Asia - Pacific

Indonesia: Fertilizer seized in Bali not terror-linked

Police say evidence suggests 30 tons of fertilizer found on vessel from Malaysia was intended for illegal dynamite fishing

Ekip   | 22.09.2016
Indonesia: Fertilizer seized in Bali not terror-linked

Jakarta Raya

By Ainur Rohmah

TUBAN, Indonesia

Indonesian police announced Thursday that 30 tons of fertilizer seized from a vessel from Malaysia near the resort island of Bali was not related to terrorism but to “money laundering”.

Authorities stopped the ship, which was smuggling ammonium nitrate wrapped in 1,500 sacks, and took its six crew members into custody off eastern Bali.

It was reportedly headed to the south of Sulawesi island, where a militant group that has pledged allegiance to Daesh operates.

The director of the national police’s special economic crimes department dismissed any relation between the fertilizer -- which can be used in explosives -- and terror, saying initial evidence suggested the involvement of an international syndicate involved in money laundering.

"The case is still being investigated. We cooperate with the Intelligence Agency, and Customs and Excise Agency," quoted Brig. Gen. Agung Setya as telling reporters.

He added that the fertilizer was seized in a form for use in illegal dynamite fishing.

Last week, police had seized 1.7 tons of ammonium nitrate packed in 61 sacks from a warehouse in Southeast Sulawesi province, arresting its suspected owner and launching an investigation into the case.

In August, national police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian had instructed personnel in Bali to remain on alert, warning that the island could be a potential target of a terrorist attack.

Police in Sumatra island later arrested a suspected Daesh-linked militant they accused of preparing an attack on Bali, and recovered a container holding around 150 grams of explosive substances from his workplace.

In 2002, Bali witnessed a series of bombings that that killed 202 people -- mostly Australians -- in an attack blamed on Jemaah Islamiyah, al-Qaeda’s Southeast Asia affiliate.

Indonesia has been on alert against extremist activities over the past year, further heightening security measures after a January attack in Jakarta killed eight people, including four Daesh-affiliated assailants.

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