Jakarta. National Police’s counterterrorism squad Detachment 88 arrested five suspected members of shadowy militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) during separate operations in East Java on Tuesday.
JI is responsible for a string of major attacks in the early 2000s, including the October 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people.
The group has been largely unheard of in recent years when a new terror group called Jemaah Ansharut Daulah kept security officials busy with a series of attacks targeting churches.
The government has launched a major crackdown on JAD cells since a knife attack that injured then chief security minister Wiranto in October 2019.
“The operations to capture five terrorism suspects in East Java were conducted from early hours on Tuesday,” National Police spokesman Chief Comr. Ahmad Ramadhan said.
The raids took place in the districts of Bojonegoro, Gresik, Kediri, and Sumenep, he added.
The five suspects are accused of illicit trafficking of guns, recruiting militants to join JI, and providing paramilitary training for them, he said.
Tuesday’s raids were the second major anti-terror operation in East Java this year, following the arrest of 12 other suspects in March.
The group implicated in the previous operation was led by former terror convict Usman bin Sef, who police said is the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah group in the province.
Usman was earlier convicted of harboring most-wanted militant Noordin M Top in the aftermath of the 2003 bombing at JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta.
Known as a bomb expert, Malaysian-born Noordin was a key figure in JI and a subject of a massive manhunt in Indonesia after the Bali bombings.
Noordin also orchestrated the bombings near the Australian Embassy compound in Jakarta in 2004 and at a Bali restaurant in 2005.
He was killed during a police raid in the Central Java town of Solo in September 2009.
Usman meanwhile was arrested in 2004 on charges of assisting Noordin and concealing information about his whereabouts.
It’s unclear when he was released from prison.