Adi Marsiela, Bandung – Police have named seven suspects in connection with the fatal suicide bomb attack earlier this month in Bandung, West Java.
National Police public information head Brig. Gen. Ahmad Ramadhan said six suspects had been detained in West Java and one other suspect in Central Java. He added that four of the suspects were in detention while the rest were being questioned.
An individual suspected of being an Islamist militant killed one police officer and wounded 11 people, including a civilian, in the bombing attack on Dec. 7 at the Astana Anyar District Police station in Bandung.
Bomber Agus Sujatno, who was killed in the explosion, is believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State-inspired terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and had been jailed previously on terrorism charges.
"The suspects are part of JAD," Ahmad told a press conference on Wednesday.
Ahmad said the suspects knew that Agus was planning to attack the police station and that they all knew how to make bombs.
The bombing attack was carried out during the morning roll call on Dec. 7 at Astana Anyar police station. Several officers tried to stop Agus as he charged into the station's compound, brandishing a knife.
Second Adj. Insp. Sofyan was killed in the explosion, while 10 other officers and a local resident were injured.
Agus was released from prison in late 2021 after he was convicted in 2017 for assembling a bomb using an electric cooking pot and targeting the Cicendo district office in Bandung in a JAD operation.
Investigators found dozens of documents at the crime scene that appeared to protest the controversial new Criminal Code, but Sr. Comr. Aswin Siregar, head of operational assistance at the Densus 88 counterterror unit, said the police were looking into a bigger motive behind the attack.
"Of course, it's not that simple. There's a network, there are other causes that drove him to commit a bigger attack," Aswin said, without providing additional details.
Islamist militants have carried out multiple attacks in recent years across the archipelago, targeting churches, police stations and venues frequented by foreigners.
Members of JAD were responsible for a series of suicide bombings in 2018 at three churches in Surabaya, East Java. Three families, which had also attached vests carrying explosives on their young children, carried out the attacks that killed at least 30 people.In 2021, a pair of newlyweds who were also JAD members carried out a suicide bombing at a cathedral in Makassar, South Sulawesi, killing only themselves.
The group, which is now largely splintered, has been significantly weakened by a wave of arrests by counterterrorism police. (dre)