File photo: A policeman stands guard at the Medan Metropolitan Police headquarters after a suicide bombing attack at the scene on Nov. 13, 2019. (Antara Photo/Irsan Mulyad)

Five Men Arrested in Aceh over Alleged Links with IS

BY :FAROUK ARNAZ

JANUARY 25, 2021

Jakarta. The Aceh Provincial Police have arrested five men, including a local civil servant, for alleged role in a series of terror attacks and suspected link with global terror network the Islamic State, a spokesman said on Monday.

The suspects are part of the home-grown militant group that carried out suicide bombing at a parking lot in the Medan Metropolitan Police headquarters, North Sumatra, on Nov. 13, 2019, Aceh Police spokesman Chief Comr. Winardy said.

They were arrested in separate raids on Wednesday and Thursday, he said.

"One of the suspects identified by initials S.J. is an employee of the East Aceh district government,” Winardy said over telephone.

He said the suspects have managed to blend in with the community by living ordinary lives -- two of them work as construction workers, one sells fruit and another owns a café.

They were arrested during separate raids in provincial capital Banda Aceh, Langsa and Aceh Besar.

Authorities have blamed shadowy terror group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah for the November 2019 bombing that killed the sole bomber identified as Rabbial Muslim Nasution and injured six people.

When carrying out the attack, Rabbial wore the familiar jacket of a ride-hailing company to get through the police compound's check point.

JAD leaders have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, police have said.

Police have arrested more than 30 suspects in connection with the attack. Among them is the alleged mastermind identified as Salman Alfarizih, who police said is the leader of JAD’s local chapter in Medan.

Salman was arrested at his hiding place in East Aceh around two weeks after the blast. 

Further investigation revealed information about terror plots and secret discussions among the group members after police retrieved data from a laptop belonging to a JAD member.

"This group carefully assessed their plan before launching every attack. Their goal was to inflict casualties, they didn't care if they were police officers or civilians," a senior investigator said at that time.

Some of the group members also talked about avoiding wearing striking Muslim outfits during their attacks.

A month before the Medan bombing, a couple believed to be JAD members carried out stabbing attack on then Chief Security Minister Wiranto during his visit to Pandeglang, Banten.

Wiranto survived the attack but he was admitted to hospital for a surgery.
 

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