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Indonesians warn of more attacks against police

Terrorists want to show people that they are still capable of mounting terrorist atrocities

Indonesians warn of more attacks against police

This picture taken on June 30 shows Indonesian police step up security after an attack by a suspected Islamist militant who stabbed two Indonesian police officers after prayers at a mosque near the national police headquarters in Jakarta. (Photo by AFP) 

A terrorism expert has warned of future attacks against police following a series of assaults by alleged supporters of the so called Islamic State (IS) in parts of the country.

An alleged terrorist stabbed — using a bayonet — two policemen who were completing their evening prayers at Falatehan Mosque in South Jakarta, June 30. Both suffered wounds to their faces and necks, while the assailant was shot dead by another policeman.

On June 25, two alleged terrorists attacked a checkpoint outside the North Sumatra Police headquarters in Medan, killing a policeman. The attackers jumped over a fence and stabbed a policeman in the neck, chest and hand. Fellow officers shot dead one of the attackers and arrested the other.

The media has reported that there have been at least 11 attacks on police by alleged terrorists since 2010. 

"Such attacks will continue to happen. I predict that terrorists will launch attacks every month," Al Chaidar from Malikussaleh University in Aceh told ucanews.com on July 3.

"Terrorists are focusing on police right now. It means that police have become more vulnerable to attacks. This is because terrorist cells in Indonesia grow rapidly and there is no effective and efficient way to prevent such proliferation," he said.

He added the attacks reflected global geopolitical currents. "Their attacks in Syria have softened and many are cornered. Yet terrorists in Indonesia want to show people in the country they are still capable of mounting terrorist attacks," he said.

He suggested that the government take concrete measures, such as immediately finalizing revisions to the 2003 anti-terrorism law, which would give police the power of preventive detention of suspects without trial for up to six months.

Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, secretary of the Indonesian bishops' Commission for Justice and Peace, said the attacks were "a message we cannot ignore."

"Police are the state's representative. If terrorists make police their targets, it means that they have the courage to attack the state," he said, adding that revenge was behind the attacks against police.

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According to police, almost 100 people have been arrested on terror-linked charges. Most of the arrests were made following suicide bombings at a bus station in East Jakarta on May 24, which killed three policemen. 

National Police spokesman Rikwanto said security would be ramped up at every police station as a preventive measure.

"On duty officers must be alert and active in patrolling around police stations. No officer [may] sleep at a station, if they want to rest, find another place," he told The Jakarta Post.

Regarding the recent attacks, he said perpetrators were sympathizers of Islamic State. In Medan for example, police found an IS banner and a picture of Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, the IS leader, in the house of one of the perpetrators.

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