Pekanbaru/Sumatra (Indonesia) 12/1. Reports are emerging the Indonesian Counter-Terror unit, Densus 88, successfully arrested a terror suspect in a local village at Kampung Logas located at the Singingi Area of the Kuansing district in Kuansing, Riau.
During the raid on the house of the suspect Densus 88 seized 3 weapons and hundreds of bullets. Police is tight-lipped about the arrests as investigations are ongoing and additional arrests are expected. Police are investigating whether the bomb explosion in Bengkulu is related to the Riau cell.
Experts for some time have warned of Riau based extremists are showing up in greater numbers. ‘The groups have suffered setbacks, discovery of cells, arrests of leaders and failed attacks but many in policy, in business and academia fail to recognize the longevity of terrorism in Indonesian like anywhere else is here to stay’, says an academic focused on terrorism in Sumatra.
‘Just because we have no Bali sized bombs does not mean terrorism has seized to exist.’ said an expert when interviewed. ‘Riau has shown a steady flow of Islamic terrorism and leftist extremists in the region for the past decade.’
‘The switch to industrial targeting and businesses is only a question of time’, he added. ‘Terrorism models shown the groups will shift over to business targets if other targets such as the police gets more difficult to attack’.
The Riau province is one of the economic engines for Indonesia. Chevron, known in Riau as Caltex, major palm oil and the controversial paper conglomerate APRIL owned by the Sukanto Tanoto family are lucrative targets for extremists of all shades. The latest arrests are within the range of the APRIL concessions in Logas. Nearby are one of the main paper mills in Indonesia and a private landing strip.
‘Officials were warned for some time of a change in the extremist’s landscape but the usual approach is to hire former military and cops-for-rent and hoping the problem to go away.’. The company’s poor record could make the Chinese-Indonesian owned conglomerate a soft target. ‘If the targeting switch occurs the Chinese owned business is an obvious near target.’ Company officials did not respond to requests for an interview.
‘The radicalization of the province has been going on for some time. And the response will be all so typical post-incident’, said a security insider. ‘The company is well known for its high-risk rating and business as usual attitude.’
A cell of students from the NGOs spectrum were found building TATP bombs in the dorm of the University of Riau planning to target policy officials in Riau, and gained notoriety with attacking the regional police headquarters. In 2017 local politicians were firebombed.
In November 2019 police arrested in Kuapan village on the Kampar peninsular suspects and arrested five more in the Kampar and Siak regency and Pekanbaru city. On October 13, 2019 the leader of the Khalifatul Muslimin, Caliph Abdul Baraja was detained by Densus 88 operations.
The arrests of five suspects discovered a forest-military style training program. The training camp established in depths of the forests in August 2019 is a slow developing build-up of the terror capabilities.
The police found facilities for training at the camp in the forest, and in a raid at the house of one of the suspects, the police seized scores of bows, pipes believed to be used in assembling bombs, big knives, books outlining holy war or jihad and other materials.
The province is a fare through for extremists of all dominations. By November last year the Anti-Terror unit arrested more than 71 terror suspect illustrating that terrorism is well alive. The proactive stance by the Indonesian police has contributed the reputation of the otherwise poorly perceived Indonesian national police.
‘But companies are essentially responsible for the safety of employees. But some executives showing the usual lack of comprehension of strategic risk to the company in order to save a buck.’
The finding of firearms and ammunitions indicates stockpiling of weapons are foreboding signs of a new wave of terror attack.
‘It is unclear if the Chinese conglomerates are the new targets but terrorism and other forms of extremism is here to stay.’