DNA test shows 'fifth militant' a bystander in Jakarta attack

DNA test shows 'fifth militant' a bystander in Jakarta attack
An armed police officer accompanying mourners during the funeral procession of terror attack victim Rico Hermawan at a cemetery in Boyolali, Indonesia's central Java island, yesterday.

Last Thursday's terror attack in downtown Jakarta was carried out by four Indonesian militants, and not five as previously believed.

Jakarta police said yesterday investigations have since established that the fifth man, identified as Sugito, was a bystander who happened to have the same name as another suspect they were tracking.

"We initially said Sugito was a perpetrator (because) an eyewitness had seen him walking next to a perpetrator initialled D," said Jakarta police spokesman M. Iqbal, referring to Dian Joni Kurniadi, one of the militants involved in the siege.

Checks against its intelligence later established that while there was a Sugito who was in communication with Dian, it was not the same man killed at the scene in Thamrin Boulevard, Colonel Iqbal said.

The courier from Kerawang, West Java, was first identified as one of five militants who mounted the attack, which left seven people dead, including the attackers.

DNA testing, however, ruled him out as a militant, said Col Iqbal.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the siege has risen to eight, after a security guard who was shot in the head died, said Col Musyafak, head of police health and medical department.

Mr Rais Karna had worked at Bangkok Bank, located near ground zero of last Thursday's attack.

"He has not been conscious since he arrived at the hospital. We carried out surgery to save him but he didn't make it," Col Musyafak said.

Meanwhile, two of four foreigners injured in blasts - Dutchman Yohanes Antonius Maria, 52, and a 44-year-old Austrian, identified as Mr Marek - have been transferred to Singapore for further treatment.

Both men sustained injuries from shrapnel from the bombs that went off during the attack. More than 25 others, including six police officers, were also wounded.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Indonesian police said preliminary investigations indicated that the attack was orchestrated by Indonesian ISIS loyalist Bahrun Naim, who is now believed to be in Syria fighting with the terror group.

So far, 12 suspects with ties to Bahrun have been rounded up in the past few days.

Police say more arrests can be expected as Jakarta tightens its grip on extremist groups to prevent a repeat of last Thursday's attack.

Indonesia has received widespread support from its close neighbours, including Singapore.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had, in a tweet last Thursday, conveyed his deepest condolences to President Joko Widodo, saying Singapore "stands in solidarity" with the people of Indonesia.

Responding to Mr Lee's tweet last Saturday, Mr Joko said: "Indonesia appreciates the support of the people of Singapore. We stand together against terrorism."tkchan@sph.com.sgwahyudis@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on January 18, 2016.
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