Police HQs may be next bombing targets
Damar Harsanto and Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Semarang
Amid their aggressive campaign to arrest suspected terrorists behind the string of bombings in the country, police revealed on Wednesday that terrorists were ready to strike back, with the National and Jakarta Police Headquarters on their priority list of targets.
"The suspects that we arrested earlier confessed that they already had a plan to launch another terror attack in the capital," said National Police chief of detectives, Comr. Gen. Erwin Mappaseng.
"They had discussed several bombing plans, including the targeting of both police headquarters."
Erwin said that the confession was obtained from the detained suspects after they had been interrogated. He said that they had admitted to surveying both headquarters as possible bombing targets.
Another top police official said that the suspects had also planned to target six to eight office buildings. The official declined to elaborate.
The suspects were arrested for their alleged role in the bombing at JW Marriott Hotel, South Jakarta, on Aug. 5, which killed 12 people and wounded 147 others. Since that attack, police have begun to beef up security.
At the National Police Headquarters, all motorists are subject to security checks, including police cars, as well as pedestrians carrying bags.
Jakarta Police Headquarters has also anticipated possible attacks by rerouting access for motorists to the rear of the compound instead of the front, which would otherwise take them past the office of its chief.
A police detective, who is in charge of the investigation into the Marriott bombing, said earlier that top police officials had also received bomb threats on the phone. Therefore, officials are now being guarded, including Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Makbul Padmanagara who is always accompanied by at least six policemen.
Police also revealed further progress on the identification of two suspects, who allegedly purchased the metallic blue Toyota Kijang van that was packed with explosives and fuel for the bombing.
"We've identified them as Ismail and Arief. They are from Sumatra. Although they're on the run, we believe they're still somewhere in the country," said Erwin.
In the investigation into bombing suspects allegedly connected to Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), listed by the UN as a terrorist network, police received assistance from Arabic language expert Ma'mum Effendy Nur.
Ma'mum translated documents seized from terrorist suspects at their rented house on Jl. Taman Sri Rejeki Selatan VII/2, Semarang, Central Java. The lecturer from Walisongo State Academy of Islamic Studies said most of the documents were manuals for making guns, mines and bombs and carrying out military training and operations.
The documents, a total of 6,254 pages, were dedicated in the first place to Syech Abdullah Azzam, a commander of the Afghanistan fighters. Azzam was later replaced by Osama bin Laden, to whom the documents were also dedicated.
"However, the contents of the documents mentioned neither (terrorist organization) al-Qaeda nor JI," Ma'mum said.
The documents were written during the 1980s when Afghanistan was at war with the Soviet Union.
Ma'mum said that whoever had kept the documents would have found them difficult to understand.
"Only those who had learned Arabic in depth could have understood their contents," he said, adding that some of the terms used in the book were unclear, like "sprinkle" to refer to mines or "hexagon" for gun.
Terrorist suspects in police custody
date date Note
of arrest of detention 1. Ahmad Sofyan, alias Tamin Aug. 14 Aug. 20 - 2. Samiyan, alias Zaid, alias Aug. 17 Aug. 24
Abdullah - 3. Lutfi Fadillah, alias Zubair Aug. 17 Aug. 24 - 4. Solichin, alias Rofi Aug. 18 Aug. 24 suspected head of survey team for the planned bombings 5. Slamet Widodo, alias Pepen, Aug. 27 Sept. 2 suspected supplier of equipment and explosives
alias Ulfah 6. Samsul Bahri, alias Farhan Sept. 2 Sept. 6 suspected member of bomb-making team 7. Suradi, alias Abu Utsman, Sept. 8 Sept. 14 suspected of harboring Bali bombing suspects
alias Abu Zaid 8. Iksan Miarso bin Warno Sept. 8 Sept. 14 suspected of harboring Bali bombing suspects
Wibakso 9. Muhaimin Yahya, alias Ziad Sept. 11 suspected of harboring Mariott, Bali bombers 10. Solichin, alias Soleh Sept. 14 suspected of knowing about the planned bombings which? 11. Utomo, alias Abu Faruk Sept. 14 suspected of knowing about the plan which? 12. Yasir, alias Tsabalah Sept. 14 suspected of knowing about the planwhich? 13. Bambang Tutuko, alias Sept. 14 suspected of preparing venues for meetings
Abu Umar 14. Fadli Sept. 13 15. Samuri, alias Farid, Sept. 1 Sept. 7 suspected of knowing about the plan which?
Source: National Police