Indonesia arrests 59 over alleged plot to disrupt presidential election

Police say suspects are members of hardline groups Jemaah Islamiyah and Jamaah Ansharut Daulah.

Indonesia has cracked down on armed groups since the 2002 Bali bombings [Willy Kurniawan/Reuters]

Indonesian authorities have arrested dozens of people from hardline groups over suspected plots aimed at disrupting next year’s presidential election, police have said.

Police arrested 59 suspects and seized weapons, propaganda material and bomb-making chemicals, a spokesperson for Indonesia’s Counterterrorism Special Detachment 88 unit said on Tuesday.

“For them, the election is part of democracy, whereby democracy is immoral. Democracy is something that violates the law for them,” spokesperson Aswin Siregar told a press conference in the capital Jakarta

“They planned to carry out attacks on security forces who focus on securing the series of election activities.”

“I think this served as a warning for them that Densus 88 would not tolerate the slightest threat to our domestic security, especially in the situation leading up to … the election,” he added.

Nineteen of those arrested were from the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network, which has ties to al-Qaeda, while 40 suspects were from Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS (ISIL).

Jemaah Islamiyah orchestrated the 2002 Bali bombings that ripped through a nightclub and bar on the Indonesian resort island, killing 202 people.

The attacks were the deadliest in Indonesian history and led to a crackdown on armed groups in the world’s most populous Muslim country, which saw a string of attacks by hardline groups in the years after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Source: News Agencies