Indonesian police personnel show photographs of leader Para Wijayanto and various seized items, at a press conference in Jakarta on Monday. AFP
Indonesian police have arrested the leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network linked to al-Qaeda, authorities said on Tuesday, on suspicion of recruiting members and sending them to Syria to train with extremist groups.
Counter-terrorism police also arrested at least four other suspects linked to Para Wijayanto, who experts say was a student of Abu Bakar Basyir, accused of being the mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people.
Wijayanto, who had been on the run since 2003 and had trained with militants in the southern Philippines, was arrested with his wife on Saturday on the outskirts of Jakarta, the capital.
“Jemaah Islamiyah remains a threat because their grand strategy is still to establish a caliphate,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told Reuters.
Indonesia’s elite counter-terrorism squad, Densus 88, was created in the wake of the 2002 Bali bombings to quash JI and similar groups in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
Security forces were seen as being successful in breaking up militant networks after key figures like Basyir were rounded up and jailed, but many went underground.
“There are still many JI members, and after the fall of Osama Bin Laden, they became sleeper cells,” said Stanislaus Riyanta, a terrorism analyst based in Jakarta.
“The fall of Islamic State may have left a gap for JI to rise again.”
Indonesia scrambled to tighten its anti-terrorism laws after a series of suicide bombings killed more than 30 people in the East Java city of Surabaya last year. Hundreds of people have been detained under the new laws since the beginning of 2019.
Indonesian police say they have arrested 36 suspected militants ahead of the presidential inauguration that will be attended by Asian leaders. National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said on Thursday the arrests in eight provinces
Police arrested six people during a demonstration in one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist areas on Sunday, where thousands of protesters sought to raise awareness among mainland Chinese visitors
At least 26 people, including many foreigners, were killed and 56 injured in a suicide bomb and gun attack claimed by Al Shabaab militants on a popular hotel in southern Somalia, a top regional official said on Saturday.
Violent winds of more than 100 kilometres per hour (60 miles per hour) blasted the central city of Wuhan on Friday night. Six people died and more than 200 were injured, authorities said, adding that around 30 homes had collapsed.
India reported 326,098 new confirmed cases and 3,890 deaths in the past 24 hours, though experts say both figures are an undercount. The Health Ministry had reported 343,144 cases on Friday and 362,727 on Thursday.
A family of 10 were killed early Saturday in an Israeli air strike on the western Gaza Strip, medics in the Palestinian enclave said.
All travellers coming from Oman and the UAE or those with travel history to these two countries within the last 14 days preceding arrival shall be prohibited from entering the Philippines beginning 12.01 am of May 15, 2021, until 11.59 of May 31.