Beritasatu, Jakarta – Members of militant group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah have tried to go into hiding in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, police said on Thursday following the arrests of eight suspected militants there.
Police launched separate operations in the province's capital Jayapura earlier this month and arrested eight JAD members from North Sumatra and Lampung.
"We arrested the eight suspected militants for conducting activities that according to the law may constitute as crimes," National Police spokesman Chief Comr. Asep Adi Saputra told reporters at his office in South Jakarta.
Interrogation of the suspects revealed they had plans to extend the JAD network to Indonesia's eastern regions, but there was no indication they were planning immediate attacks in the area, Asep said.
"They have been cornered in many other areas in the country, so they moved there. But we found no indications they were planning to carry out attacks in Papua," he said.
The suspects were detained at a Papua Police facility before being flown to Jakarta for further questioning on Tuesday.
JAD has been blamed for a series of attacks in Indonesia over the last few years, the latest of which include the stabbing in October of then chief security minister Wiranto and a suicide bomb attack at the Medan Metropolitan Police headquarters in November.
Papua Police Chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said the militants had come to Papua to do paramilitary training.
"They ran away from Medan and Lampung and ended up here to do some training, before they could launch attacks somewhere else," Paulus said on Tuesday.
"They were arrested after we collected convincing evidence against them. We don't arrest people without a reason," the officer said.