Editorial – Breakthrough

The authorities’ success in breaking up a purported terrorism ring is reassuring on two fronts: the police here, working with their counterparts overseas, notably the Australian Federal Police, are leaving no stone unturned in ferreting out hate-filled militants bent on destroying life and causing untold misery, personal as well as economic. It also provides comfort to everyone living here, and abroad, that the likelihood of further tragedies is fast dimming as the evildoers are swiftly rounded up.

The announcement this week by Indonesian and Australian police that they had broken up a terrorist cell and made eight arrests, in joint operations last month, should also serve as a stark warning to other crazed militants that their days are indeed numbered.

During the raids in Java, in which one of the suspects was shot dead by police, a stunning amount of deadly weapons and explosives was covered, according to the police, who say they found 20 bombs, 730 kilograms of explosives, 45 kilograms of dynamite, nearly 200 detonators, weapons and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

Clearly a massive attack in the works has been foiled, not only possibly here but also in the wider region in which Al Qaeda-linked cells are festering, notably in the southern Philippines.

And these suspects, say police, are some of the same men behind deadly blasts in Jakarta and elsewhere in recent years. Their apprehension marks a major move forward in the battle against terrorism, but there is much more to be done, including picking up fugitive Noordin Mohammad Top, believed to be a leading figure in the militant movement and who has repeatedly escaped police raids.

Police believe Top, whose compatriot Azahari Husin died in a police raid in Java in November 2005, is still in this country, and they must make extra efforts now to track him down. Gaining grass roots knowledge is vital in this endeavor, which is why operatives must be placed at village level to interact with locals and gain relevant information.

The country is at war with terrormongers, and it is winning.

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