Apriadi Gunawan and Ruslan Sangadji, Medan and Palu – Two men who were shot dead on Saturday in Deli Serdang regency, North Sumatra, were allegedly the assemblers of a bomb that recently exploded at the Medan Police headquarters.
North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Agus Andrianto said the two were shot in a gun fight with the police's Densus 88 counterterrorism squad when a team ambushed four suspects, including the two who were shot, while they were riding motorcycles on a street in Hamparan Perak district in the regency.
One suspect was detained while the other escaped to nearby plantations. "The bomb that they had assembled was used by [a suicide bomber] to attack the Medan Police headquarters," said Agus.
A man who claimed he was an on-demand motorcycle taxi driver entered the police headquarters on Wednesday and blew himself up, killing himself and injuring six others.
The police have thus far named 18 suspects, including the wife of the suicide bomber. Also on Saturday, the police detained another two suspects in Medan and three suspects in Aceh.
A day before the operation in Hamparan Perak, a joint team of Densus 88 and the North Sumatra Police discovered a hut that was allegedly used the terrorist group's operation center in Sicanang subdistrict in Medan. It is also suspected that the group had assembled the explosives in the hut.
Djuhadi, 75, a resident in Sicanang, said the hut that the police had identified as the center of the group's operation was actually someone's home that had been left empty for four to five years.
"The members of the group has turned the place into a Quran study premise and also a place to practice archery," he told The Jakarta Post.
Djuhadi said there were about 20 people in the group that had often frequented the house and their leaders were identified as local residents.
In Palu, Central Sulawesi, National Police chief Gen. Idham Azis said the suspects that were detained hailed from North Sumatra, Riau, Ambon, Banten, Central Java and East Java.
"We are still working hard to uncover the network because, actually, the perpetrator was also a victim," he said.