Jakarta. Counterterrorism squad Detachment 88 has arrested 16 suspected members of homegrown militant network Indonesia Islamic State, or NII, during recent operations in West Sumatra, a senior officer said on Monday.
The16 suspects were arrested at separate locations on Friday, according to Chief Comr. Aswin Siregar, the elite unit’s head of operational support division.
"They have regularly conducted paramilitary training and acquired weapons," Aswin said.
The operations were launched to dismantle the organization at national and regional levels as they were planning to “overthrow the legitimate government” and “replace the national ideology of Pancasila with sharia”, the officer said without going into details.
Police alleged that the suspects have actively recruited new members including minors in West Sumatra in recent months, he said.
“They also have established links with other terror cells in Jakarta, West Java, and Bali," Aswin said.
During Friday’s operations, 12 suspects were arrested in the district of Dharmasraya and four others were nabbed in Tanah Datar.
The NII is rooted in a rebellious movement known as Darul Islam, which was founded in 1949 by a group of hardline clerics in Tasikmalaya, West Java, to establish a caliphate in Indonesia.
During the 1950s, Darul Islam expanded influence to Aceh, South Kalimantan, Central Java, and South Sulawesi, until its founder Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosoewirjo was arrested by the Indonesian Military and executed in 1962.
The NII has no link with global terror network Islamic State.