Indonesian President could increase military power after coordinated suicide bombings

15 May 2018

Indonesian President could increase military power after coordinated suicide bombings

Indonesia’s National Police chief, Tito Karnavian, has called upon Indonesia’s President, Joko Widobo, to bring in the military to help deal with a series of coordinated suicide attacks in the country’s largest city, Surabaya.

Mr Karnavian said that his team has conducted 13 raids over the past few days, shooting four and capturing nine terror suspects after the attacks that occurred on Sunday and Monday.

The chief wishes to increase firepower and co-operation with the military, after one family coordinated suicide bombings targeting three churches on Sunday, only for another family to conduct another suicide bombing outside police headquarters the following Monday.

The President has supported the move to allow the military independent authority on dealing with future terror attacks on home soil. He has said that he wants legislation passed within a few weeks.

However, there has been opposition to the move by human rights advocacy groups, who have raised concerns that giving the military more power could lead to human rights abuses.

In the past, Indonesian police have resisted the idea of giving the military a greater role in terrorism associated incidents; however, the violence of the past week have given authorities second thoughts.

The attacks on Sunday were carried out by a couple and their four children aged between nine and 18. The blast, which targeted three churches, killed 13 people.

The father dropped his wife and two girls aged 12 and eight at one church wearing suicide vests, before driving a car packed with explosives to another, and blowing it up.

At another church across town, the two sons aged 17 and 15 rode a motorbike laden with explosives into a crowd and set it off.

Another family of five carried out another attack on Monday at Surabaya police headquarters, which injured 10 people.

President Widodo condemned the attacks, saying that they were “barbaric” and “beyond humanity”.