Indonesia police arrest 53 suspected of plotting Independence Day attack

PHOTO: Instagram/divisihumaspolri

JAKARTA, Aug 20 - Indonesian police have arrested 53 militants suspected of planning an attack on independence day this week, including alleged members of networks blamed for past attacks like the 2002 Bali bombings, the police said on Friday (Aug 20).

Some of those arrested were from the group Jemaah Islamiah (JI), a jihadist network with ties to al Qaeda, or the Islamic State-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), blamed for a church bombing on Sulawesi island in March, police said.

Argo Yuwono, a national police spokesperson, told reporters the arrests had taken place across 11 provinces in the week leading up to Indonesian independence day on Tuesday.

"They went after people from the government," he said, without specifying which people.

"They wanted to use the momentum of the independence day."

Argo said police had seized weapons, ammunition and donation boxes used to raise funds.

Militant attacks in Indonesia have included the 2002 Bali bombings, believed to have been orchestrated by JI, which killed over 200 people including dozens of Australians.

Abu Bakar Bashir, JI's spiritual leader, left prison last January after serving a 10-year term.

A resurgence in attacks has been linked to the hundreds of Indonesians that went to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State before returning.

More than 120 militants have been arrested this year, said an official at the country's counter-terrorism unit on Friday.