Gunmen kill police near Jakarta following anti-terror raids

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 4:34am


Unidentified gunmen killed two police officers near Indonesia's capital, days after security forces made multiple arrests and killed suspects in anti-terrorism raids, police said yesterday.

Two men on a motorbike followed an officer who was heading to a police precinct in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, on Friday night. They allegedly shot him dead and fled, said National Police spokesman Major-General Ronny Frengky Sompie.

They were pursued by a police car that hit the motorbike before plunging into a drain. Ronny said the gunmen then allegedly killed another officer in the car. Police returned fire and apparently injured one of the men, but they managed to escape on a villager's motorbike that they stole.

It was the second attack against police in less than two weeks. Two gunmen on a motorbike killed a police officer on August 7 when Muslims were preparing the Eid ul-Fitr holiday to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

"There are similarities between the two attacks," Ronny said. "We are mobilising our forces now to search for the perpetrators to reveal their motives and their possible links with terrorist groups."

He added that police were now investigating the damaged motorbike left by the gunmen near the scene.

The latest police raid involved Muhammad Syaiful Syahbani, 26, a suspected fundraiser in an alleged plot to attack the Myanmar embassy to protest against that country's treatment of Muslims. He was arrested on August 9 in Yogyakarta on Java island.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks since 2002, when Muslim militants carried out suicide bombings on two crowded nightclubs on the resort island of Bali, killing 202 people, including 11 Hong Kong residents.

Hundreds of militants have been arrested and convicted since then, making the Indonesian government and its security forces a target.