The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Indonesia intensifies security after 'Islamic State group sympathisers' stab minister Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

Indonesia intensifies security after 'Islamic State group sympathisers' stab minister

Indonesia has intensified security measures following the attack [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 October, 2019

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
Indonesian authorities have stepped up security measures after a senior government minister was hospitalised after being stabbed in the stomach.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered beefed-up security measures on Friday after two militants from an Islamic State-linked group stabbed his chief security minister.

The politician is currently in hospital recovering from emergency surgery.

Police are searching for more suspects in the wake of the assassination attempt on Wiranto, a 72-year-old former army chief.

The minister was knifed twice in the stomach as he left his vehicle in Pandeglang on Java island during an official visit on Thursday.

"Although there are already security precautions, they should be improved so what happened to (Wiranto) never happens again," Widodo told reporters in Jakarta on Friday.

A 31-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman, reportedly a married couple, were arrested at the scene.

They were later identified as members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an extremist network loyal to the Islamic State group. 

Widodo said he had ordered the national police and intelligence agency chiefs to pursue other suspects within JAD, which was responsible for several previous attacks - including deadly suicide bombings at churches in Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya last year.

Read also: Why isn't anyone talking about what's happening in West Papua, Indonesia?

The attack came shortly before Widodo begins his second term as president of the Southeast Asian archipelago of 260 million people.

"An attack like this should set off alarm bells for security personnel to increase their caution," said Ridwan Habib, a terrorism researcher at the University of Indonesia.

Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation, has long struggled with attacks by Islamist militants, including the 2002 Bali bombings.

Saturday marks the 17th anniversary of the attack in Bali that killed over 200 people -- Indonesia's deadliest terror incident. 

'Looked weak'

Wiranto was recovering on Friday.

"I visited him earlier today. He could talk but still looked weak," presidential chief of staff Moeldoko, who also goes by one name, told AFP.

"He remains in intensive care."

The male suspect had reportedly been under surveillance by Indonesia's intelligence agency for hoarding sharp weapons.

Some past militant attacks have been against police and other state symbols, but Thursday's incident is thought to be the first known assassination attempt by JAD on an Indonesian politician.

Authorities routinely arrest suspected IS-loyal militants they claim are planning bomb and other attacks.

Three other people -- a local police chief and two aides -- also suffered knife wounds in Thursday's attack but authorities said they had non-life-threatening injuries.

Wiranto, the retired chief of the armed forces and a failed presidential candidate, was appointed to his post in 2016 and oversees several departments, including the foreign affairs and defence ministries.

A major figure in Indonesian politics, he has faced controversy over alleged human rights violations and allegations of crimes against humanity linked to Indonesia's brutal occupation of East Timor.

In May, police said Wiranto and three other top officials were targeted in a failed assassination plot linked to deadly riots in Jakarta after Widodo's re-election victory.

A group of six people - arrested before they could carry out the killings - hoped the killings would plunge the country into chaos, police said at the time.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More