Travel Warning: Indonesia a Dangerous Place as Islamists Take Control

Travel Warning: Indonesia a Dangerous Place as Islamists Take Control

At least 11 people have been killed in three seemingly coordinated suicide bombings that hit churches in the second-largest city of Indonesia, police said. Dozens of people have been injured.

“The victims are still being identified,” said East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera. Police say they have also secured a fourth, unexploded bomb at a church.

Around 40 victims who were injured in the attacks were transported to hospital, East Java provincial police spokesman Colonel Frans Barung Mangera told reporters, as cited by the Straits Times.

The authorities said that the attacks were carried out by a local terrorist group linked to the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL). A spokesman for the country’s intelligence agency said that Jemaah Ansharut Daulah was behind the blasts. The group has pledged allegiance to ISIS mastermind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The bombings are likely linked to a deadly riot in a high-security jail in Jakarta, which led to the death of five police officers and one inmate on Thursday, said Wawan Purwanto, the communication director at the intelligence agency, as reported by Metro TV. The failed prison break was claimed by IS, but authorities did not believe it was involved.

The three blasts hit on Sunday morning, within 10 minutes of each other, police said. Police have only provided details on one attack so far, which took place at Santa Maria Catholic Church.

“We have confirmed one died at the scene, one died at the hospital, two police officers were injured and there are some civilians injured,” Mangera said. “In total 13 people are being treated at the hospital.”

The perpetrator of the blast and a churchgoer were among the deceased at Santa Maria Church, The Jakarta Globe reported, citing police.

Two other explosions rocked the Protestant Indonesian Christian Church in Jalan Diponegoro and a Pentecostal church. Pentecostalism is a renewed movement within mainline Protestant Christianity.

AFP reported that the death toll from the triple bombing has risen to six people, with at least 35 injured, according to police. It’s unclear whether it includes the perpetrators of the attacks.

Christians constitute some 10 percent of the population of Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country in the world. There have been a number of extremist attacks on religious minorities in the country in recent years.

No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bombings so far.

Earlier Attack

At least five counter-terrorism police have been killed and one is being held hostage by Islamist militants in clashes at a jail outside Jakarta, Indonesia. The country is embroiled in an ongoing armed struggle with Islamic State.

The prison in the Depok area has been in lockdown since rioting broke out on Tuesday evening, The Jakarta Post reports. Local roads in the area have been cordoned off and heavily-armed police officers are positioned around the building.

The riot comes as Indonesia struggles to get to grips with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), which took responsibility for the attack through Amaq, the IS-affiliated website. IS took responsibility for the attack through Amaq, the IS-affiliated website. It claimed that 10 counter-terrorism counter officers have been killed. The police force confirmed that five officers died along with one prisoner. The prisoner was killed after making repeated threats and attempting to steal a police weapon.

“Five of our colleagues died…. one of our colleagues is still inside and being held hostage,” National police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal told reporters.

“If they surrender, it will be a non-violent process. But if there is a threat to officers or others, we will take very strong action,” he said, adding that the hostage was reported to be safe and the officers’ bodies have been transferred to a nearby hospital.

Iqbal denied IS involvement saying the riot started after prisoners took exception to authorities inspecting their food. The jail holds around 130 convicted terrorists, Reuters reports.

Last year, Indonesia’s military chief warned that IS has established clandestine networks in “almost every province” in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation. General Gatot Nurmantyo made the warnings as IS-linked militants overran the city of Marawi in the neighboring Philippines.

IS sympathizers have carried out a series of low level attacks in Indonesia in recent years. In 2017, two suicide bombers killed three police and wounded 12 others at a Jakarta bus terminal. Last week, three militants suspected of planning attacks on police stations were arrested in West Java.

