AP NEWS

Indonesia police allege plot to kill top officials

May 28, 2019
1 of 4
Police officers of elite unit Mobile Brigade stand in attention during a show of force ahead of Eid al-fitr holiday in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Four top Indonesian officials, including two Cabinet ministers and the national spy chief, were targeted for assassination as part of a plot possibly linked to last week's election riots, police said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Four top Indonesian officials, including two Cabinet ministers and the national spy chief, were targeted for assassination as part of a plot possibly linked to last week’s election riots, police said Tuesday.

National police chief Tito Karnavian told reporters that details of the plot were obtained from interrogations of six arrested individuals.

Seven people died in two nights of rioting last week in Jakarta after official election results confirmed that President Joko Widodo had won a second term. Police say the riots, which broke out during peaceful protests by supporters of the losing candidate Prabowo Subianto, were planned.

The rioting followed an election that highlighted Muslim-majority Indonesia’s religious divides. Subianto, who allied himself with groups that want Islamic law to replace secular government, won heavily in conservative provinces but was defeated nationally by Widodo’s coalition of moderate and minority voters.

Karnavian said the officials targeted for assassination included top security minister Wiranto, who uses a single name, and his predecessor, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, who is currently maritime minister and seen as close to Widodo.

The two others were National Intelligence Agency chief Budi Gunawan and the head of the presidential special staff for intelligence and security, Gories Mere. A fifth person, the head of an opinion polling company, was also a target, Karnavian said, without naming the person.

“We have arrested all the perpetrators who were ordered to carry out the executions, we have also confiscated four weapons, and we are developing the mastermind who gave the order to them who will be legally processed shortly,” Karnavian said at a joint news conference with Wiranto.

The security minister said the assassination plot aimed to instill fear in the officials and weaken the government.

Subianto, a former special forces general linked to past human rights abuses in Indonesia, has refused to accept results of the April 17 election. He has alleged massive fraud but provided no convincing evidence. His campaign team filed a legal challenge to the result at the Constitutional Court on Friday.

Separately, local media reported that an American man who is a longtime resident of Indonesia has been arrested for spreading hoaxes online. In a YouTube video, the man says he’s a Subianto supporter and claims communists are infiltrating Indonesian society, a frequent allegation of hard-line Widodo critics.

On Monday, national police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said police had seized two bullet-proof vests with “Police” written on them, imitating official police gear, a rifle modified to hold a scope, along with two guns similar to those issued by the Indonesian military.

Iqbal said the six suspects are from a different group than the alleged militants arrested earlier in the month.

Before election results were announced on May 21, counterterrorism police arrested more than 30 suspected militants from Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, an Indonesian extremist group affiliated with the Islamic State group.

Iqbal said one of the six suspects was arrested at a hotel in Jakarta after participating in the riots, another was arrested at Jakarta’s airport and others in locations around Jakarta and nearby Bogor.

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.