Indonesia arrests two dozen after minister attack

(NST) – Indonesian police said they have arrested more than two dozen suspected militants after members of a network linked to the Islamic State (IS) group tried to assassinate a government minister.

The world’s biggest Muslim majority nation is on high alert ahead of President Joko Widodo’s second-term inauguration on Sunday, with some 27,000 troops expected to be deployed in the capital Jakarta.

Authorities have also banned mass demonstrations in the lead up to Widodo’s swearing in, for fear they might be used as cover for an attack, State Intelligence Agency spokesman Wawan Purwanto said.

Last week two militants stabbed Security Minister Wiranto, a former general who goes by one name, during an official visit to West Java.

The 72-year-old was rushed by helicopter to Jakarta, where he was treated for knife wounds to his stomach. He is recovering in hospital.

Some 27 suspected militants had been arrested since the attack, said national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo.

Prasetyo also said police seized sharp weapons, explosive materials and chemicals during the raids.

The arrests took place across the Southeast Asian archipelago of some 260 million people, including in Bali where a father and son were brought in for allegedly planning attacks on the holiday island.

At the weekend, hundreds of mourners and survivors commemorated the 17th anniversary of the Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people – Indonesia’s deadliest-ever terror attack.

The married couple arrested after Wiranto was attacked were later identified as members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an extremist group responsible for deadly suicide bombings at churches in Surabaya last year that killed a dozen people.

Indonesia’s security minister Wiranto hurt after stabbing attack