Indonesia tightens security ahead of presidential race result

Unofficial counts by private pollsters show incumbent President Joko Widodo winning the election over ex-general Prabowo Subianto. (AFP)
Updated 15 May 2019

Indonesia tightens security ahead of presidential race result

  • Nearly 32,000 police and military personnel are on standby in the capital Jakarta to safeguard the event
  • Announcement to confirm unofficial counts that shows incumbent President Joko Widodo winning the race

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s counter-terrorism squad has rounded up at least 10 people suspected of planning attacks during next week’s announcement of the results of April’s hotly contested presidential election, police said on Wednesday.
The arrests come as tension runs high and security is tightened in the world’s third-largest democracy ahead of the May 22 announcement by the General Election Commission (KPU).
It is expected to confirm unofficial counts by private pollsters that showed incumbent President Joko Widodo winning the race over ex-general Prabowo Subianto last month.
Nearly 32,000 police and military personnel are on standby in the capital Jakarta, including troops drafted in from other provinces, to safeguard the event, national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said.
“Through interrogation we found the suspects planned to attack mass gatherings on May 21, 22 or 23,” Prasetyo said, referring to demonstrations planned for next week.
“Their aim is to create chaos and target as many victims as possible, including police.”
The suspects belonged to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), the largest Daesh-linked group in the country, and authorities were on the hunt for more members, he added.
Last week authorities shot dead one Islamist militant and detained six for plotting to attack police during the planned demonstrations.
Prabowo has refused to concede and his team has made accusations of “massive cheating and irregularities” in the voting and vote-counting process.
“We have won the mandate of the people,” the former special forces commander told hundreds of supporters at a campaign event on Tuesday.
“If we give up, that means we are giving in to unfairness, and that means we are betraying our own country and our people.”
His team has threatened to resort to “people power”-style street protests, although it has pledged they will be peaceful.
With more than 80 percent of ballots counted, Widodo is leading by 12 percentage points, with 56 percent of the vote, the election commission says.


Afghans honor Japanese aid worker killed in ambush

Updated 07 December 2019

Afghans honor Japanese aid worker killed in ambush

  • On Saturday, in a memorial ceremony after accompanying the body to Kabul airport, Ghani called Nakamura a hero
  • “Nakamura was a great personality who dedicated his life to the goodness and strengthening of Afghanistan’s deprived people,” Ghani said

KABUL: A 73-year-old Japanese aid worker killed in an ambush outside Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan has been described as a “hero” by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Testu Nakamura and five fellow aid workers died when gunmen attacked their car on Wednesday.
Tributes to the popular aid worker continued to pour in on Saturday with candlelight vigils held in different areas of the country. Schools erected posters of the aid worker while the national airline displayed images of him on its aircraft. 
“The level of grief and respect expressed by Afghans show how much people loved him. None of our current leaders would receive so much respect and attention should any of them die like this Japanese aid worker,” Rasoul Dad, a civil servant, told Arab News on Saturday.
Nakamura’s wife, daughter and three of his colleagues, including a childhood friend, arrived in Kabul on Friday as the Afghan government prepared to return his body to Japan.
The Afghan leader met them at the presidential palace and described Nakamura as a “hardworking personality.”
On Saturday, in a memorial ceremony after accompanying the body to Kabul airport, Ghani called Nakamura a hero.
“Nakamura was a great personality who dedicated his life to the goodness and strengthening of Afghanistan’s deprived people,” Ghani said.
The Afghan national flag was placed on Nakamura’s coffin as his family, accompanied by Japanese Ambassador Mitsuji Suzuka, left for Japan.
Nakamura, who spent more than half his life helping Afghan refugees as a doctor in Peshawar and later worked on several projects in the country, has become a national hero for many Afghans.
He was granted honorary citizenship several years ago after deciding to remain in the country despite the attempted abduction and murder of one of his colleagues.