AN INDONESIAN man arrested last week for carrying explosives on board a Royal Brunei Airlines flight from Surabaya is suspected to have links to the militant Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terror group, according to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.
Rustawi Tomo Kabul, 63, was travelling to Saudi Arabia as part of an Umrah-bound group when airport security detected several suspicious items in his luggage during transit at Brunei International Airport on Saturday.
"As usual, there is a (security) check at the airport when luggage is being transferred. There were some suspicious objects from the group. Among them are the bullets and the flag which is similar to the flag of ISIS," foreign ministry spokesperson, Arrmanatha Christian Nasir, told CNN Indonesia in a report published yesterday.
According to East Java Police Chief, Anas Yusuf, the suspect, Rustawi, was one of three people detained for questioning by the Brunei authorities. However, only Rustawi was subsequently arrested and charged with possession of unlicensed firearms in court on Monday.
Anas told the Indonesian daily, Kompas, that materials to make bombs, as well as four rounds of ammunition, knives and scissors were found in Rustawi's luggage.
The East Java Police Chief added that personnel from Brunei's Criminal Investigation Department would be going to the suspect's hometown of Malang, East Java to interview and profile members of Rustawi's family.
Brunei authorities have yet to provide further details on the matter, despite several requests for comment from The Brunei Times.
The Indonesian Embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan has also declined to comment pending further investigation. Rustawi is scheduled to appear in court again on Monday, May 11. He is currently being held in police custody to assist in their investigation.
He is facing a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison with whipping if convicted of firearms possession. So far, no plea has been taken from the defendant.