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Police arrest seven suspected militants in Indonesia

Associated Press - December 15, 2019

Jakarta – Indonesian police said on Saturday they have arrested seven suspected Islamic militants in the country's easternmost Papua province as authorities beef up security ahead of Christmas and New Year's celebrations.

Papua police's deputy chief, Yakobus Marjuki, said the elite counterterrorism squad arrested a man, identified only as Karwanto, in a raid at a house in Sentani town on December 5 after receiving a tip from intelligence that some members of the extremist group have fled to Papua from other Indonesian islands since last year.

His arrest led police to six other suspects who were captured in the past week in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province. Police seized knives, laptops, explosive materials and a bomb from three houses rented by the suspects.

Marjuki declined to say what the suspects had planned in predominantly Christian Papua province. He said those arrested are suspected members of a local affiliate of the Islamic State group known as Jama'ah Anshorut Daulah, or JAD, from Lampung and Medan on Sumatra island.

JAD has been implicated in numerous attacks in Indonesia over the past two years and was designated a terror organisation by the US in 2017.

The arrests come as authorities announced on Friday the launch of an annual security operation to secure the year-end festivities.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has carried out a sustained crackdown on Islamic militants since bombings on the tourist island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.

The Jemaah Islamiyah military network, which was blamed for the Bali attacks, was neutralised following the arrests of hundreds of its militants and leaders. But new threats have emerged in recent times from Islamic State group-inspired radicals who have targeted security forces and local "infidels" instead of Westerners.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/police-arrest-seven-suspected-militants-in-indonesia-20191215-p53k1q.html