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Indonesia: Dozens of suspected militants caught in Java

More than 35 arrested for engaging in military-style training in mountains of Central Java; 5 others caught in East Java for suspected links to fatal attack last month

Indonesia: Dozens of suspected militants caught in Java

Jakarta Raya

By Ainur Rohmah

MALANG, Indonesia

Indonesia’s anti-terrorism squad has arrested more than 40 suspected militants in raids on Java island, including those believed to be linked to last month’s fatal attack and others involved in military-style training, police said Saturday.

A police spokesperson in Central Java province said more than 35 people who had participated in military-style training on the slopes of Mount Sumbing in Temanggung had been captured.

"They conducted semi-military training because they used air rifles and bayonets,” quoted Commissioner Pol Liliek Darmanto as saying.

The group had reportedly embarked into the middle of the jungle overnight wearing training outfits resembling those used by military personnel and carrying sleeping bags, prompting villagers to report the suspicious behavior.

Police also announced Saturday that five people suspected of involvement in the Jan. 14 attack that left eight people dead in Jakarta were caught Friday night in Malang City, East Java province.

Tribunnews reported that the raid resulted in a car chase, which ended with Detachment 88 personnel firing shots at the escape vehicle.

National police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti was quoted by as saying that those arrested “are suspected to be linked to the bombings on Thamrin [street]" on Jan. 14.

He did not provide details about their identities, but said they were part of an umbrella organization of extremist groups in Indonesia that have pledged allegiance to Daesh and sent members to war-torn Syria.

"Ideologically, they are all the same," Badrodin said of the Jemaah Ansar Khilafah Daulah Nusantara (JAKDN).

The JAKDN consists of several groups including the East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) -- led by the country’s most wanted man Abu Wardah Santoso -- and the Jemaah Islamiyah -- al-Qaeda’s Southeast Asia affiliate that was blamed for the 2002 Bali attacks that killed 202 people, mostly Australians.

Other member groups reportedly include the West Indonesia Mujahideen, Jemaah Anshorut Tauhid, Solo Hisbah team and Tawhid Wal Jihad.

The JAKDN is led by Aman Abdurrahman, who is suspected of masterminding the Jakarta attack despite having been jailed at the high security prison island of Nusakambangan since 2010 on charges of helping militant training in northern Aceh province.

He and fellow inmate Abu Bakar Ba'asyir -- allegedly JAKDN’s advisor -- are believed to have the ability to radicalize other prisoners, including one of the four perpetrators killed in the January attack.

Abdurrahman is suspected of having masterminded the series of bombings, which resulted in shootouts, with Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian believed to have a prominent role in Daesh in Syria.

The coordinating minister for politics, legal and security affairs, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, told national news agency Antara last month that police were investigating reports of correspondence between Abdurrahman and Naim.

Malang City Police Chief Yudo Nugroho told Metro TV on Saturday that police are still searching for evidence at the house where the raid was conducted and where they have so far recovered weapons and books with extremist content.

Indonesia has been on alert against extremist activities over the last year, further heightening security measures after a series of bombing and shooting in central Jakarta left four civilians and four Daesh-linked attackers dead on Jan. 14.

Last week, police chief Haiti said that since the incident, police had captured 33 people -- 17 of them with alleged direct links to the attack, and 16 planning to conduct terror acts in the near future.

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