The Indonesian police arrested eight members of the ISIS-Inspired Islamic Militant groups Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in the Christian-dominant province of Papua. The police spokesman told reporters that the JAD militants plotted bomb certain locations throughout Papua during Christmas celebrations.
Papua police’s deputy chief, Yakobus Marjuki, said the elite counterterrorism squad arrested a man, identified only as Karwanto, in a raid at a house in Sentani town in Dec. 5 after receiving a tip from intelligence that some members of the extremist group have fled to Papua from other Indonesian islands since last year. His arrest led police to six other suspects who were captured in the past week in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province. Police seized knives, laptops, explosive materials and a bomb from three houses rented by the suspects. AP
According to the Indonesian police, JAD was responsible for numerous bombings throughout Indonesia in the past couple of years killing many innocent people. In 2007, the US government designed JAD as a “terrorist organization.”
Reuters reported that the men were arrested following tips from undisclosed sources, and it is unclear whether the sources were informants within the group or not. The suspects were transferred to Jakarta for further interrogation.
Earlier this year, JAD members pledged to attack West Papua at the height of the civil unrest in West Papua following the anti-racist uprising in response to the racist treatment of West Papua students in Surabaya. And this arrest shows that the threat was real.
The Republic of Indonesia is one largest Muslim country in the world but the three provinces of Papua are predominantly Christians. Christianity is a religion they inherited from their Dutch Christian colonial administration. Christmas and other Christian celebrations are extremely important to the people of Papua.
It is unclear at this point what the motives of these JAD militants and their targets were. The Indonesian police is tight-lipped about this. The spokesman told reporters that the motives and targets are under investigations and the reports will be out later.
This is not the first incident linked to Islamic militants. In 2003, another Islamic militant group terrorized West Papua and other parts of Indonesia. ABC reported:
In May this year , up to 10 villages in the West Papuan highlands were burned and at least 20 people were killed, in what local people claim were terrorist actions attacks by groups linked to Jemaah Islamiah. ABC
AP reported that the Jamaah Islamiah was a radical Islamic militant group responsible for bombings throughout Indonesia. Militants linked to this organization bombed the touristic Indonesian Island of Bali. However, this radical group was eradicated as hundreds of their members arrested and its leadership jailed for long periods. The group disintegrated and the attack on the public stopped. However, the rise of this ISIS-inspired JAD is a grave concern not only to the government but also to the Christian province of West Papua and Papua.