Terrorist arrests in Jakarta

(Counterterrorism blog) On 6 May, the Indonesian counter-terrorist unit, Special Detachment 88, arrested seven persons in South Jakarta on suspicion of terrorist activities. Though details of the arrests have yet to be revealed, a police source stated that the seven moved to Jakarta a year ago and had been under surveillance for the past three months.

The Indonesian media has speculated that one of the suspects may be Abu Thola, who was at one time head of the Special Forces wing of Jemaah Islamiyah. He was the target of a failed police raid in Central Java in 2003. The media has further speculated that the police are targeting Thola because he may have information on links between fiery cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and Jemaah Islamiyah. Ba’asyir was convicted but later exonerated of leading Jemaah Islamiyah.

Following the arrests, the police hinted that more were to come in the near future. With U.S. President Barack Obama slated to pass through Jakarta next month, these moves may be part of a wider effort to guarantee security ahead of the visit.

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