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Six suspected terrorists die in Jakarta shootout

Police say they were plotting Muslim revenge attacks on Buddhist temples

Six suspected terrorists die in Jakarta shootout

Police guard the house in West Java that was raided on New Year's Eve (Ryan Dagur)

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

January 2, 2014

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Six suspected terrorists who had been planning attacks on up to 30 Buddhist temples across Jakarta in response to anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar were killed in a police shootout in Western Java on New Year’s Eve.

The Indonesian police force’s anti-terror squad carried out the raid on a safe house following the arrest of a suspected terrorist named Anton in an internet café in the island’s Banyumas district.

The house belonged to militants linked to a group once headed by Abu Roban, a militant who was killed in May.  Police believe the group was linked to a temple bombing in Kebon Jeruk, West Jakarta, in August which injured three people.

“[Police] found a list of 20 to 30 Buddhist temples across Jakarta in the house,” said spokesman Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar.

“The suspected militants had written the names of these temples and put check marks on two of them. It seems that these two temples would be their first targets.

“Their planned attacks against the temples had something to do with the Rohingya issue in Myanmar,” he continued. “They sympathized with Rohingya Muslims, who suffered bad treatment. They tried to take revenge by attacking Buddhists in their own country.”

Philip K Widjaja, secretary general of the Indonesian Council of Buddhist Communities, said he would ask security guards at Buddhist temples in the town to remain on high alert. Rather than special security being detailed to guard temples, police would handle it, he said.

“We Indonesian Buddhists have strongly expressed our condemnation about violence against Rohingya Muslims,” Widjaja said. “We have sent a letter to the government of Myanmar through the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta.”

Following the Ekayana temple bombing on August 4, a letter was found inside one of the bomb packages that read: “We heard Rohingya’s screams”.

Analysts had warned that attacks against Rohingya in western Myanmar could fuel retaliatory violence by Islamist extremists.

The majority-Buddhist Myanmar government has been accused by Human Rights Watch of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Muslim Rohingya, who are denied citizenship and regularly flee the country aboard boats.

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