People, including unarmed police officers, flee from the scene after a gun battle broke out following an explosion in Jakarta, Indonesia Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 (Image, AP)
Islamic State have claimed responsibility for a series of explosions in Jakarta on Friday which rocked Indonesia’s capital on the island of Java. According to RT, “media reports suggest that the death toll in Jakarta attacks has reached 17: five terrorists, five police officers and seven civilians” with 24 injured. IS posted a statement on social media saying that “a group of soldiers of the caliphate in Indonesia targeted a gathering from the crusader alliance that fights the Islamic State in Jakarta.”
IS claimed that fighters were armed with “light weaponry and explosive belts” and began their attack after “several timed canisters” (explosive devices) were activated. According to the Daily Mail “the code name ‘concert’ was used in the terrorist attack” which may have echoed attacks in Paris on November 13th when gunmen and suicide bombers targeted a concert hall and several other venues.
Indonesia, Jakarta, IS claim of responsibility
The assault in Jakarta began around 10.50am local time when an attacker blew himself up at a Starbucks cafe, Jakarta Theatre building in an area close to embassies and government buildings. The Guardian reported,
“two more attackers, carrying handguns, grabbed a couple of hostages. They were identified as an Algerian and a westerner, possibly from Canada or the Netherlands. Police spokesman Anton Charliyan said the Algerian managed to escape with bullet wounds.”
The second hostage was less fortunate. He was shot dead on the spot, the police said. Another Indonesian man who tried to help the hostages was also shot and killed.
“Via Indonesia’s Kompass TV, arms and ammunition used in Jakarta attacks” posted by Khalid Khan
A further incident occurred at 10.55am when a second group of attackers targeted a police booth where another man detonated his explosives. Police then engaged in a gun battle for around 3 hours. Two civilians, a Canadian and an Indonesian national died during the assault.
Further details of the attack can be read on the following link,
“Three hours of mayhem, panic and bloodshed as terror comes to Jakarta”
Jakarta Police Chief Tito Karnavian told CNN, “we have been informed by our intelligence that an individual named (Muhammad) Bahrun Naim, based on the communications … instructed his cells in Indonesia to mount an attack in Indonesia.” Bahrun is believed to be residing in Raqqa, Syria and is no stranger to Indonesian authorities. In 2010 he was involved in “illegal possession of ammunition” and “sentenced to at least 2½ years in prison”.
Bahrun is a leader of Katibah Nusantara, an IS affiliate in South-East Asia. The group was noted to be expanding operations in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Steve Wilford, Asia-Pacific director for global risk analysis at consultancy Control Risk informed NBC,
“there are around 30 organizations in Indonesia claiming affiliation with Islamic State.
There’s at least 500 Indonesians known to be in the Levant (the area of the Middle East that includes Syria). It’s very unclear how many have actually come back.”
See following link for more information on Muhammad Bahrun Naim,
“8 things to know about Muhammad Bahrun Naim, alleged mastermind of Jakarta attack”
People carry an injured police officer near the site where an explosion went off at a police post, rear, in Jakarta, Indonesia Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. (Image AP)
Indonesian President Joko Widodo condemned the attack rallying the people of Indonesia not to be defeated by “these acts of terror”. On social media, locals and those further afield adopted a slogan of #KamiTidakTakut (We are not afraid) to express solidarity with victims. Jakarta Post stated “a group of people placed flowers and prayed at terrorist attack sites on Jl. M.H. Thamrin, Central Jakarta, on Friday afternoon.”
Nasir Abas, a terrorism expert from the University of Indonesia, told Jakarta Post that he “was convinced that terrorists were directly affiliated with and fully funded by IS” and that “the aim of the attacks was to announce their existence in the country.”
However terrorism expert Al Chaidar disagreed stating his opinion, that “the terrorists were not directly affiliated with IS and did not act on behalf of the main group in Syria”… He said, “they looked like only a small group of supporters who wanted to try a similar attack to the one in Paris,” and this “might be revenge for the 2010 arrest of terrorist convict Abu Bakar Ba’asyir and the arrests of several other radical group members.”
Some analysts argue the emergence of IS is a rebranding of old militants known to authorities under a new heading. According to an Indonesian TV channel three men have been arrested on suspicion of links to the attack. For more information on the development of Islamic State in Indonesia see following articles
“Islamic State launches suicide assault in Indonesia’s capital”
“Analysis: Old militants with new brand behind Jakarta attack ”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage