Indonesia police identify couple behind Philippines church blast

The January 27 Jolo cathedral attack killed 22 people and wounded more than 100. (AFP)
Updated 05 September 2019
0

Indonesia police identify couple behind Philippines church blast

  • Couple earlier tried to go to Syria to join the Daesh
  • They subsequently underwent an Indonesian government deradicalization program

JAKARTA: An Indonesian militant and his wife carried out January suicide bombings at a Catholic cathedral in the Philippines that killed 21 people, Jakarta said Thursday, citing DNA tests.
Indonesian police said testing performed on the couple’s remains confirmed their involvement — after announcing in July that they believed the attackers were married couple Rullie Rian Zeke and his wife Ulfah Handayani Saleh.
“They shared DNA with their parents so it’s them,” Indonesian national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told reporters Thursday.
The couple had earlier tried to go to Syria to join the Daesh group and subsequently underwent an Indonesian government deradicalization program.
They were initially identified as suspects in the Philippines church attack by two militants linked to Indonesian terror network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).
Members of JAD staged a wave of suicide bombings at churches in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya last year, killing a dozen congregants.
In January, two explosions ripped through a cathedral on the Philippines’ Muslim-majority island of Jolo, killing worshippers at Sunday mass and security forces — raising fears about growing links between militants in Southeast Asia.
Daesh claimed responsibility for the cathedral blast, saying two suicide bombers detonated explosive belts.
The Jolo attack was carried out days after voters approved expanding Muslim self-rule in the south aimed at ending a decades-old rebellion for independence or autonomy for the sizeable Islamic minority of the mainly Catholic Philippines.
The church attack happened as the southern Philippines was put under martial rule after pro-Daesh militants seized the southern city of Marawi in May 2017.
Several months after the Philippines attack, Easter suicide bombings by Islamist extremists killed 258 people in Sri Lanka.


Pakistan’s anti-graft agency arrests opposition leader Khursheed Shah

Updated 18 September 2019

Pakistan’s anti-graft agency arrests opposition leader Khursheed Shah

  • Shah will be presented to court in Sukkur for remand on Thursday
  • Shah was taken away by nearly 20 personnel of NAB and police

KARACHI: Pakistan’s anti-graft agency said on Wednesday it had arrested opposition Pakistan People’s Party leader Khursheed Shah over questions around the source of his income.
“NAB’s Sukkur chapter has arrested Syed Khursheed Shah over ‘assets beyond means’,” the National Accountability Bureau said in a statement, refering to a class of case in which a defendant is accused of possessing assets higher than their known sources of income.
Shah will be presented to court in Sukkur for remand on Thursday, an official statement said.
The opposition stalwart was arrested in a joint operation by NAB’s Rawalpindi and Sukkur chapters, Pakistan’s DawnNewsTV reported. He will remain in custody on Wednesday evening.
Shah was taken away by nearly 20 personnel of NAB and police during a raid at his Islamabad home, the domestic staff at his house told DawnNewsTV.