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Dozens of terrorist cells could attempt to launch their attacks in the lead-up to the elections next year, the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) has warned.
BNPT head Ansyaad Mbai said on Thursday that the attacks would be made to disrupt the elections which the terrorists deem as ungodly processes. “Their biggest enemy is democracy and elections are the core of the democratic system. They see democracy as a Western, infidel product that has to be destroyed,” he said during a discussion.
Ansyaad cited two terrorist attacks linked to elections in the past. On July 17, 2009, terrorists linked to al-Qaeda offshoot, Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), launched suicide bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, killing seven people and seriously injuring dozens.
“The bombings occurred right after the 2009 presidential election. They were dismayed by the election result, they hate democracy,” he said. In the 2009 election, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono won his second term in office after garnering 60.8 percent of the vote.
Only hours after the bombings, the President announced that a terrorist cell had used photographs of him for target practice.
“The issue [of the President as a target] became an issue of national debate. But, I can assure that it was true,” Ansyaad said.
The second attack occurred on Nov. 2012, when a man linked to Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT) threw a pipe bomb at South Sulawesi Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo at the provincial capital of Makassar. The device, packed with nails, failed to explode.
The attack came only two months prior to the gubernatorial election, in which Syahrul was reelected.
Speaking in a teleconference with all Military Command (Kodam) chiefs, Budiman said there were tensions before the open campaign stage started.
In Semarang, the IV/Diponegoro Military Command was represented by its chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Ibnu Darmawan as Kodam chief Maj. Gen. Sunindyo was in Surakarta to welcome President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“However, the tension dissipated during the open campaign stage as the public have good political maturity,” he said.
“There are several provinces that are vulnerable to social conflicts such as South Sulawesi and Aceh, which experienced two conflicts that caused fatalities. Java, in general, was safe.”
“All Kodam must fully support the police force by preparing their equipment to ensure a success general election.”
From reports by all Kodam chiefs, or Pangdam, each Kodam has prepared an average of 2,500 soldiers to secure general elections as well as stand by troops to reinforce the police which can be deployed at any time.
Kodam with diffucult geography also prepared Bell 412 medium helicopters to help the General Elections Commission (KPU) distributing election logistics.
Meanwhile, the Kodam Iskandar Muda chief reported that there were security disturbances in Aceh Darussalam with a number of shootings killing five people and injuring three others which were carried out by supporters of local parties.
In Papua, separatists from the Free Papua Organization (OPM) hoisted the Morning Star flag, Kodam XVII/Cenderawasih chief, Maj. Gen. Christian Zebua said.
He said the authorities have tried on Saturday to separate the armed separatists from the populace.
“We are chasing the armed separatists and lowered down the Morning Star flag,” Christian said.
“We also asked the Foreign Ministry to communicate with Papua New Guinea because there are armed Papuans in their territory.
He added that because certain areas were so remote, helicopters were used to send election logistical materials to six regencies in Papua.
KPU chairman Kamil Malik that there were 12 political parties taking part in the national legislative election and three local parties in Aceh. The number of voters is 185.5 million in Indonesia and an additional 2.02 million abroad.
“We expect all election logistics to be ready one day before voting day. Supports from the Army are very helpful when there are weather disturbances or geographical challenges,” he said.