Thursday, October 21, 2021

Indonesia cathedral suicide bombers were newlyweds

Authorities say the weapon was a pressure cooker bomb which the couple had learned to assemble online from social media.

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The two suspected suicide bombers who attacked a Catholic church in Makassar, Indonesia were a husband and wife who received online training in bomb making, authorities said on Monday, according to CNA.

Speaking at the scene of the attack, the head of the Indonesian National Counter-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) Commissioner General Boy Rafli Amar said his agency has uncovered the identity of the suspects.

“They are husband and wife,” he said, adding that one of them was born in 1995.

In Jakarta, national police spokesman Inspector-General Argo Yuwono said that the couple both worked in the private sector and had married six months ago.

“Investigations are still ongoing, including to uncover other suspects,” he said.

On Sunday morning, the two suspected suicide bombers rode up to the Catholic cathedral in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on a motorcycle as Christians inside celebrated the start of Holy Week.

They tried to enter the cathedral, but a security officer stopped them. Shortly after, there was a loud explosion.

The two suspects were killed and 20 people were injured. As of Monday afternoon, 15 people remained in hospital while the rest have been discharged.

Officials have announced that the suicide bombers were members of the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) extremist network and had carried out a previous bombing in the Philippines, in Jolo, Sulu.

Responding to a query about how the suicide bombers assembled the bomb used in Sunday’s attack, Amar said it was a pressure cooker bomb which they had learned to assemble online from social media.

National police chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the couple were married by a JAD member who the police arrested in January.

The couple also left a will which is being analysed for further clues.

Following Sunday’s bombing, the police arrested four people who belonged to the same study group as the alleged bombers.

“They are in a study group named Vila Mutiara, where each member spreads extremist doctrine, plans for jihad, and also plays a role in buying materials to be used as tools for suicide bombings,” said the police chief.

The police have also arrested four people in Jakarta and Bekasi, on the outskirts of the capital. Five bombs that were ready to be used and as well as ingredients to make other bombs were discovered, he said.

Another person was arrested in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara province on Monday.

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