Indonesia’s counterterrorism squad arrests four suspects in different raids

Police stand guard as a car that was used to attack the police headquarters is examined in Pekanbaru, Indonesia. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Indonesia’s counterterrorism squad arrests four suspects in different raids

  • Terrorists who stormed the police headquarters in Pekanbaru with machetes had pledged allegiance to Daesh
  • The raid took place after police in Riau province shot dead four militants who stormed the police headquarters in the provincial capital, Pekanbaru, and attacked the police with machetes

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s special counterterrorism squad, Detachment 88, has taken into custody four people after they raided three houses early Wednesday morning in Tangerang on the southwestern outskirts of Jakarta. 

National police spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said in a televised press conference that the police arrested three men and detained a woman from the raid. However, he declined to comment further about the raid, saying the police were still investigating the case. 

The raid took place after police in Riau province shot dead four militants who stormed the police headquarters in the provincial capital, Pekanbaru, and attacked the police with machetes. 

Riau police spokesman Sunarto said the terrorists rammed their car into the police station where four of them were shot dead as they attacked the police while the driver tried to flee the scene. He killed a police officer and injured two journalists in the attempt but was later captured. 

Wasisto said the group, along with two other militants from South Sumatra, came to the police detention center in Depok, West Java, allegedly to launch an attack following a riot that erupted inside the facility, and were on a standoff after 155 militants held in the facility killed five police officers and took another one hostage. 

The standoff started late Tuesday last week and ended early on Thursday morning with all 155 militants surrendering unconditionally. 

“They came to Depok but returned after seeing the situation was back to normal there,” Wasisto said, adding that the two from South Sumatra were arrested in Palembang, the provincial capital, on Tuesday. 

“The other four were the ones who were shot dead this morning,” he said, adding that the men were believed to have pledged allegiance to Daesh. 

The attack was the latest in a string of militant attacks that have hit Indonesia since Sunday, beginning when a family of six suicide bombers, including young children, attacked three churches simultaneously in Indonesia’s second biggest city, Surabaya. 

Later in the evening, a bomb went off prematurely in a family apartment in Sidoarjo, near Surabaya. The police said the family of six had been planning to launch an attack in a place in Surabaya. Three siblings lost their parents and an older sibling in the blast. 

On Monday, a family of five blew themselves up at a checkpoint in Surabaya police station. One eight-year-old child survived the blast. The attack killed at least 13 people and injured at least 40. 

The National Commission on Violence against Women said although the women had voluntarily launched the attacks, their willingness to be actively involved in the mission was deeply rooted in unbalanced gender relations and women’s low bargaining position in the militant group’s highly masculine culture, which indoctrinates women to obey their men without question. 

“We are concerned that the militant groups are taking advantage of women’s strategic role as mothers that can instill their radical ideology to their children to become martyrs,” Thaufiek Zulbahari, one of the commissioners, told Arab News. 

“We condemned the use of women and children in all kinds of violent extremism,” he added.


Pyongyang hits Pence ‘stupid’ remarks, threatens to quit summit

Updated 8 min 58 sec ago
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Pyongyang hits Pence ‘stupid’ remarks, threatens to quit summit

TOKYO: North Korea has renewed its threat to pull out of a summit next month with President Donald Trump, saying it is just as ready to meet in a nuclear confrontation as at the negotiating table.
Pyongyang’s latest salvo follows recent comments by US Vice President Mike Pence suggesting the North may end up like Libya if it doesn’t move forward with denuclearization.
Choe Son Hui, the vice minister of foreign affairs, was quoted Thursday by the North’s state-run news agency slamming as “ignorant” and “stupid” comments Pence made in an interview with Fox News that compared North Korea to Libya, saying they showed he does not understand North Korea’s situation.
She also questioned whether the summit, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, would be worthwhile if the remarks reflect Washington’s position.
“We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us,” KCNA quoted her as saying. “Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States.”
The summit plan has hit a number of speed bumps recently as both sides have begun taking tougher positions and trading barbs. Trump met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday at the White House for consultations and suggested the summit could be delayed. But the US says it is still working on making it happen.
Choe, a veteran diplomat and former head of the North America desk at the Foreign Ministry, was responding to comments Pence made to Fox News this week that it would be a “mistake” for the North Koreans to think they can “play” Trump. Pence said both the Clinton and Bush administrations had been “played” by the North Korean government.
“We offered concessions to the North Korean regime in exchange for promises to end their nuclear weapons program, only to see them break those promises and abandon them,” he said, adding that if Pyongyang does not go along with talks to give up its nuclear weapons, Washington could return to the “Libya model.”
That suggestion, which was made earlier this month by National Security Adviser John Bolton and also sparked an outraged response from the North, is especially inflammatory to Pyongyang.
The Libya model refers to negotiations in 2004 that led to the shipping of nuclear components to the US from Libya under Muammar Qaddafi. But in Pyongyang’s mind the most important part of the story is what came after that. Qaddafi was deposed after a 42-year reign and killed in 2011 — the year Kim assumed power in North Korea — while his country spiraled into chaos.
“In view of the remarks of the US high-ranking politicians who have not yet woken up to this stark reality and compare the DPRK to Libya that met a tragic fate, I come to think that they know too little about us,” she said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name.
She added: “To borrow their words, we can also make the US taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now.”
How seriously the North would really consider calling off the summit isn’t entirely clear, however.
Meeting with Trump as an equal on the world stage would be an important moment for Kim and Choe couched her statement carefully, noting that she would only recommend the North Korean leader withdraw from the meeting if Washington “clings to unlawful and outrageous acts.”
North Korea was also expected to go through with a major gesture of goodwill ahead of the summit by dismantling its nuclear test site. The North, which has vowed to stop all underground nuclear testing and intercontinental ballistic missile launches, has invited foreign media to the remote site to observe a ceremony to mark the closing.
The ceremony was expected to be held Thursday or Friday, depending on the weather.