Indonesian President’s Security Boosted Amid Assassination Threat
Nivell Rayda & Bati Kartini
Security was tightened at the State Palace and at the home of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono over the weekend after the police uncovered an apparent terrorist plot to assassinate him.
In the Puri Cikeas housing complex on the outskirts of the national capital, where Yudhoyono’s home is located, civilian security guards appeared to have been replaced with armed military personnel on Sunday.
A small tank was clearly visible near the gates of the complex, while vehicles were prohibited from the streets immediately adjacent to the president’s home.
Armed Forces Chief Gen. Djoko Santoso confirmed the heightened security measures, but refused to give details.
“That is automatically done,” he said. “If there are threats against the president, security is automatically beefed up.”
Area residents told the Jakarta Globe they were bothered by the tightened security, but said that they understood the reason.
“They searched my cars and have dogs sniffing through my stuff,” said 30-year-old Yuni, who lives in the complex.
On Saturday, police killed two suspected Islamic militants and seized 500 kilograms of explosives after a raid on a house in the Nusa Phala housing complex in Bekasi, just a 12-minute drive from Puri Cikeas.
The two men killed in the raid were identified as Air Setyawan, 28, a former prison inmate believed to be connected to the bomb attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 2004, and Eko Peyang, alias Eko Joko Sarjono, 27, who was suspected of being a bomb maker.
After the raid, National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri told reporters that Asia’s most wanted terrorist suspect, Noordin M Top, had planned to either detonate a car bomb on Yudhoyono’s home, his motorcade or the State Palace shortly after the Aug. 17 Independence Day ceremonies.
Police confiscated explosives and a Daihatsu Xenia that they believed was to be used in an attack.
A police source said a terrorist suspect last week confessed that Noordin’s group had been planning the attacks since late April, in retaliation for the execution last November of the three bombers convicted for their roles in the 2002 Bali bombing.
Yudhoyono was also targeted for running a “pro-Western” government, the source said.
Noordin is suspected of involvement in the suicide bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels on July 17, as well as the suicide attacks on Bali in 2005, the Australian Embassy in 2004 and the Marriott in 2003.
Police on Sunday brought the families of Air and Eko to the Sukamto Police Hospital in East Jakarta to identify their bodies.
A hospital coroner said Agus Purwanto identified his son, Air, and Slamet Widodo identified his son, Eko.