Indonesia police shoot dead 4 men after attack on Riau HQ

Indonesia police shoot dead 4 men after attack on Riau HQ
PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - Indonesian police shot dead four men on Wednesday after they used samurai swords to attack officers at Riau police headquarters in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, a police spokesman said.

The men had driven their car into the police yard before getting out to stage the attack, Setyo Wasisto, national police spokesman, told a briefing.

Two officers were wounded in the attack, while another was killed after one of the perpetrators tried to escape and crashed into the officer, he said.

"The one who escaped has been captured and secured at Pekanbaru police station," Wasisto said.

The spokesman said that a journalist who had been at the police station was also hurt after being hit by the car.

Earlier, an internal police report said that one of the dead men had a suspected bomb strapped to his body. Wasisto did not comment on this.

TV footage showed one man lying on the ground with a long sword next to his body and an armored car stationed outside the police station.

A police spokesman in Riau said they had not identified the perpetrators yet or determined their motive.

But the attack comes after a series of suicide bombings by Islamist militants targeting churches and a police building in Indonesia's second-biggest of city of Surabaya over the past few days.

The suicide bombings, involving families with young children, and an explosion at an apartment where militants were suspected to have been constructing bombs have left around 30 people dead, including 13 suspected perpetrators, police said.

13 dead, 40 injured in Indonesia church attacks

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    A family of six including two young daughters staged suicide bombings at three Indonesian churches during Sunday services,

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    killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens in attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.

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    The bombings at three churches in Surabaya were Indonesia's deadliest for years, as the world's biggest Muslim-majority country grapples with homegrown militancy and rising intolerance towards religious minorities.

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    The church bombers -- a mother and father, two daughters aged nine and 12, and two sons aged 16 and 18 --

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    were linked to local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) which supports IS, said national police chief Tito Karnavian.

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    Local media reports say they may have returned from Syria, where hundreds of Indonesians have flocked in recent years to fight alongside IS in its bid to carve out a caliphate ruled by strict Islamic law.

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    The mother, identified as Puji Kuswati, and her two daughters were wearing niqab face veils and had bombs strapped to their waists as they entered the grounds of the Kristen Indonesia Diponegoro Church and blew themselves up, Karnavian said.

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    The father, JAD cell leader Dita Priyanto, drove a bomb-laden car into the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church while his sons rode motorcycles into Santa Maria church, where they detonated explosives they were carrying, Karnavian said.

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    Karnavian said Sunday's church attacks may have been revenge for the arrest of some of JAD's leaders and for the prison crisis which eventually saw the surrender of the radical inmates.

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    President Joko Widodo called for Indonesians to "unite against terrorism". "The state will not tolerate this act of cowardice," he told reporters in Surabaya.

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    East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera confirmed the deaths of 13 people in the church bombings, with about 40 injured in the coordinated attacks

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The attacks are the worst in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country since the bombing of tourist-packed restaurants in Bali in 2005.

Police suspect they were carried out by a cell of the Islamic State-inspired group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an umbrella organisation on a US State Department terrorist list that is reckoned to have drawn hundreds of Indonesian sympathizers of Islamic State.

In a message carried on its Amaq news agency, Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Surabaya.

After some major successes tackling Islamist militancy since 2001, Indonesia has seen a resurgence in recent years, including in January 2016 when four suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a shopping area in the capital, Jakarta.

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