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Police arrest 27 suspected militants in nationwide crackdown as Indonesia gears up for 2024 election

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian police stated Saturday they arrested not less than 27 suspected militants believed to have hyperlinks to banned extremist teams, in a nationwide crackdown because the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation gears up for elections in 2024.

The police’s elite counterterrorism squad, often known as Densus 88, made the arrests on Friday within the capital, Jakarta, and in West Java and Central Sulawesi provinces, stated Nationwide Police spokesperson Ahmad Ramadhan.

“We’re nonetheless investigating and interrogating all these arrested in seek for different doable suspects,” stated Aswin Siregar, the spokesperson of Densus 88 instructed The Related Press.

A lot of the arrested are suspected of being members of a homegrown militant outfit affiliated with the Islamic State group often known as Jemmaah Anshorut Daulah, or JAD, he stated.

The arrests have been made after the interrogation of 18 suspected militants arrested since Oct. 2, Ramadhan stated.

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Some native media stories stated these arrested have been linked to an alleged plot of militant assaults meant to disrupt the elections in February 2024, however Ramadhan rapidly downplayed them.

“There isn’t a indication of accelerating terrorism threats forward of subsequent yr’s elections up to now,” he stated. “That is a part of our efforts to take preventive motion in opposition to doable acts of terror within the nation.”

A court docket in 2018 banned JAD. The group has been weakened by a sustained crackdown on militants by Densus 88. The USA listed JAD as a terrorist group in 2017.

The group was liable for a number of lethal suicide bombings in Indonesia, together with a lethal 2016 assault in Jakarta that killed eight individuals and a wave of suicide bombings in 2018 in Indonesia’s second-largest metropolis of Surabaya, the place two households, together with women aged 9 and 12, blew themselves up at church buildings and a police station, killing 13 individuals.

Indonesia is ready to vote in simultaneous legislative and presidential elections on Feb. 14 subsequent yr.

Indonesia launched a crackdown on militants following the bombings on the resort island of Bali in 2002 that killed 202 individuals, principally Western and Asian vacationers.

Not too long ago, militant assaults on foreigners in Indonesia have been largely changed in recent times by smaller, much less lethal strikes concentrating on the federal government, primarily police and anti-terrorism forces.

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