One of the masterminds behind terror attacks on Jakarta in January was a convict on death row, Indonesian police revealed on Friday.
JAKARTA: One of the masterminds behind a series of terror attacks that hit Jakarta on Jan 14 is a convict on death row, Iwan Kurniawan or Rois, Indonesian police told reporters on Thursday (Mar 3), adding Bali, an airport and an international school in the capital had also been considered targets.
Currently, Rois is awaiting his sentence for his role in the 2004 bombings at the Australian embassy in Jakarta.
Since the brazen assault in Thamrin business district, more than 40 suspects have been arrested; six of them are directly linked to the gunfire and bombings that killed eight people, including the four terrorists.
“The network was coordinated by him from prison. The money flowed to somebody - I’m not going to say who that person – to somebody out of prison, but under the control of Iwan Rois,” Jakarta police chief Tito Karnavian disclosed during talks on the terrorism network in Southeast Asia at the State Islamic University in the capital.
Besides Rois, police also believe that Aman Abdurrahman, another terror convict currently in prison, had also played a part in the January attacks.
The police chief admitted one of the country's weaknesses is its prison system. "They are put together in the same prison. Then they can communicate. They can make plots for attacks. They can reorganise and regroup."
One of the terror suspects arrested had contemplated attacking the popular resort of Bali, an unidentified airport and an international school in Jakarta, according to on-going investigations.
Following the incident, the Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks. According to terrorism expert Prof Rohan Gunaratna from S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, the bombings are a prelude to IS's declaration of its planned caliphate in Indonesia.
However, the Philippines seems more likely to witness the first of such caliphate in Southeast Asia, the expert said.
“In the Philippines, four groups came together and identified themselves as IS. So IS will make a declaration," he explained. "In the case of Indonesia, currently there is a discussion going on as to what groups will form the IS branch.”
However, no broad consensus on unified support for the militant group has been reached in Indonesia. Moreover, its radical groups remain divided. About 24 of such groups have pledged their allegiance to IS while others - particularly those with former members of al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah - have rejected the IS ideology.
Still, these radical groups share the same ultimate goal, which is to create an Islamic state in the region.
Source: Channel News Asia, March 4, 2016