Indonesian authorities have tightened security measures across the archipelago in a bid to prevent terrorist attacks and other crimes ahead of Christmas and year-end holidays.
Early this month, a suicide bombing occurred at Astanaanyar Police Station in the city of Bandung in West Java province, with an officer killed and several others injured in the assault. The attack was carried out by a 34-year-old local man affiliated with the ISIS-inspired group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).
After the incident, more than 20 suspects allegedly affiliated with outlawed extremist organizations have been arrested and are currently under investigation by authorities. They were busted in separate operations in provinces of West Java, Central Java and North Sumatra.
To maintain public order and safety during the year-end holiday season, more than 160,000 security personnel from the National Police, the Indonesian Military (TNI), and relevant agencies are to be deployed.
All the security forces will protect over 52,000 sites, including churches, shopping centers, bus terminals, seaports, airports, train stations as well as tourist spots. The seasonal security operation, locally known as Operasi Lilin, will be conducted and lasted for 11 days starting on Friday. The police’s elite anti-terrorism unit the Special Detachment 88 (Densus 88) will also take part in the security operation.
“I need to emphasize that terrorist acts, such as at the Astanaanyar Police Station, should not happen again. So, we put forward early detection and preventive measures to counter acts of terror,” National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo said on Thursday in a joint security briefing at the National Monument in central Jakarta.
He instructed police forces to optimize their security efforts at crowded centers, worship places, and other venues that could potentially become targets of terrorist attacks.
“We will install x-rays. An inspection will be carried out for those who will carry out the worship. And the goods carried (into the worship places) will be limited,” he added.
In capital Jakarta, the city police have reportedly prepared 97 security posts and over 7,000 police officers that will secure Christmas services in more than 1,300 churches and several crowded centers.
The city’s police spokesman Endra Zulpan called on the public to remain calm as authorities have already prepared a special security scheme.
Meanwhile on the holiday island of Bali, a favorite destination for tourists for year-end vacations, the provincial police will reportedly deploy over 1,800 personnel to secure the island. ■
A police officer is seen during security procedure before Christmas Eve at Santo Antonius Church in Surakarta, Indonesia, Dec. 24, 2022. Indonesian authorities have tightened security measures across the archipelago in a bid to prevent terrorist attacks and other crimes ahead of Christmas and year-end holidays