemaah Ansar Khilafah Daulah Nusantara and Isis.

The January attacks were the country’s worst terror incident for seven years, prompting an archipelago-wide crackdown.

Jakarta announced last week that around 33 Islamists plotting attacks against the capital’s airport and other targets had been arrested. Approximately half of them were directly linked to the Jakarta attacks, police claimed.

Indonesia suffered several major bombings by Islamic militants between 2000 and 2009 but a crackdown weakened the extremist networks.