Indonesian police declare cleric key suspect in 2016 attack

AP News
Posted: Aug 22, 2017 5:42 AM
Indonesian police declare cleric key suspect in 2016 attack

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police on Tuesday named a radical Islamic cleric as the key suspect in a suicide bombing and gun attack that killed eight people in Jakarta last year.

National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said Aman Abdurrahman, the leader of an Islamic State group-affiliated militant network, ordered the Jan. 14, 2016, attack from prison.

Abdurrahman was among more than 90,000 inmates granted an early release for Indonesia's Aug. 17 Independence Day holiday this year.

He was prevented from going free by his arrest on suspicion of orchestrating various attacks while imprisoned for his role in organizing a militant training camp in 2010.

"He is accused of ordering and encouraging the militants to carry out amaliyah," Wasisto said, using an Arabic term that is a byword for suicide bombing in militant circles.

Police have described the 45-year-old cleric, whose real name is Oman Rochman, as the main Indonesian translator for IS propaganda and the leader of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a network of almost two dozen Indonesian extremist groups that formed in 2015.

About 40 militants have been arrested for links to the 2016 attack that began with a suicide bombing inside a Starbucks cafe in a busy shopping area in downtown Jakarta. Four militants and four bystanders were killed.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has carried out a sustained crackdown on militants since bombings on Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people, but a new threat has emerged from IS sympathizers.

JAD, which Washington designated earlier this year as a terrorist group, has been implicated in a number of attacks in Indonesia. Two of its members are accused of launching twin suicide bombings in May that killed three police officers in the deadliest militant attack in Jakarta in a year.