JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian police arrested three suspected lslamic extremists after intercepting a bomb shipment that authorities said was intended to attack brothels.
Among those arrested last week was Ambo Intang, who was sought for his alleged involvement in the 2012 killings of two policemen in in the Central Sulawesi district of Poso, said national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Ronny F. Sompie.
An anti-terrorism police squad has earlier nabbed two other suspects. One of them was identified as Bambang Aribowo, who was arrested upon arrival at Jakarta’s airport.
Sompie said police intercepted a shipment containing two homemade bombs that was sent from East Java town of Trenggalek to Makassar. The bombs were to be used to attack brothels in the province, Sompie said.
Police said the group was led by Indonesia’s most wanted terrorist suspect, Abu Wardah Santoso. He is sought in connection with several attacks on Java island and Poso in Central Sulawesi province, where a Muslim-Christian conflict killed at least 1,000 people from 1998 to 2002. He also faces charges of running a terrorist training camp. It’s unclear whether Santoso was among those arrested.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation with a secular central government, has been battling terrorists since 2002, when militants linked to the Southeast Asian network Jemaah Islamiyah began attacking Western nightclubs, restaurants and embassies. Their mostly deadly attacks by far were at Bali nightclubs in 2002, killing 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
More recent terror attacks in Indonesia have been less deadly, and have targeted security forces and local “infidels” instead of Westerners.