JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s elite anti-terror squad seized five homemade bombs and arrested two suspected militants who allegedly planned to attack the Myanmar Embassy to protest that country’s treatment of Muslims, police said Friday.
The two men were arrested in central Jakarta on a motorbike just before midnight Thursday after authorities were tipped to their whereabouts, said National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar.
Their interrogation led to a rented house where explosive materials were found. A woman and her baby were also taken by police from the house.
He said the men, Zainal Abidin, 38, and Julisman, 28, who uses one name, were part of a cell allegedly involved in recent attacks against Indonesian police.
“They have a link with terrorism from evidence we have seized,” Amar said, refusing to say when the embassy attack was supposed to take place. “We are still investigating and searching for other alleged group members.”
Dozens of police have been deployed to secure the Myanmar Embassy in Jakarta and its ambassador’s house. Truckloads of officers were also placed at nearby buildings and hotels.
Amar said the suspects told authorities they wanted to retaliate against Myanmar for recent attacks on Rohingya Muslims there.
Sectarian violence in the Buddhist-majority country has killed scores, and thousands of Muslims have been driven from their homes. The Rohingya ethnic group face severe discrimination and are considered illegal immigrants despite many living in Myanmar for generations.
Indonesia has been battling terrorists since the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
Terrorist attacks aimed at foreigners in Indonesia have been largely replaced in recent years by smaller, less deadly strikes targeting the government, mainly police and anti-terrorism forces.