Indonesia Hit With 5th Terrorist Attack in Three Days as Militants Attack Riau Police HQ
One officer is dead and two others injured.
A candlelight vigil in honor of the victims of Surabaya attacks last weekend in Jakarta. Photo by Willy Kurniawan/Reuters
Indonesian terrorists armed with machetes and, allegedly, a suicide vest attacked a police station in Riau province Wednesday morning, killing at least one police officer and injuring several others before being killed themselves.
Reports coming in from the scene in Pekanbaru, the provincial capital of Riau, were still a bit sketchy Wednesday morning, but here's what we know so far: these attackers rolled up to the Riau Police headquarters on Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, the city's main thoroughfare, in a white Toyota Avanza, and rammed the front entrance, killing one police officers in the process.
The men, all still unidentified, then jumped out of their car and slashed two officers with machetes in the head and arm before police were able to fatally shoot the attackers. They allegedly discovered a suicide vest on one of the dead men and the bomb squad was called in to check their car as well, but the investigation is still ongoing.
A local journalist was also injured in the attack. The reporter, a contributor for a national television station, was waiting near the police station entrance when the attack began. He was one of the first to arrive to cover the scheduled burning of illegal drugs and contraband seized by officers in Riau.
Graphic images of the terrorists' bodies were quickly shared online as was less graphic videos of the immediate aftermath of the attack seen below:
The entire province was placed on high alert immediately after yesterday's attack on a police station in Surabaya, but there is nothing pointing to prior knowledge of a terrorist plot. If this morning's attack in Riau is linked to a terrorist group, and that seems highly likely, it would be the fifth terrorist attack to hit Indonesia in the past three days.
The bloody lead-up to Ramadan began on Sunday morning when a family of five, including two teenaged boys and two young girls, killed 18 and injured dozens more in a series of coordinated suicide attacks on three separate Surabaya churches all during Sunday morning services.
Later Sunday night, an explosion in a low-cost apartment complex on the outskirts of Surabaya killed two family members, a mother and child, and alerted police to another terrorist plot. That explosion was allegedly accidental, but when police arrived the father, a man named Anton Febrianto, was still alive and holding a detonator. Police shot him dead and discovered two more his children still unscathed in another room.
Then on Monday, another family, this one a man, woman, and their daughter, drove up to the front gate of the Surabaya Police headquarters and detonated a suicide belt, injuring at least ten and killing both the man and woman. Their daughter was somehow thrown free of the blast and was found stumbling around amid the wreckage, shocked and confused, by police moments later.
All of the terrorists involved in the Surabaya attacks were allegedly members of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a homegrown terrorist network made up of sympathizers of the Islamic State (ISIS) that risen to prominence in recent years.
Initial reports said that the family of Dita Oepriarto, who was behind the church attacks had recently returned from Syria, but that now appears to be false. Instead, all of the families involved in the Surabaya attacks were members of the same religious study group, where they were radicalized and spent their nights watching jihadist videos from Iraq and Syria, as well as footage of other high profile terrorist attacks, in the month's leading up to Sunday's violence.
It's still unknown if there is any connection between the attackers in Riau and those behind the terrorist attacks in Surabaya at this time.
*This story is still developing. Last updated at 12:16 PM, on Wednesday 16 May 2018.