Indonesian graftbusters hit with bomb threat

Security alert raised after explosive materials found outside homes of anti-corruption chiefs
Indonesian graftbusters hit with bomb threat

Parts of the explosive device found at the West Java home of Agus Rahardjo, chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission. (Photo courtesy of Polda Metro Jaya)

Security has been stepped up for leaders of Indonesia's anti-corruption agency following a terror threat in which unknown assailants left what appeared to be bombs outside their homes on Jan. 9.

At least one petrol bomb was also reportedly thrown at one of their homes.

A bag containing materials resembling bomb components, such as detonators, cables, nails, and pipes, was found outside the Bekasi, West Java house of Corruption Eradication Commission chairman Agus Rahardjo. It was later made safe by the bomb squad.

The remains of two Molotov cocktails were also found at the house of the commission's deputy chairman, Laode Muhammad Syarif in South Jakarta where one of them exploded.

Syarif said that he observed suspicious people near his home earlier that morning on his security cameras.

The apparent threat against the anti-graft officials sparked concern from religious leaders and anti-corruption campaigners.

Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, executive secretary of the Indonesian Bishops' Commission for Laity said the incident appeared to be a message from people worried about the commission's recent effort to eradicate corruption, which has put many officials behind bars.

"The goal is to weaken the fight against corruption. If the attackers can frighten the commission's leaders, they will emerge victorious," he told ucanews.com.

The commission recently revealed that it has successfully investigated 178 alleged corruption cases over the last few years, which involved hundreds of local leaders, lawmakers, and businessmen.

One case involved former parliament speaker Setya Novanto, who was jailed for 15 years last year for his role in a $170 million corruption scandal.

Transparency International said in a statement that all those concerned about the security and prosperity of Indonesia should condemn the bomb threat against the two anti-graft crusaders.

"It is essential that the commission is able to carry out its activities without fear or intimidation," said Delia Ferreira Rubio, the group's chairwoman.

Adnan Topan Husodo, coordinator of Indonesia Corruption Watch linked the threat to a previous attack in which a senior commission investigator, Novel Baswedan, was seriously injured in an acid attack in April 2017.

"If these attacks are left unpunished, the lives of more people could be endangered which could weaken the fight against corruption in the long run," he said.

Commission spokesman Febri Diansyah, said appropriate measures were being taken to improve security in the wake of the incident. 

Sign up to receive UCAN Daily Full Bulletin
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
"We will improve security measures where necessary," he said.

The National Police and anti-terror squad, Special Detachment 88 have formed a joint investigation team to hunt the perpetrators down.

© Copyright 2019, UCANews.com All rights reserved
© Copyright 2019, Union of Catholic Asian News Limited. All rights reserved
Expect for any fair dealing permitted under the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without prior permission.