Monday 16 September 2019

Policeman and four attackers die in samurai sword assault

Two attackers lie dead as Indonesian policemen secure the site outside the police headquarters in Pekanbaru. Photo: Getty Images
Two attackers lie dead as Indonesian policemen secure the site outside the police headquarters in Pekanbaru. Photo: Getty Images

Carla DeWintours Pekanbaru

Four men who attacked an Indonesian police headquarters with samurai swords were shot dead yesterday and one officer also died, authorities said, days after a wave of deadly suicide bombings claimed by Isil rocked the country.

The assault in the city of Pekanbaru on Sumatra island saw a group of men ram their minivan into a gate at the station and then attack officers with the swords, police said.

It was not clear if yesterday's incident was linked to other attacks this week, which saw two families - who all belonged to the same religious study group - stage suicide bombings at churches and a police station in Surabaya on Java island, Indonesia's second biggest city.

The attacks have put Indonesia on edge - and sparked a string of travel advisories from foreign governments - as the world's biggest Muslim-majority country starts the holy fasting month of Ramadan from today.

Police said they shot dead four of the police station attackers and later arrested another who had fled. One officer was killed by the speeding vehicle and two others were wounded in the incident, they added.

Local media said one attacker may have had a bomb strapped to his body but police have not confirmed the reports.

Isil claimed responsibility for the attack.

The bloody violence is putting pressure on lawmakers to pass a stalled security law that would give police more power to take pre-emptive action against terror suspects.

Indonesia - which is set to host the Asian Games in just three months and an IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali in October - has long struggled with Islamist militancy.

Its worst-ever attack was the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people - including locals and foreign tourists.

Security forces have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown since the Bali bombing, and most attacks in recent years have been low-level and targeted domestic security forces.

But on Sunday, a family of six - including girls aged nine and 12 - staged suicide bombings at three churches during morning services in Surabaya, killing 13.

All six bombers died, including the mother who was Indonesia's first known female suicide bomber. It was also the first time children had been used in such attacks.

A memorial service was held yesterday for Vincencius Hudojo (11) and Nathanael Hudojo (8), two brothers who died after the blast at the Santa Maria Catholic Church on Sunday in Surabaya. Their mother was injured.

Services were also held for Martha Djumani (54), who was killed in the bombing at a Pentecostal church, just a day after she had got engaged.

On Monday members of another family blew themselves up at a police station in Surabaya, wounding 10. The families have been linked to the local chapter of Indonesian extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News