Indonesia police raid terrorist hide-out; 1 dead
JAKNEWS.COM---An elite anti-terrorism squad arrested Indonesia's most-wanted man and two other suspects Wednesday (23/6) after raiding their hide-out on the country's main island of Java, police and witnesses said. At least one person was killed and several weapons seized, including a bomb in a backpack.
National police spokesman Maj. Gen. Edward Aritonang said among those taken alive was Abdullah Sunata, an alleged leader of a network that was reportedly plotting a Mumbai-style attack in the world's most populous Muslim country and several high-profile assassinations, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
At least 60 suspected members of the terror network have been arrested in recent months. Another 13 have been killed, prompting some critics to say valuable intelligence was being lost.
The anti-terror unit raided the suspects' rented home in Cungkrungan, a village in Central Java province, late Wednesday afternoon.
"Police have successfully arrested Abdullah Sunata," Aritonang told The Associated Press, adding that two others also were detained. "The one who was killed resisted and wounded one of our officers."
At least nine shots were fired, Jimo, a neighbor, told the AP. The area was cleared of residents while experts tried to detonate a bomb discovered inside a backpack, he and other witnesses said. At least three revolvers also were seized.
Indonesia has battled Islamist militants with links to al-Qaida since 2002, when extremists bombed a nightclub district on Bali island, killing 202 people, most of them foreigners. There have been three other major suicide bombings since then, the most recent targeting two luxury hotels in Jakarta a year ago.
Though hundreds of suspected militants have been captured or killed in a security crackdown, terrorists have proved to be a resilient foe.
The new network uncovered in February in westernmost Aceh province was comprised of extremists from several different militant groups. Authorities discovered their jihadi training camp and found a cache of M-16 assault rifles, revolvers and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Some of those arrested in those earlier raids reportedly told police they were against suicide bombings because they risked the lives of innocent Muslims and instead were planning simultaneous gun attacks on hotels frequented by foreigners.
Ken Conboy, a Jakarta-based expert on Southeast Asian terrorist groups, said it would be significant if Sunata was taken in alive Wednesday.
"He'd be able to connect a lot of the dots about the Aceh operations," from funding and training to potential targets, he said. "What were these guys going to be used for?".