Jakarta – The National Police have foiled an attempt to explode bombs in business districts across Jakarta, which was allegedly planned and organized by a university lecturer and a retired Navy officer.
Abdul Basith, a Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) lecturer, and former naval officer Sony Santoso have been arrested along with eight other suspects who they had recruited from outside Jakarta. They planned to explode the devices during the "Mujahid 212 Rally" on Sept. 28.
Abdul, who has reportedly admitted to planning, recruiting and financing the attack, said that he prepared the devices, using the type of explosives used by fishermen, to be planted in seven locations in business centers around the city.
"[The targets were] Otista, Kelapa Gading, Senen, Glodok and Taman Anggrek," Abdul said. He said that the bombs were aimed at business centers to target Chinese-Indonesians in the country.
The Mujahid 212 rally was organized by various Islamist groups claiming to have been inspired by the student rally on Sept. 24 protesting against controversial bills at the House of Representatives.
Abdul was arrested at his house in Tangerang, Banten, along with Sony on Sept. 28. Abdul allegedly recruited two men, identified only as S and OS, who later gathered the rest of the group. S allegedly recruited four other persons who had been tasked with building the bombs and detonating them. OS allegedly found the people who collected the components for the devices.
"All of them have been named suspects," said Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo, a National Police spokesperson.
Abdul said the bombs were initially intended to go off on Sept. 24, but the people tasked with the bombings only reached Jakarta that day, so the plan had been delayed four days. However, they were all arrested before being able to carry out the attack.
Abdul said the plan was discussed at the house of Maj. Gen. (ret) Soenarko, a former Army Special Forces (Kopassus) commander in Ciputat, South Tangerang, on Sept. 20.
Abdul said that Soenarko suggested that they attack seven spots. Two other suspects, identified only as L and M, also attended the meeting, and the former was willing to prepare the explosives. "We didn't want to bomb people, just business centers," Abdul said.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono said that the bomb makers were recruited from Papua and Ambon.
Despite previous rumors that Abdul was arrested for possession of Molotov cocktails, Argo said the devices were actually fish bombs filled with nails. In all 29 bombs were stored in Abdul's house.
Research and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir said Abdul would be suspended from his job as a lecturer at the state-run university.
"According to the law, we have to suspend him," said Muhammad, adding that if found guilty and sentenced to two or more years in prison Abdul would be dismissed.
IPB rector Arif Satria said he was still waiting for an official letter from the police to clarify Abdul's status prior to suspending him. "We are still waiting for the administrative process," he said. (ami)