Farouk Arnaz, Jakarta – At least 31 suspected members of shadowy homegrown terror group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) have been arrested since the suicide bombing at a Catholic church in Makassar, police said on Wednesday.
The latest raids were conducted on Tuesday, in which seven suspects were arrested by counterterrorism squad Detachment 88 in separate places.
"That brings the total number of suspected terrorists arrested by the Detachment 88 to 31 since the suicide bombing at Katedral Church," National Police spokesman Chief Comr. Ahmad Ramadhan said in Jakarta.
The bombers were married couple indentified as Muh Lukman, 26, and wife Yogi Sahfitri Fortuna aka Dewi. They were killed instantly in the March 28 attack which also injured at least 20 churchgoers, security guards and bystanders.
The couple are believed to be members of JAD, which the Indonesian court declared as an organization committed to acts of terror with proven ties to the radical Islamic State group, and ordered its immediate disbandment in July 2018.
The United States government designated JAD a terrorist organization in January 2017, in a move to disrupt Islamic State operations in Southeast Asia.
JAD is currently the most active terror cell in Indonesia, blamed for a string of major attacks since at least 2018. The group is notorious for encouraging family members to get involved in attacks, sometimes with unsophisticated weapons like a kitchen knife.
On May 13, 2018, a family of six carried out coordinated suicide bombings at three churches in the East Java capital, Surabaya.
Hours later, a bomb accidentally exploded at a multi-story housing complex in nearby Sidoarjo, killing a woman and her daughter. The husband was shot dead by police, who immediately raided the scene afterwards, as he was holding a detonator. Their couple's three other children, aged between 10 and 15, were rescued from the house. Police confirmed that the family were JAD members.
The following morning, five members of another family blew themselves up on two motorcycles at the gate of the Surabaya Metropolitan Police headquarters. One of the children survived after being thrown from the bike by the blast.
In October 2019, a man attacked then chief security minister Wiranto with a knife in the west Java town of Pandeglang, as the attacker's wife stood nearby.
Authorities said the group was founded by death row terror convict Aman Abdurrahman aka Abu Musa, who was found guilty for a multiple charges of terrorism and is now being detained at the Nusakambangan prison island.