Surge of Islamic Terror Attacks

  • 12 October 2002 — The coordinated bomb attacks occurred on in the tourist district of Kuta, Bali. The attack was claimed as the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia according to the current police general, killing 202 people, (including 88 Australians, and 38 Indonesian citizens). A further 240 people were injured. Various members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a violent Islamist group, were convicted in relation to the bombings, including three individuals who were sentenced to death.
  • 5 August 2003 — A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside the lobby of the JW Marriott Hotel, killing twelve people and injuring 150. The hotel located on Mega Kuningan, South Jakarta, Indonesia. All those killed were Indonesian with the exception of one Dutch businessman, one Danish, and two Chinese tourists.
  • 31 December 2003 — The bombing occurred during a concert at a night market in Peureulak, Aceh,killed at least 10 people, including three children, and wounded 45 others.The Indonesian military blamed Free Aceh Movement (GAM) for the attack.
  • 9 September 2004 — A one-tonne car bomb which was packed into a small delivery van, exploded outside the Australian embassy at Kuningan District, South Jakarta, at about 10:30 local time (03:30 UTC), killing 9 people including the suicide bomber, and wounding over 150 others.Jemaah Islamiyah claimed responsibility for the attack.[15]
  • 13 November 2004 — Six people were killed and three injured when an improvised explosive device planted in a bus exploded in Poso, Central Sulawesi.[16]
  • 28 May 2005Two improvised explosive devices, set to explode 15 minutes apart, detonated during the morning at a market in the center of Tentena, Central Sulawesi, killing 22 and wounding at least 40 more.
  • 1 October 2005 — Series of suicide bomb and a series of car bombs exploded at two sites in Jimbaran Beach Resort and in Kuta, Bali. The terrorist attack claimed the lives of 20 people and injured more than 100 others. The three bombers also died in the attacks.
  • 31 December 2005 — An improvised explosive device detonated within a butcher’s market in Palu, Central Sulawesi, killing eight people and wounding a further 53.
  • 17 July 2009 — The JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels in Jakarta, were hit by separate suicide bombings five minutes apart. Three of the seven victims who were killed were Australians, two from the Netherlands, and one each from New Zealand and Indonesia. More than 50 people were injured in the blasts.
  • 15 March 2011 — a package of explosive devices hidden in a book was delivered to Ulil Abhsar Abdalla, an activist of Jaringan Islam Liberal (Islamic Liberal Network) in Komunitas Utan Kayu complex near 68h Radio station, Utan Kayu, East Jakarta. The note enclosed with the book requested Abdalla to write a foreword for the upcoming book to be published. The Institut Studi Arus Informasi (ISAI) receptionist suspected the package and call for Gegana (anti-bomb squad) help. There was no casualties in this attack, however before the Gegana squad arrived, the bomb exploded severing one of the police’s arm trying to defuse the device.
  • 15 April 2011 — a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in a mosque in a police compound in the city of Cirebon, in West Java, during Friday prayer. The bomber was killed and at least 28 people were injured.
  • 25 September 2011 — a suicide bomb exploded in Full Gospel Bethel Church in Kepunton, Solo, Central Java. The blast killed the bomber and injured 14 people.
  • 8 April 2012 — A Trigana Air PK-YRF airplane was shot by unidentified gunmen during landing approach on Mulia airstrip, Puncak Jaya, Papua at 8:21 AM. A Papua Pos journalist, Kogoya, 35, was killed in this shooting.
  • 17 August 2012 — two policemen guarding a Lebaran (Eid al-Fitr) traffic post in Solo, Central Java, were shot by gunmen on motorcycles. The shooting happened at 1:10 AM Friday, 17 August 2012, and the two policemen were injured.
  • 16 October 2012 — Police discovered the corpses of two murdered policemen that had gone missing three days earlier in Tamanjeka village, Poso Regency, Central Sulawesi. The victims were the head of Police Unit Intelligence of Poso Pesisir sector, Brigadir Sudirman, and Poso Police Resort Assault Unit, Brigadir Satu Andi Sapa. They went missing while investigating suspected terrorist training grounds in a forest at Poso Regency.
  • 27 November 2012 — Three policemen stationed in remote Pirime police post, Jayawijaya, Papua, were killed in an attack by a group of unidentified men. Police suspected the Papua separatist movement were behind the attack.
  • 24 May 2017Two suicide bombings near Kampung Melayu Terminal. At least 5 peoples were killed including 3 policemen and 2 militants. 10 peoples were injured and some were seriously injured.
  • 25 June 2017 – Two perpetrators stabbed a police officer to death at his post in Medan, North Sumatra.Other officers soon responded and killed one assaliant while arresting another.
  • 30 June 2017 – An Islamic assailant reportedly attacked two police officers at a mosque near the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta.
  • 9 May 2018 – Terrorism inmates in a detention center staged an riot resulting in the death of 5 police officers and one inmate. The detention center is heavily guarded compound of the local headquarters of the Mobile Brigade Corps, a paramilitary unit of the National Police, and it was guarded by elite counter-terrorism officers.
  • 13 May 2018 – Suicide bombers, among them were a mother and her 2 kids, bombed 3 churches in Surabaya, killing and injuring dozens of people.

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S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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