Catholic among 4 Indonesian officials on murder hit list

Foiled assassination plot was designed to instill fear and seriously weaken govt, police say
Catholic among 4 Indonesian officials on murder hit list

In this file photo taken on May 21, police guard the Jakarta offices of Indonesia’s elections commission as crowds gather to protest election results that gave Indonesian President Joko Widodo a second term following elections in April. (Photo by Konradus Epa/ucanews.com)

A Catholic was among four top Indonesian officials supposedly targeted for assassination in a plot possibly linked to post-election riots in Jakarta last week, police say.

Gregorius “Gories” Mere, former head of the anti-terror squad, Densus 88 and who now heads an intelligence and security unit attached to the presidential staff, was named on the list of those to be killed, National Police chief General Tito Karnavian told reporters May 29.

The three other names included Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan and the State Intelligence Agency chief Budi Gunawan.

The police chief said a fifth person, who heads an opinion polling agency, was also targeted, but did not name him.

Karnavian said the names of those earmarked for assassination were obtained from six individuals arrested during two days of rioting by supporters of defeated presidential candidate and former general Prabowo Subianto.

The May 21-22 unrest erupted after the election commission officially announced President Joko Widodo had won a second term following elections in April.

At least eight people were killed and more than 700 injured during the unrest.

“We have arrested all the perpetrators who were ordered to carry out the executions, we have also confiscated four weapons and we are hunting the mastermind,” Karnavian said.

Mere could not be reached for comment.

According to security minister Wiranto, who only goes by one name, the plot aimed at instilling fear among top officials and weakening the government.

“That’s why Gories [Mere] was also a target,” said Stanislaus Riyanta, an intelligence analyst from the state-run University of Indonesia.

“His past roles in counter-terrorism made him a good target to instill fear in government,” he said. 

Hundreds of people involved in the rioting were arrested, according to media reports.

Among them were members of extremist groups, including the Islamic State-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) responsible for several attacks including church bombings, the reports said.

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