In a proactive move, Indonesia’s National Police counter-terrorism squad, Detachment 88, has apprehended 59 suspected militants over the past month. The arrests spanned regions in Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and West Nusa Tenggara, targeting cells affiliated with Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
According to Chief Commissioner Aswin Siregar, spokesperson for Detachment 88, the detainees include 40 members linked to JAD and 19 associated with Jemaah Islamiyah. The JAD members face charges related to a plot aimed at disrupting the upcoming elections.
Addressing the press at the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta, Aswin revealed that the militants intended to undermine the electoral process, driven by the belief that democracy contradicts their faith. Their targets included election officials and security personnel.
As Indonesia gears up for crucial elections, slated to include the presidential election on February 14, 2024, these arrests highlight the persistent threat posed by extremist groups like Jemaah Islamiyah and JAD.
Jemaah Islamiyah, known for its regional militant agenda seeking to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia, gained notoriety for deadly attacks in the 2000s, including the twin Bali bombings in 2002.
JAD, considered a sympathizer of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has been involved in sporadic attacks in Indonesia in recent years. The arrests underscore the government’s commitment to maintaining security and ensuring the smooth conduct of the upcoming elections amidst potential threats from extremist elements.